2,000 Too Many

As Amy Goodman, of “Democracy Now,” pointed out on Chris Matthews’ Hardball tonight, at just about the time the 2000th American soldier falls in Iraq, Patrick J. Fitzgerald’s grand jury will — by all accounts — be indicting the War Party. This conjuncture of legality and tragedy needs to be observed with more than just appalled silence. United for Justice and Peace (UFJP), the biggest — and, in my view, the most effective — antiwar coalition, is calling for a national outpouring of protest on the day we reach the 2000 mark. From their website:

[b]2,000 U.S. Deaths in Iraq is 2,000 Too Many!

Organize an Anti-War Action the Day After the U.S. Announces the 2,000th U.S. Soldier Death in Iraq [/b]

How many more U.S. soldiers and Iraqis must give their lives before our government finally admits that the war against Iraq was wrong and it’s time tobring our troops home now? So far, more than 1950 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq, and more than 15,000 have been wounded. U.S. soldiers are at grave risk in Iraq, and continue to suffer even after they come home. Troops returning to the U.S. are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and are even turning up in homeless shelters in cities through the country. The risk for Iraqis is even more severe: Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed in the war, and hundreds of thousands of lives have been devastated, even according to the most conservative estimates.

Meanwhile, the war has meant that precious resources are being channeled toward death and destruction in Iraq instead of into programs that could save people’s lives and meet their basic human needs. If the National Guard troops and equipment from Mississippi and Louisiana hadn’t been in Iraq, the Guard could have responded more quickly and more thoroughly to the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina and lives could have been saved. The U.S. is pouring more than a billion dollars a week into the Iraq war that could otherwise be spent on health care, schools and infrastructure here at home.


The sad day is coming when the 2,000th U.S. soldier will have died in Iraq. We need to use that milestone to remind people of the human cost of the war and call for the troops to come home. United for Peace and Justice supports the calls of our member groups – American Friends Service Committee, Gold Star Families for Peace, and Military Families Speak Out – for actions on the day after the 2,000th U.S. serviceperson’s death is announced. We urge to you join the hundreds of peace and justice groups throughout the country as we tell the President, Congress and the world that 2,000 U.S. deaths in Iraq is 2,000 too many.

We will remember the 2,000 U.S. servicemen and women who have died in Iraq.

We will remember the tens of thousands of Iraqis — civilians and combatants, men and women, children the elderly — who have been killed.

We will remember that these deaths did not have to happen, should not have happened.

We will call for our troops to be brought home now. Don’t ask these men and women to continue to die for politicians’ mistakes and lies. And we want them treated right when they return. Give them the benefits they were promised and give them the help they will need to heal their bodies, their minds and their spirits.

We will demand an end to the occupation so the Iraqi people can determine their own destiny free from foreign interference and control.

Some ideas for what you can do:

Organize a candlelight vigil where you read the names of U.S. soldiers and Iraqis who’ve been killed in the war.

Organize an event that visually represents the number of U.S. soldiers who’ve been killed – 2,000 candles, 2,000 pairs of shoes, 2,000 coffins, etc.

Organize any event outside of the district office of a Senator or Representative who needs to change his/her position on the Iraq war – a vigil, picket, rally, or sit-in. Demand that the Senator or Representative face his/her constituents at a town hall meeting.

Coordinate with other local peace and justice groups, veterans, and military families.
Make sure that the media knows what you are doing and invite them to cover your activities.
List your event on the calendar at the UFPJ web site (http://unitedforpeace.org/addevent), and also be sure to list your event on the AFSC web site (http://www.afsc.org/2000). With these listings, we can get the word out about these events and give an accurate count to the news media