Tuesday, October 31, 2006

How Many Deaths Will It Take Till He Knows....

...that too many people have died?

According to U.S. Military Deaths, the number of U.S. military deaths as of today stands at 2814. The number of civilians killed by military intervention in Iraq is at least 434,803. Go here for more information: Iraq Body Count. To make matters worse, the Washington Post linked to an epidemiological study suggesting that excess deaths since the invasion began is about 655,000. (Some people would have died irrespective of an invasion. That number stays fairly constant within a population and is knowable. Deaths over that number are excess deaths.) This number is fully 20 times larger than the Bush administration has suggested. If they're right, that's about 500 deaths from violence every day, with the remaining fatalities stemming from increased disease in the population. The findings are on line at The Lancet, but you have to have a subscription to read it. (Thanks, Mom. Now change your password!)

So, how do we build peace in a time of perpetual war? My first answer is always "disarm your own heart". I'm going to try (TRY, mind you) to hold the people who have caused this debacle gently in my heart. This tasks feels huge to me, but I'll make an effort. But let's assume that I will both continue to work on that and never fully accomplish it. What else can be done?

As discontent with the war and its human and financial costs mounts, it seems important to keep information easily available. I've asked the local newspaper to print a daily casualty toll. As far as I know, they have not done so; it's a very conservative and cautious newspaper. I'll ask again. If other people asked as well, maybe we'd make some progress. I've added a death count tracker to my sidebar and, as sad as it is, I encourage other people to do so as well. You can get one here: Casualty Toll.

And I keep coming back to the idea that it's important to, even in merely symbolic ways, reduce our dependence on oil. I'm going to try to use my bike to commute this winter, at least more than I have in the past. A few months ago, I committed to a single car-free day per week. That hasn't been any trouble, although the weather hasn't gotten nasty yet. I am going to try to increase that.

There has to be more we can do. Ideas, anyone?


Wil Morat said...

I think the more people talk about it - even if just on blogs - the more aware and informed people can become.

Hopefully next week there will be a new sheriff in town (so to speak), but I'm afraid the Democrats don't have any real different ideas either...and they might end up just struggling to hold onto power as well. They were pretty eager to go into Iraq - and seem pretty eager to go at Iran.

Brother Tim said...

Good post, Andrea. It's the question I've been asking for years: When is enough, enough?