Cindy Sheehan: They are Not Numbers
- Retired general: Iraq invasion was 'strategic disaster'
The Lowell Sun
WASHINGTON -- The invasion of Iraq was the "greatest strategic
disaster in United States history," a retired Army general said
yesterday, strengthening an effort in Congress to force an American
withdrawal beginning next year., Retired Army Lt. Gen. William Odom,
a Vietnam veteran, said the invasion of Iraq alienated America's
Middle East allies, making it harder to prosecute a war against
The U.S. should withdraw from Iraq, he said, and reposition its
military forces along the Afghan-Pakistani border to capture Osama
bin Laden and crush al Qaeda cells.
"The invasion of Iraq I believe will turn out to be the greatest
strategic disaster in U.S. history," said Odom, now a scholar with
the Hudson Institute.
Homeward Bound, a bipartisan resolution with 60 House co-sponsors,
including Lowell Rep. Marty Meehan, requests President Bush to
announce plans for a draw-down by December, and begin withdrawing
troops by October 2006.
The measure has not been voted on, nor has the House Republican
leadership scheduled hearings. But supporters were encouraged
yesterday, pointing to growing support among moderate conservatives
and the public's rising dissatisfaction with the war.
Meehan, one of the first to propose a tiered exit strategy in
January, when few of his Democratic colleagues dared wade into the
controversial debate, pointed to "enormous progress."
"Talking about this issue, having hearings on this issue, getting
more Americans to focus on it will result in a change of policy,"
Meehan told The Sun. "The generals and commanders on the field in
Iraq overwhelmingly are saying we need less in terms of occupation
and more Iraqis up front, and that's the only strategy I think that
will result in getting American troops back home."
They are Not Numbers
by Cindy Sheehan
I received this e-mail the other day. I have removed the names:
Dear Ms. Sheehan ~ I wasn't sure how else to contact you, so am
sending this thru the gsfp website. I just want to thank you for
posting your essay entitled, 'A Peaceful Day' dated October 17th on
the CommonDreams.org website
(http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1017-30.htm), a site I visit
My cousin, "brave soldier", 30, originally of Indiana, was one
of the five U.S. soldiers killed on Saturday, October 15th --
Iraq's 'peaceful day.' He is survived by his wife, his two children,
his parents, his sister, our grandma, his aunt, his two uncles and
his two cousins. We are currently awaiting confirmation per DNA
I thank you for taking notice. The loss of his life and that of
his comrades does not make for a peaceful day ~ may their souls will
rest in peace.
Thank you for your efforts.
I received this e-mail today from a distraught Gold Star Mother:
I have so many questions.....How I do I stop the vulgar pain in
my chest? How do I do this? How I do I continue to breathe but
cannot live? How do I do this? How do I keep my soul in my body? How
do I do this? How do I close my eyes wondering if sleep should come
but yet knowing if I sleep I will awaken to know this is not a
nightmare but my life? How do I do this? How do I love someone with
my every being but cannot ever hold him again? How do I do this? How
do I go on without that sweet face that brought more joy to my life
than I ever deserve never be seen by my eyes again? How do I do
this? How do I stop the scream that no one hears but me? How do I do
this? PLEASE TELL ME...how do I live without my child, my son, my
heart, my soul, my joy, my validation to my life...Please tell
me ...how do I do this? How does the world go on without
Steven....how do I do this?
I received this e-mail yesterday from a mom who doesn't "qualify" to
be a Gold Star Mother (from the other org., she does belong to GSFP)
because her son committed suicide. He suffered horribly from PTSD.
He (Gov. Mitt Romney, R-MA) was asked about his five boys and
his answer was that they were grown, with families and they made
their own choices. He then reminded everyone that our children chose
to enlist. Aggressively recruited would be a better phrase. And then
not told the truth, only to discover like my son that he had made a
big mistake. He went on to say that he had attended all the
funerals. Kevin said simple, no you haven't... Both Kevin and Debbie
felt that the wall was up and that no change of attitude would be
forthcoming from our Bush "yes" man. On the positive side his chief
of staff spoke to Kevin privately about veteran affairs and that
they would like to improve the system.
