Wednesday, January 2, 2008

4.5 yrs; 3904 dead

Talking with some hometown friends, all of us daughters of war veterans. 1 Army WWII (both parents) and Korea (father); 1 Air Force Vietnam; 1 Army Vietnam (in our day, it was 2 words... Viet Nam). We were talking about the War -- this one -- and I told them how another friend had asked why it is that we-the-people are not more angry about being in so deep for so long and so hopelessly.

I suggested it was because the average American didn't really have to know about it if they didn't want to. It is a thing that happens to other people, unless you actually knew someone in it -- and in the US today, you are either related to the military culture or you are not. I had told her that from my own experience, those in the culture don't have the opportunity of being "for" or "against" the war. They are simply in it.

Current count of US Deaths confirmed by the DoD: 3904. This is very specific language, because of course, the non-military dead, the injured, the forever maimed, the orphaned, widowed, and simply ruined... are uncountable.

Here are some ways to bring the war into your daily life, since you're logged in already...

Witness the magnitude
Sort through this day-by-day accounting of casualties, which attenpts to count the uncountable, and conceive of the inconceivable.
A year ago, Google had an interactive US map with markers for names, ages, and hometowns. The site is no longer active, but someone took a picture of it before it was retired.

Find your local information
View casualty info by state, then drill into your state by clicking the state name for demographic info and estimated costs.
Find an action nearby - Try Peace Action, or Operation Home Front

Read GI blogs
Remember they are young, far from home, in danger. Their blogs may be as foreign to you as yours would be to them. You wouldn't say you are "for"or "against" the life you lead. But chances are good you'll be leading it tomorrow.
Better yet, read a spouse blog.

Read Anti-War Blogs
Because they can be just as disturbing. And heartbreaking. And eye-opening.

Question Authority
Find out what your representatives are doing and let them know your thoughts. (yes, that is a Quaker site. It's my blog)
Remember your state and local reps. This is where real governing happens, especially when wars are being fought by the National Guard.

Understand the worldwide scope of living in a war zone
from "The United Nations defines 'major wars' as military conflicts inflicting 1,000 battlefield deaths per year...As of mid-2005, there were eight Major Wars under way [down from 15 at the end of 2003], with as many as two dozen 'lesser' conflicts ongoing with varying degrees of intensity. "

Draw in a few threads of your own
Here is a good place to start.


  1. Interesting perspective. I hadn't thought about it too much, but you are right that the populations of other generations were all "in" the war.

    Personally, I don't have any friends or family that are "in" this war. As a matter of fact, the number of people that I know that have friends and family in the war is relatively miniscule.

    It is easy for people who have never served to turn a blind eye to the horrors of war. It is easy for people who have never lost a loved one to say that 3000 lives isn't that many...

    When will we learn?

  2. But DI, you didn't mention your most brilliant response, is that people would be angrier if there were/had been a draft. That's another very big difference.


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