To the congressional
winners of Campaign 2006: as you savor your victory and prepare
to take office in January, consider this bit of free advice on
how to make those tough decisions youll soon face on the
war: pick a number.
simple. Pick a number. Any number. It doesnt much matter
which number, as long as its greater than 47,615 - the number
of U.S. troops killed and wounded so far in Iraq. Now pick another
number, something over 650,000 - the latest estimate of how many
Iraqis have died in the war. But, I suppose we should keep it
simple, so lets just stick to the only number that really
matters politically, the one for U.S. casualties.
all there is to it. Thats the only tough decision youll
have to make on the war.
casualties reach that number you can continue to proclaim you
support the troops and hate the terrorists; that you wont
let America lose a war on your watch; that you refuse to let our
soldiers die in vain. Youll be free to use any of the tried
and true bullshit slung through the halls of Congress that passes
for debate. Then, when the War Department announces that casualties
exceed your number, youll know when to stop voting money
for our national orgy of madness and mayhem. With a straight face
you can announce youve always had your doubts about this
war, and now it has finally gone too far! Youll be able
to jump out in front of the protesters and provide the kind of
leadership the American people have been waiting for.
really think about it, you have to admit this strategy makes sense.
You know we will eventually pull out our troops. This occupation
will end as do all foreign occupations. Its just a matter
of how much bloodletting the leaders of empire feel their citizens
will tolerate. Put simply, its a number. So pick one.
too late to join that small band of your congressional colleagues
who four years ago said their number was zero; that the imperial
plans of Bush, Inc. werent worth the arms or legs or sight
or sanity or life of a single person - ours or theirs - and who
have continually voted against money for the slaughter. Since
then a few more of your colleagues have come to that same conclusion.
The casualty count exceeded some number they could politically
abide. All Im suggesting is that you save yourself the needless
anxiety and political pressure youre sure to get from both
sides, and pick your number now.
the time youll save yourself - and us too, for that matter.
Once you pick a number youll be able to focus on the really
important issues confronting our nation, like whether gay marriage
will destroy societys morals, or if flag burning will devastate
democracy as we know it. And meanwhile we can get back to what
good citizens of this republic have been told to do - consume.
youll eventually do it... so pick a number... any number.
Mike Ferner is a freelance
writer and a former member of Toledo City Council. He served as
a Navy Corpsman during Vietnam and is a member of Veterans
His book, Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran For Peace Reports from
Iraq (Praeger), has just been published. You can keep up with
the latest addition to America's burgeoning criminal population
Click here for other articles by Mike Ferner:
Let Humanity's Mutiny Begin
What It Takes To Defy Authority In A Non-Violent Way
Haditha Is Not An Aberration
Movements: From Antiwar, To Peace, To Democracy
Speaker Of House Not Responsible For War Funding
Seven Arrested At White House Protest Against Iraq War
There Are Lives In The Balance
Getting Jailed For Peace