I find that I can't get Jeffrey out of my mind. I can see him at
11- 12 years old jumping in the car, when I'd pick him up at a
friends. It's so real...it's almost like you can reach out and touch
him. What a world of hell this administration has put us in. One we
will live in all the rest of our days...
The 2000th tragically appalling death of American troops is,
unfortunately, coming up rapidly in Iraq.
The official death count today from the War Department's Casualty
site is 1992. The toll could reach 2000 within a couple of days.
Of the 1992, 13 are pending notification. I have written
about "pending notification" before. 13 families are going through
their normal lives today not even knowing that the other shoe is
about to drop. They have been worrying about their loved one for
days, weeks, or even months. Some of them may know that 11 of our
children have been killed in the last 2 days and they may be
anxiously awaiting news. Will it be their lives destroyed today? Or
is it another family who was randomly picked by the universe to
suffer this violent assault on their homes?
There are so many people in our country today that are happily
certain that their lives are not about to be turned upside down
because their darling child will be killed in a meaningless war.
This would include every member of this criminal administration and
Congress and every person who puts headphones on and spews right-
wing hate from their mouths. Not one of these people who mostly
support the war, either outspokenly, or tacitly by their silence in
not calling for an end to the occupation of Iraq, have any idea of
the horror of laying awake at night worried about your wonderful
child, or walking around all day with an icy-cold stomach because
you heard that soldiers were killed in Iraq today.
We know that George Bush and his supporters who are crumbling like 3
day old sugar cookies care not one whit about the people they have
sent to die and kill innocent people in Iraq. We know that George,
Dick, Condi (who I believe is the Deputy Secretary of Warâ¦she
never thinks of the Diplomatic solution), Donny (In charge of the
killing department), and the rest will never admit that they made a
mistake, because guess what folks? Things are going just as they
have planned in Iraq! They are happy as clams in their shells that
things are in chaos and turmoil in the Middle East. That means that
they and their partners in crime can rake in more money, rape Iraq
of its resources and empty our treasury of money and our communities
of future leaders.
The little vignettes of pain that I have shared with you are just 3
stories out of millions. Out of the tens of thousands of mothers in
Iraq who have had their children killed, how many of them remember
their baby boy or pre-teen child with their innocent eyes reflected
with the mom's hopes and dreams of their future?
Casey had such a bright future ahead of him. Someone asked me the
other day what I miss about him the most. I just miss him. I miss
everything about him. I miss his presence on this planet. I miss his
naive joy and heartbreaking hope for the future. I miss his future
and I remember his past with love and pain.
On the sorrowful day of the 2000th soldier killed, I am sure there
will be candlelight vigils all over the country to honor the ones
who have been killed. That is nice, but that doesn't help bring our
other troops home or insure the safety of the Iraqi people.
On the day of the 2000th, I will be in DC. I will go to the White
House. Our house. I will sit on the sidewalk again and demand that
the war criminals who live and work in there bring our troops home.
I suggest instead of candlelight vigils and singing "Give Peace a
Chance" every person who cares about ending the immorality of the
occupation of Iraq take signs and their presence to their
Congressional offices near them and demand that each and every
Congress person do everything in his/her power to bring our precious
lifeblood home from the nightmare.
It is time to get peacefully radical.
The day of the wrought with voting fraud constitutional referendum
in Iraq, George said: "Democracies are peaceful countries."
Let's hold him and our other elected officials accountable for that
hypocritical statement. If George won't make it so, we must!
Our young people aren't numbers. Our young people are confined to
early graves because of criminals who should be confined to prison
that are profiting handsomely from the undeclared mess in Iraq. The
Iraqi people are less than numbers. If they are counted or thought
of at all, they are very often wrongly counted as "insurgents" when
they are children and women.
If mere numbers will wake America up, think of Don and Condi when
they say that this occupation could last at least a dozen or more
What number are you comfortable with? One was too much for me.
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