Usually anniversaries are times of celebration; opportunities to rejoice a landmark in the life span of someone or something notable, positive, inspirational, etc. etc. But today's date, March 19th 2008, which marks the five year anniversary of the war in Iraq, is hardly a time for any sort of celebration for anyone. Even those few remaining staunchly pro-American, anti-terrorist, die-hard Bush supporters must find little to celebrate today.
For even if they choose to blindly dismiss & ignore all of the damage done to Iraq and its people (approximately half a million citizens of Iraq killed & countless more maimed or left homeless and/or with their lives in total disarray) and just focus on the American lives lost, not to mention the incredible damage done to the US economy that is not even fully felt, and won't be for years, nay, generations, to come - then even the most stubborn supporters of this war would have to agree that is a losing battle in every sense of the word.
One life lost is one too many no matter how noble a cause might seem. But in this case, in this war, there is no noble cause at stake. There is no honor. Just a tragic waste of lives and money and a huge stain on the future - especially for the USA. If we were to just forget about all the human lives lost and were to just ponder the financial drain of this war it is simply mind-numbing. Currently the US has wasted over $500 billion on this war. And estimated figures point to the US spending close to a total of a trillion dollars (a thousand billion) before this whole war in Iraq can be brought to a close. Now considering the needs of so many poor struggling American citizens at home, with so many living below the poverty level and dealing with poor medical care, housing, and schooling, etc., this war is not just a terrible waste. It is horrendous crime.
I read somewhere that some war protesters in DC today were planning on getting a huge spool of yellow crime tape and wrapping it around the White House as the perfect symbol of the crime of this war by the US Government.
In Berkeley earlier today I stopped by two protests: one was a march, part of whose route went down Telegraph past Amoeba Berkeley, and the other was a staged protest in Martin Luther King Park near Berkeley High and the Berkeley Civic buildings, where a handful of well-meaning war protesters armed with placards with slogans like "Education, not occupation" and bull-horns were outnumbered by the media trucks and cameras and all the extra Berkeley police officers working overtime (more money wasted).
And today as I listened to the speeches and read the literature being handed out, I thought about another anti-war protest I had attended five years ago. It was just a couple of months before the war had started, Jan 18th 2003 at Civic Center in San Francisco, and it was packed with tens of thousands of individuals who felt hope that maybe, just maybe, Bush and his administration wouldn't lead us into a war in Iraq - even though everything pointed that way back in early 2003. (See pictures of that protest here on my website.) Of course he did and no one stopped him. Nor is anyone stopping him now.
And in every way, especially economically, this country is more fucked up than ever with a recession (the word that politicians dare not speak) well under way and worsening daily thanks in great part to the mind-boggling figure of the billions of dollars (and counting) of national debt being created by the war in Iraq. Money pissed away.
As I left the protest at Martin Luther King park in Berkeley today I noticed two homeless people huddled close together (picture left) in their sleeping bags fast asleep (even though it was almost noon) and oblivious to the protests going on all around them - again I was reminded of how well spent all the money wasted in Iraq could be utilized here in the US for those who truly need it. Bring the yellow tape, indeed.