On January 17, a bomb exploded under an armored American vehicle north of
Baghdad, killing three American soldiers. That made 500 total Americans to die
in the invasion of Iraq.
My heart goes out to these soldiers who sacrificed their lives in hopes of
helping others. And also, I feel deeply for their families, for each and every
person who lost a beloved son, daughter, mother, father, aunt, uncle, cousin,
niece or nephew. I can only imagine the pain of losing someone so dear to me,
at such a young age. It took great bravery for the soldiers to go out and fight,
and it will take great bravery for their families to go on without them.
But as I think of the sorrows these people face, I cannot help but also think of
the hundreds, the thousands of innocent civilian Iraqi men, women and children
who were killed by Americans. I think of the American bomb that missed its mark
and landed on a crowded bazaar, killing dozens. I think of the American soldiers
who accidentally fired a cannon at what they thought was an enemy vehicle,
but was actually a van carrying a family of nine people fleeing to safety.
"Oops," we say. "Sorry about that." But it's too late, they're dead, simply
because they had the bad luck to live in a war-torn country.
Of course, no one wants to kill innocent people. We don't do it on purpose. But
where there's war, deaths will happen. Yes, we are trying to improve the
situation in Iraq. But those we kill will never get to experience that
improvement. Their lives were sacrificed -- and unlike the American soldiers, they
did not choose to take the risk. The Iraqis did not ask to
be attacked. We, or more specifically, President Bush, decided to bomb them.
that right? Is there ever justification for killing innocent people? I'm not
saying that there was not a problem in Iraq; there clearly was. Saddam Hussein
was obviously a tyrant and needed to be removed from power. But there had to be
a better way to it than violence.
And what troubles me further is the indifference everyone seems to have to the
dead Iraqis. On January 18, just a day after the 500th American died in Iraq,
a car bomb exploded in Baghdad, killing two more Americans and sixteen Iraqis.
But the title of the article that reported these two incidents read only, "Bombs
kill 5 Americans; Iraq toll now past 500". No mention of the Iraqis. Why? Iraqis
are people too! If we are in this war to "Save Iraq", then why does nobody seem
to care about the Iraqis?
I have never and will never believe in war. To me, it seems like the epitome of
hypocrisy. We tell our children not to fight, to "talk it out". We tell them to
listen to the rules and work things out. Yet our way of solving the problems in
Iraq was to bomb and shoot. To crush and crumble. And we did all this without
the approval of the United Nations.
Why? Partially, because there was supposed to be "strong
evidence" that they were creating weapons of mass destruction. Hmm... weapons of
mass destruction... like, nuclear bombs? What was the first country to create a
nuclear bomb? And the only country to ever use one? The United States. So now
we're going to go bomb a country for possibly possessing weapons of mass
destruction. This might be fine if they actually possessed them -- although I
don't know how it reflects on us, who have them and have used them and have made
more of them than anybody else. But we have
been searching Iraq for months and we've found nothing. No uranium. No nuclear
bombs. No weapons of mass destruction of any kind.
I realize this is perhaps a slightly random sampling of thoughts about the war
in Iraq. But each point is important.
While it is right and appropriate to mourn our
American dead, we must also think of those dead in Iraq. And as we think of the
sorrow, we need to consider, is there anything we could have done differently?
Anything we could do better next time? Because if we don't learn from our
mistakes, history will repeat itself... over and over and over.
Ask for proof --
Think about the consequences of actions -- Never follow blindly -- Be
compassionate for others... all others -- And always love. Love is the only
antidote to hate.
"One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but
that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends
through peaceful means." -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Editor's Note: According to a
recent online publication of the UN Wire, "an independent service
covering the UN and the world"...
A casualty list compiled by Reuters reportedly estimates
that 13,000 to 16,000 Iraqis died during the war, with civilians accounting for
8,000 to 10,000 of those (John Burns,
New York Times, Jan. 4).
A terribly high number -- higher
than I'd imagined. ??On the other hand, however... after a decade of
economic sanctions, Saddam Hussein was nowhere near being removed from power.??
His dictatorship was pretty much as strong as ever.?? Was there really a way
to eliminate him without violence??? Maybe there was a way to not kill quite
so many people... but I just don't know.