"Today the US reached the sad milestone of the 2000th US fatality in
Iraq. Peace activists throughout the country have organized more than
400 events in 49 states to honor all who have died in the war and call
for U.S troops to be brought home now. Most of these events will take
place on Wednesday, October 26.
To view a list of all the peace events planned to mark the 2000th US
soldier death, see http://www.afsc.org/2000/all_locations.php. Below
are two of the key events planned for San Francisco and Oakland as
well as an oped by Medea Benjamin and Gayle Brandeis entitled "2000
- wrote Andrea Buffa
The click to get the rest of the info:
TODAY, TUESDAY, OCT. 25, 7:30 PM
The Lighting of 2,000 Candles to Mark the Announcement of the 2000th
American Military Fatality in Iraq
Lakeside Park (near Grand Avenue and Bellevue Avenue) on Lake Merritt in Oakland
Sponsors: Veterans For Peace
Contact: Bill Schwalb at 415-285-5627 or Eduardo Cohen at 510-527-8518
"We will be attempting to create a solemn but powerful visual image to
demonstrate what the number 2000 really means" explains Paul Cox, a
Vietnam combat veteran and co-founder of the Veterans for Peace Bay
Area chapter, "so that ten years from now we won't be building a
monument to tens of thousands of American lives needlessly sacrificed
like we did after Vietnam."
TOMORROW, WEDNESDAY, OCT. 26, 6:30 PM
Candelight Vigil – Not One More Death, Not One More Dollar
San Francisco Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue (at McAllister), SF
Peace activists will hold candles and line up along Van ness Avenue.
We will also display panels bearing the photos of the US soldiers and
some of the many Iraqis who have been killed in the war. Bring candles
Sponsor: American Friends Service Committee, Gold Star Families for
Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Veterans For Peace, United for
Peace and Justice, and others
Contact: Sandra Schwartz, AFSC, 415-565-0201 x24
2000 Too Many
by Medea Benjamin and Gayle Brandeis
Published on Tuesday, October 25, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
Think back to the end of 1999. Millions of people were afraid of the
coming New Year. 2000. Y2K. People were afraid that power would fail,
that bombs would be unleashed at random, that chaos would reign in the
streets. As it turned out, though, nothing much happened. Midnight
struck, the calendar clicked over to a new year, a new decade, a new
century, a new (some would say) millennium, and life went on as
Now we have reached another 2000. Iraq 2K. Two thousand of our
soldiers killed in Iraq. Our administrative power has failed; bombs
are being unleashed, seemingly at random; chaos is reigning in the
streets of Iraq and our global relationships have been torn asunder.
This is the 2000 we should be afraid of. This is the 2000 we must
grieve, honor and reflect upon.
This 2000 wouldn't have happened without the year 2001. Without 9/11.
Those numbers gave our president the false justification to begin this
war. Some 3000 Americans were killed on the attacks of September 11.
Now almost 2/3 that number have been killed in Iraq. And that's not
counting soldiers who have died after leaving Iraq, died from
horrendous wounds and tormented suicides. It doesn't count soldiers
who are left permanently disabled or those who survived in body but
not in spirit, the broken souls whose lives have been shattered by
what they did and saw.
And of course, that's not counting the uncounted, the Iraqis. We'll
never know how many Iraqis have been killed at checkpoints, how many
were caught in crossfires, how many were killed by roadside bombs.
We'll never know how many Iraqi babies have died because of unclean
drinking water from bombed out water systems, how many sick Iraqis
died because hospitals were looted of critical equipment, how many
Iraqis died because so many doctors have fled the country. Some say
tens of thousands; others, like the survey in the medical journal,
Lancet, say over 100,000. We don't know; we'll never know.
The Bush administration insists we must "stay the course" to help the
Iraqi people. But a national survey conducted in August by an Iraqi
university research team for the British Ministry of Defense found 82
percent of Iraqis "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition
troops; less than one per cent of the population believes coalition
forces are responsible for any improvement in security, and 67 per
cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation.
But why should we expect the Bush administration to listen to the
Iraqis, when they don't even listen to their own constituents? Since
the summer of 2005, polls consistently show that a majority of
Americans oppose this war, think it's unwinnable, think it makes us
less safe at home and want a timetable for troop withdrawal. How many
of our soldiers need to die before our elected officials start
listening to us?
The grim milestone of the death of the 2000th American soldier should
be a time for national reflection. As the families of our soldiers
know all too well, 2000 is not just a number. These are 2000 human
beings we've lost; 2000 people with names, with grieving families;
2000 people with hopes and dreams that will never be realized.
Let's honor them by stopping more soldiers from dying. Let's honor
them by giving Iraqis a chance to run their own country. Let's honor
them by bringing their buddies home.
Medea Benjamin is the cofounder of CODEPINK: Women for Peace and
Global Exchange. Gayle Brandeis, also with CODEPINK, is the author of
The Book of Dead Birds, which won the Bellwether Prize for Fiction in
Support of a Literature of Social Change.