Another Milestone? (Let’s Watch The Game)

sandsoldiers2,000 Dead
2,000 Too Many

The last time I updated this blog another milestone had been passed. It was November of last year. The total number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq tied the highest number for any one month. November 2004 saw 137 troops die. The previous high mark was 135 set in April of the same year. Today, October 25, 2005 marks the death of number 2,000.

There are two comments I must make about this historical moment. Tonight as I write this, game three of the World Series is being played. While I understand that games and play are important to individuals and a people keeping a certain level of sanity, I also think it speaks directly to the lack of concern and by the people of this nation as many of our wonderful and loving troops are sent in to harms way never to breathe again. They die so that we can continue our way of life. So that we can watch these games and feel as if the out comes are of importance. As if the Astros or White Sox winning or losing will really matter. As if lives are in the balance.

AP Dispatch continued (from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer):

The spokesman for the American-led multinational force called on news organizations not to look at the 2,000 death as a milestone in the conflict. Lt. Col. Steve Boylan described 2,000 figure as an “artificial mark on the wall.”
Iraq,” Boylan said in an e-mail. “The 2,000 service members killed in Iraqsupporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives.”

“I ask that when you report on the events, take a moment to think about the effects on the families and those serving….’

And what is my agenda other than to end the war and bring the troops home now? What is my agenda other than to recognize that each life lost be it 1, 20, 100, 700, 1,600, or 2,000 represents a milestone for members of that unit who saw one of their comrade’s die. A milestone for the mother or father who will never see their child alive again. A milestone for the son or daughter who will never fully know their parent. A milestone for the spouse who must carry the pain of losing a love to the madness of war.

As this day approached, the day of 2,000 dead, I felt dread in my heart. I was thinking about my son. Would he be number 2,000? Then, I think it was Sunday, his wife called to tell me he is still in Kuwait. I rejoiced because I knew that he would not be the one. I do not want to see that milestone. Perhaps Boylan does not have children. Perhaps he does not realize that the death of Staff Sgt. George T. Alexander Jr., 34, of Killeen, Texas (number 2,000) is a milestone for someone.

But to be fair, my son and Sgt. Alexander are soldiers. Their lives are expendable. The mission is more important. They sacrifice themselves so that we can have our way of life. I forgot. I guess I should just go back and watch the game.

Go Astros or White Sox.

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About Michael T. McPhearson

Currently Michael is executive director of Veterans For Peace and co-chair of the Don't Shoot Coalition, A Saint Louis based coalition that formed in the aftermath of Michael Brown's police killing death in Ferguson, MO. From August 2010 to September 2013, Michael worked as the National Coordinator with United For Peace and Justice. He is a former board member of Veterans For Peace and as well as Executive Director from 2005 to 2010. He works closely with the Newark based People’s Organization for Progress and the Saint Louis centered Organization for Black Struggle. Michel also publishes the Mcphearsonreport.org expressing his views on war and peace, politics, human rights, race and other things. Michael also launched Reclaimthedream.org website as an effort to change the discourse and ignite a new conversation about Dr. Martin Luther King’s message and what it means to live in just and peaceful communities.