Left Justified: 2,000 dead Americans

The United States military in Iraq is reaching a milestone: 2,000 U.S. military personnel killed in the Iraq war. That number does not include the non-American citizens fighting in our forces, nor the wounded who die on their way home, nor our allies, nor the civilian Iraqi citizens (exceeding 10,000).

Nor does the Iraq count of the dead include those killed fighting our troops. How much death and destruction must occur before someone in our government at least apologizes for calling it a “cake walk”? How many more people will die in the coming months, years, or is it decades before Iraq is stable?

I’m of the belief we never should have gone into Iraq in the first place, that we had Saddam well contained, and we could have supported Iraqi insurgents to try to topple him. Some of my like-minded thinkers say, “Now that we’re in there, let’s try to make a better Iraq.” But I say the United States got it wrong going in and made many mistakes since, and the US should get out now and let somebody else try. “Declare victory and leave,” as we did in so many other places.

Two thousand U.S. soldiers killed; 10,000 wounded; how many scarred for life? How many civilians? It’s not going to end unless the United States ends it. So to mark this mournful milestone, Rockford Peace & Justice invites you to drop flowers off at our congressman’s office, 415 S. Mulford Rd., just south of Kmart off East State, on the east side of Rockford. Or send a condolence card (ZIP is 61109).

U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo is not as fervent a believer in the war as most congressmen. I think he has qualms, but he is not ready to speak about them. Let’s encourage him to be more questioning in Congress about the war. Let’s encourage our congressman to monitor where the money is going.

The USA should not shoot ourselves in the foot while we’re trying to defend freedom for someone else. It didn’t work before, and it’s not working now.

Congressman Manzullo’s got it pretty easy. Our representative from northwest Illinois is not the most respected politician in Washington, D.C. The Small Business Administration is his bailiwick, and he does it well. He still brings home some of the pork and bacon for our district.

But if I remember correctly, there are still some Manzullo promises unkept (U.S. 20 expansion, fast rail from Rockford to Chicago, and something about 12-year term limits for congressmen). But he is a good Christian man, and he seems to enjoy being our representative, so let’s ask him to represent our concerns about the Iraq war. All he can say is no.

When we reach that 2,000 U.S. dead landmark, please realize it might not take as long to reach the next 2,000 U.S. soldiers killed. But maybe we can slow down, if not stop the killing.

But what about the move?

Just as an update, the Rockford City Building Department is offering to grant Rockford Urban Ministries (for which I work) the construction permit if RUM removes the Total Health Awareness Team from our proposed use of the building at 201 Seventh St.

But RUM believes THAT will help the neighborhood by working with the present population and securing the store against unwarranted intrusion. THAT helps IV drug users and street sex providers (“druggies and prostitutes,” as our alderman calls them).

That population is here on Seventh Street. Everyone knows it, and there have been many arrests. THAT is the only program that humanely talks to them. THAT’s made great strides and will continue to do good works in their new location. The opposition is using fear as a tactic against THAT. Don’t be afraid. Help is on the way. A new day is dawning.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

From the Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2005, issue

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