Memorial Day 2007

On this overwhelmingly sad Memorial Day, we mourn the 3,455 American troops who have been killed and the more than 25,000 troops who have been wounded in the Iraqi war, along with the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens who have died in the inferno their nation has become.

This very unmerry month of May is already the deadliest month in two and a half years, with 101 troops dead now and four days to go.

The Iraqi war has gone on longer than World War II, and we still don’t know why we’re there.

We know what President Bush told us at the beginning, but most of it wasn’t true (which he knew), and the rest of it didn’t make sense, and none of it makes any sense now.

Nobody else, not the members of Congress in both parties who have given Bush a free ride, not the generals who have directed the war, not the Bush apologists in the press, not even the Neo-Cons who claim to know everything has ever explained why we’re there either.

Here and now, the simple and horrific truth is that over four years ago, Bush sent hundreds of thousands of brave young Americans into Iraq for no good reason, and now he’s holding them hostage, using them to extort more funds from Congress. That is not only unconscionable, it’s criminal.

It took the American people much too long to catch on, but the vast majority of us now disapprove of Bush and the war, and if Congress cannot muster the will and the means to force Bush “the decider” to bring the troops home, then it must impeach him and Vice President Dick Cheney,
for they have committed uncountable high crimes and misdemeanors and brought this country lower than it has ever been.

A century and a half ago, Abraham Lincoln called America “the last, best hope of mankind.” 60 years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower warned against the rise of the “military-industrial complex.” Today, thanks to Bush and Cheney and their pals, the military-industrial complex and a craven Congress, America has become the world’s biggest and most dangerous bully.

It is time to restore this democracy, revive its principles, and get on with the urgent business of fulfilling the promises our founding fathers made, and we must begin by bringing our troops home, and expelling the Bush-Cheney gang.

In the meantime, we applaud the Veterans for Peace who created Arlington West, the ever-enlarging field of crosses on the beach north of the Santa Monica Pier, to honor the American troops who have been killed in Iraq.

Since mid-February, 2004, every Sunday and many holidays, these veterans have set out the crosses in t he sand — more and more every week. It is hard and melancholy work, and they have done it faithfully and well. Like the men and women they honor, they are true American heroes, and we salute them and thank them.

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