The following is a quote from Veterans for Peace Ntl. vice President, Leah Bolger
"When Barack Obama was still running for president, he frequently touted his "no" vote on the Iraq war as an indicator that he was the "peace" candidate. He said that if he were elected president, he would exhaust every diplomatic path before he would turn to the last resort of military force.
Yet his surge of force in Afghanistan didn't come as a surprise to anyone; indeed he spoke about refocusing U.S. efforts there as we drew down from Iraq. Now, Congress approved $91 billion requested by President Obama for continued military operations in Afghanistan.
So how does Obama reconcile his peace persona with his aggressive military policy on Afghanistan? Answer: By portraying it as the "good" war - the "just" war. By continuing to foster the fear of Americans and justify the fatalities of non-Americans as a necessary cost of keeping us safe.
The invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is no more "just" than that of Iraq. Our unmanned drones and aerial bombardments invoke terror in all of the population, not just the "bad guys".
It is immoral to write off the civilian fatalities as an inherent cost of war. It is wrong to say "It's worth it." That's not our call. "
• The war in Afghanistan/Pakistan is heating up, so in our “War Dead” box we are adding statistics from Afghanistan, including U.S. dead, injured and the cost in dollars to taxpayers. The total costs of war cannot be calculated in a box, of course. War costs have to include long-term human suffering in its myriad forms, the destruction of social and political systems, environmental and infrastructure degradation and economic damage from squandered resources and war profiteering.
The paper posts a weekly update on the stats from the Iraq war, and have now added the Afghanistan war info.
There has been so much focus on the Iraq occupation, we hear very little info on the stats of the 8 years we've already spent in Afghanistan.
A sampling of their *just the facts* weekly post:
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003 (last week’s numbers in parentheses):
• 4,296 U.S. troops killed* (4,292)
• 31,256 U.S. troops injured* (31,245)
• 182 U.S. military suicides* (182)
• 1,123 U.S. contractors killed (accurate updates NA)
• 100,361 to 1.2 million civilians killed*** (100,339)
• $670.7 billion cost of war ($667.9 billion)
• $190.6 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($189.9 million)
• 685 U.S. troops killed* (682)
• 2,828 U.S. troops injured* (2,820)
• $188.2 billion cost of war ($187.7 million)
• $53.3 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($53.3 million)
* through May 18, 2009; source: icasualties.org; some figures only updated monthly
** sources: icasualties.org, defenselink.mil
*** highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate civilian deaths as high as 655,000 (Lancet survey, 2006) to 1.1 million (Opinion Research Business survey, 2008)
I for one greatly appreciate them keeping this information in the public eye. No analysis, opinion or comment, just the statistics.
In case you missed this video montage made by Veteran for Peace, Gordon Sturrock, check it out--
My Veterans for Peace friend, Gordon Sturrock put together this montage~ in his words:
"A farewell to the 162nd Infantry of the 2nd Battalion. Created from video
footage filmed at the Mobilization Ceremony on May 4, 2009 at the Lane
Country Fairgrounds in Eugene, woven into an audio and video "tapestry of
contrast" by fellow vets who are deeply concerned for all the souls who
will ultimately be touched by this deployment."