Monday, May 3, 2010


On September 11, 2001 nineteen terrorists took control of four commercial airplanes.  Two of them were flown into the World Trade center, collapsing both towers.  One was flown into the Pentagon.  On crashed in Pennsylvania, as the passengers decided to fight back.

The total number of confirmed deaths for this atrocious act was 2,973 (not including the nineteen perpetrators).  When men come to our country and murder our civilians, we call it terrorism.

This act, the senseless killing of nearly 3,000 American lives so enraged this nation that we went to war.  President George W. Bush sent the troops to Afghanistan, where the mastermind of the attack was alleged to be cowering, and went after his ass. 

For a while.

Then we went to Iraq because Saddam Hussein may or may not have weapons of mass destruction that he may or may not intend to use on American Soil and he may or may not have some terrorists there too.  So we pre-emptively kicked the crap out of his country (that means we struck first.  We weren't provoked).  We found and captured the man who hadn't actually attacked us but probably was maybe going to.  We turned him over to the new government we installed there and they executed him promptly.  Scratch one bad guy. 

Meanwhile we're not really focused on finding the guy who killed nearly 3,000 American civilians anymore.  Iraq was far more important.  The cost of the war in Iraq is well documented.  We paid for our invasion of Iraq with over 4,000 American Soldiers.  When we send our young men and women to another country and they get killed then, we call this patriotism.

Meanwhile, as a result of our invasion and conquer of the sovereign nation of Iraq, since 2003 100,971 of their civilians have died.  When we send men to another country and their civilians die, we call this collateral damage.

Just to recap:

American civilian deaths: 2,973 as a result of a terrorist attack.
American soldier deaths: 4,287* as a result of our invasion.
Iraqi civilian deaths: 100,971* as a result of our invasion.
*Afghanistan statistics not included. 

And we're completely baffled as to why people in the Middle East don't like us.

In Dalton Trumbo's classic book "Johnny got his gun", he added an additional introduction in 1971 responding to the then current Vietnam War.  To avoid possible copyright issues, I'll paraphrase as much as possible, but I would much rather type it in verbatim. 

He says that 40,000 dead young men (the number of dead American soldiers at the time) was equal to 3000 tons of bone and flesh.  124,000 pounds of brain matter.  50,000 gallons of blood.  1,840,000 years of potential life lost.  With 4,000 dead, you can easily adjust these numbers for Iraq.

300 tons of flesh and bone.
12,400 pounds of brain matter.
5,000 gallons of blood.
184,000 years of lost potential life.

The math is a slightly harder for the Iraqi citizens.

7500 tons of flesh and bone.
310,000 pounds of brain matter.

You get the point.  These numbers should make you vomit.  If they don't, you need to ask yourself why.

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