Friday, June 16, 2006

More than a number

Yesterday, in response to the 2,500 American death in the ongoing war in Iraq, Congress held a moment of silence. A moment to look back and absorb the huge toll that this ongoing conflict is placing upon our country and our people, not to mention the Iraqis. A moment to reflect on all the other moments where they've been silent about ending the conflict.

A moment was more consideration than was given by the White House, as Press Secretary Tony Snow referred to the report of 2,500 by saying, "It's a number."

Senator Larry Reid took the moral and political high ground by giving a speech pointing out exactly how wrong it is to look at 2,500 as "a number." And he's right, because each and every single one of those numbers is a person, who has left behind a grieving family. While there are families of the deceased who still support the war effort, there are also families who are adamantly against the ongoing battle.

Meanwhile, the battle rages on, both in Iraq, and in Washington D.C. The insurgency in Iraq hasn't lost steam, and a resolution that looks at planning a timetable for removing the troops has been handily rejected, in language that both praises the troops, and abandons them to an even longer conflict with no end in sight. Not to say that pulling the troops out of the Middle East at this point is the right decision at all. After all, we have created the mess that is currently been dealt with over there, and embroiled ourselves into what, by many accounts, is a civil war. Ultimately, given that this is OUR mess, we need to clean it up, and simply pulling the soldiers out of the area won't come close to accomplishing this.

Still, this is a conflict where there will ultimately be no winners, only hundreds upon thousands of losers. There are reasons why there are people who steadfastly support the troops, but refuse to support the war. There are reasons why there are people who "Love my country, but fear my government." There are reasons why the support for the war and for the administration that caused it are spiralling downwards.

Congress observed a moment of silence for the 2,500. The same moment of silence when the war began.

And, despite what Tony Snow says, 2,500 is more than a number. So very much more.

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