If the US population suffered the same 2.5 per cent casualty rate as that of Iraq, it would mean that in 10 major cities, everyone would be dead. When will Americans feel the pain of the War on Iraq, peace activist Mike Ferner asks.


Mike Ferner.
 

Passing the grim marker of 3,000 U.S. troops killed in Iraq briefly focused Americans' attention on the war. But we live in a big country with lots of malls.

To be sure, the death of 3,000 soldiers is tragic and sickening, yet we are a nation of over 300 million and most families have not lost a loved one. Even with some 32,000 GIs requiring medical evacuation for wounds, most Americans still do not personally know a casualty of this war.

But what if our fellow citizens were killed and wounded at the same rate as people in Iraq? Here's the math.

Last fall the British medical journal, Lancet, published a study done by researchers from Johns Hopkins University estimating that the midrange number of Iraqis dead "as a consequence of the war" was about 2.5 per cent of that country's population, or roughly 655,000 people. Over 90 per cent of those died from violence.

Comparable casualties in our country would mean that every person in Atlanta, Denver, Boston, Seattle, Milwaukee, Fort Worth, Baltimore, San Francisco, Dallas and Philadelphia would be dead. Every. Single. Person.

And we are just now getting serious about cutting off money for this war?

Besides that unimaginable death toll, every person in Vermont, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, Kansas, Mississippi, Iowa, Oregon, South Carolina, and Colorado would be wounded. Every. Single. Person.

Would that be the point we stopped politely asking our Congress members to please end the war, and began taking over their offices in every state in the union?

And what if, in nightmare America, when you turned on the tap you got a thin stream of sick water; there was no reliable electricity to cool the desert heat or preserve food; no proper hospitals or rehab services to help the wounded become productive members of society once again?

Would we be content to go to our nation's capital for a day, hold our banners aloft, and return home? Or would we sit down in the streets of Washington by the thousands and bring government to a standstill?

Could the rest of our nation deal with everyone in 10 major cities killed and every person in 12 states wounded, if 216,000 doctors had left the U.S. in the last three years, and just last year 3,000 doctors were kidnapped and 800 killed; with our roads, schools, and housing falling apart; with three times as many people out of work as during the Great Depression; with unknown horrors to come from depleted uranium?

Fortunately for our individual and national soul we have the Occupation Project sponsored by Voices for Creative Nonviolence. During February and March, as Congress debates another US$90,000,000,000 for the war, the time-honored "sit-down" will be revived at local congressional offices across America, demanding representatives and senators vote against more blood money.

By the end of March, if we and our friends aren't found guilty of occupying a congressional office somewhere in this great land, we will be guilty of something far worse.

Note: 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 For Peace. 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 at www.mikeferner.org.

Click here for other articles by Mike Ferner:
To The Choir
Pick A Number
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







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January 12, 2007