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Sunday, December 30, 2007



The number is only ephemeral, it will be gone tomorrow, replaced by a new one. The lives are already gone, along with a million others. As the year ends, the actual number is 4209 non-Iraqi, uniformed "coalition" soldiers who either died in Iraq or shortly and directly attributably afterwards, 3902 (the sign in the picture below says 3909) of them Americans. Another 748 dead in Afghanistan, and another thousand "contractors" in Iraq.

Today I again found myself in Lafayette, California, where a display of crosses has been (but seems no longer to be) a subject of controversy. Using my new camera and its panoramic mode, I was actually able to get them all in - all 3909 crosses. I know it's hard at this size to see that much, but take a look:

Every cross represents a life snuffed out. Every cross represents a family grieving, having lost a father, a mother, a son, a sister. Every cross represents a tragedy, multiple tragedies - tragedies for the dead, tragedies for the families, tragedies for friends, tragedies for society. These crosses represent only the lives of uniformed American military personnel in Iraq.

Now picture another hillside of crosses, almost the same size, representing all the other coalition soldiers, contractors, stateside suicides, and murdered spouses. Every one of those deaths also a tragedy.

Now picture another hillside of crosses, larger than the first, representing all the Afghan civilians killed by the U.S. and its NATO allies in their "war on of terror." Every one of those deaths also a tragedy.

Now picture 250 hillsides, stretching much farther than the eye could see, covered with crosses, representing the million Iraqis who have died thanks to the U.S. invasion. Every one of those deaths also a tragedy.

Try to keep this picture in your mind as the politicians and the media try to convince you that Iraq or Afghanistan will soon be a "success."

If you're not depressed enough yet, watch this video, supposedly made by Yoko Ono, set to John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)". Unfortunately, war is not over "if you want it"; it will take a lot more than just wanting to end war. You, and I, and a lot more of us worldwide, have to get off our rear ends and make it happen. Will it be a "Happy New Year"? Only if we make it so.

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