On January 1st, 2007 we marked the 3000th dead US soldier in Iraq. Nearly one year later, we mark the death of the 3900th dead US soldiers. 900 young men and women never coming home, 900 families torn apart, turned upside down in 2007.
Did you hear this sad statistic on your local news? Unlikely. The AP published a very short story, Forbes picked it up. Not one of the network news affiliates in the San Francisco Bay area covered the story on their websites, not yahoo.com, not cnn.com. Nothing, nada, zip and zero.
We did hear about the first families holiday celebration at Camp David; the president gave his wife a silver tray and purse and she gave him a new coat and warming soles for cold weather mountain biking. Sweet, huh? We surely heard about the presidential campaign and we heard that Bush signed the $555 billion spending bill, but we didn't hear about the dead soldiers.
Unfortunately, since it was recently announced that the troop surge in Iraq was working, I fear some people decided that meant the occupation in Iraq was a success and meant that victory was upon us! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition! Juan Cole over at Informed Comment wrote about the success of the surge as being one of the Top 10 Myths about Iraq 2007 . He explains it is a myth to believe-
The reduction in violence in Iraq is mostly because of the escalation in the number of US troops, or "surge." Fact: Although violence has been reduced in Iraq, much of the reduction did not take place because of US troop activity. Guerrilla attacks in al-Anbar Province were reduced from 400 a week to 100 a week between July, 2006 and July, 2007. But there was no significant US troop escalation in al-Anbar. Likewise, attacks on British troops in Basra have declined precipitously since they were moved out to the airport away from population centers. But this change had nothing to do with US troops. About 600 civilians are being killed in direct political violence per month, but that number excludes deaths of soldiers and police. Across the board, Iraqis believe that their conflicts are mainly caused by the US military presence and they are eager for it to end.
While I am happy that there seems to be less violence in Iraq, 2007 was the deadliest year of this nearly 5 year war. Our troops are still dying. The occupation of Iraq is not over. Whoever gets elected to be our 44th President will become the Decider on when we bring our troops home. Listen to the candidates and listen very carefully while the choice is in your hands.
My condolences to the newest Gold Star families who join a group who needs nor wants new members. Gold Star families, those who have lost a loved one in war, don't care if the number is one or 3900. We know the hole in our hearts that will never heal and we know that any number more than zero is too many for the illegal invasion of Iraq. Special condolences to my fellow members of Gold Star Families Speak Out, who suffer as each additional flag covered coffin returns home for the last time. Whether it has been a day, a month or 4 years, we remember the exact moment we heard the knock on the door; the day our lives changed forever.
Members of GSFSO have been on this journey of bereavement for all too long, and they are the ones I turn to to get me through the days of living without my only child, Lt Ken Ballard. Ken was casualty #818 and was KIA on 5.30.2004. My Gold Star family friends know exactly what losing a loved one in this war means and we are doing what we can to end this endless war and to bring the troops home now!