#305 Spc. Paul J. Sturino, age 21;
#306 Spc. Michael Andrade, age
#307 Sgt.1st Class Robert E. Rooney, age 43;
#308 Capt. Robert L.
#309 Spc. Kyle G. Thomas, age 23.
For several weeks now I've posted on my office door a daily list,
Killed in Iraq Today: The names, pictures, and ages of all U.S.
casualties in Iraq. By last week they covered the entire door and
I'm not certain why I began doing this. Like many others, I'm torn
up each day as I read about this unconscionable loss of life. In part,
I suspect that I somehow feel responsible, even complicit in their
deaths because they were sent off to kill and be killed in my name.
And I never feel I'm doing enough to get the troops back home.
I also wanted a graphic display so that the human consequences of
all the official lying couldn't be evaded by anyone passing by my office.
Adjacent to the pictures, a notepad is attached to the wall with an
invitation to leave comments. Dozens have done so but there is little
1) "It's incredibly sad that so many people lost
their lives for absolutely nothing."
2) "It's not for us to reason why but to do or die. Grow up!"
3)"Freedom is paid for by the blood of patriots."
4)I have a friend in
bootcamp and pray every day that I won't see his face on your door."
5)"This is what blood for oil looks like."
Whatever their feelings, these folks went beyond the statistics to
ponder the faces of fellow citizens who've made the ultimate
sacrifice. For a heart-rending and haunting reality check,readers may
wish to go to: cnn.com/SPECIAL/2003/iraq/forces/casualties/
For myself, I've been heartened to read about the parents of U.S.
soldiers in Iraq, including those in the Reserves, who've begun
organizing against the occupation. Fernando Suarez, whose 20 year old
son, Jesus, was killed in Iraq, recently accused President Bush of
being responsible for his son's death when he wrote, "My son died
because Bush lied." Mr. Suarez has joined 1,300 other parents of
soldiers in Iraq to say,"It is time for these troops to come home.
Neither my wife nor my family want more children to die in this
illegal war. We are no less patriotic for wanting peace."
Larry Syverson, father of two sons serving in Tikrit and Baghdad,
wrote, "I'm in awe of my sons and the honorable service they give. But
the leaders they serve have not acted honorably. They have failed my
sons. They have failed all of us." (The Guardian, 9/27/03)
Tom Predmore, a soldier in the 101st Airborne Division, based in
Mosul, recently wrote a lengthy piece in the Peoria Journal Star, in
which he declared,"For the past six months, I have been participating
in what I believe to be the great modern lie: Operation Iraqi
Even today, the real reasons for the war are avoided by the dominant
media and administration officials are never asked the obvious
questions. But Predmore dares to mention the pink elephant standing in
the living room when he inquires, "So what is our purpose here?" His
answer: "This looks like a modern-day crusade not to free an oppressed
people or rid the world of a demonic dictator...but a crusade to
control another nation's national resource. Oil - at least to me -
seems to be the reason for our presence." But beyond these unsavory
motives, massive deceit, the puppet Chalabi's clique and crony
capitalism reconstruction contracts, one compelling truth
remains: our men and women are dying. There are 12-15 attacks on U.S.
forces every day, resulting in substantial numbers of wounded soldiers.
What to do? Many groups like Veterans for Peace and the rapidly
growing Military Families group are demanding the withdrawal of all
occupation forces. The United Electrical Worker's union recently
passed a resolution that calls on the Bush administration to
immediately cease military operations in Iraq; bring home U.S.
military personnel and turn over the task of rebuilding Iraq to a
genuine multinational peace-keeping force under the supervision of the
United Nations, with the United States making good on its obligation
to finance rebuilding; And all efforts to give Iraq's industries,
service sector, and public resources to multinational corporations
Some U.S. officials believe that a given number of casualties is
"acceptable." I would argue that not a single causality is acceptable.
As soldier Tom Predmore pleads from Iraq, "How many more must die? How
many more tears must be shed before Americans awake and demand the
return of the men and women whose job it is to protect them, rather
than their leader's interest?"
Meanwhile we await tomorrow's list from the Department of Defense.
Gary Olson, Ph.D. is chair of the Political Science department at
Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA. His e-mail address is: