Wednesday, September 08, 2004

1,000, and Rising

The big black headline in the New York Daily News is just the number 1000. No need to explain -- Bush’s war in Iraq has rolled up a toll that the media could not ignore.

The Pentagon claims to keep no count of the number of Iraqis killed. During the current "truces," what it calls "incidents" have risen to 260 a week, and the odds typically run 25 or more Iraqis killed for each American, but for us, what counts is the death of our own. That’s normal, and has been the case during all our wars It was true for Vietnam - which has been revived as a hot topic during our election campaign. Quick,now - 58,000 Americans died -- how many Indochinese?

For those of us who were around then, the current debate is like a replay fast-forward. Great demonstrations, thousands finding imaginative ways to dramatize their cause, despite police repression. Already, some veterans home from Iraq are reaching out to one another to form a peace movement like the one John Kerry led on his return from Vietnam.

It was his golden moment. He has tried to live it down - play the war hero over again. That’s been a disaster for him, and a disappointment for us -- but we’ve lived through that, too -- two national elections before the Vietnam war came to an end. This one should require only one.