Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Newspapers Ignore Pentagon Request to Ignore 2,000th U.S. Death

Today, the U.S. media did not act like lapdogs, and did not fall for the line of crap pushed by the Pentagon, that the fact 2,000 Americans have now died in Iraq has no special significance. Editor & Publisher writes that several papers defied government pressure and treated the 2,000th U.S. death as a very important milestone in the Iraq war.

Going against the expressed wishes of the Pentagon, several top U.S. newspapers treated the tragic arrival of the 2,000th American military death in Iraq as a major milestone Wednesday. The New York Times even used that officially disapproved phrase in a headline at the top of a page. USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post all carried special features.
I have to note the depravity of the right in attacking any attempt to note that 2,000 Americans are dead and to question the morality and purpose of the war that has taken those lives. And that is the point, really. Taking particular note of the fact that 2,000 Americans have died in Iraq and calling it a milestone is an implicit criticism of the war that caused their deaths. Lt. Col. Boylan's request that the press not treat the 2,000th death as a milestone was, in turn, an implicit attempt to cut off any venue for the war to be questioned in this way. Don't say that the 2,000th death is a milestone; don't point it out in any public way; say it doesn't mean anything special. Better yet, say nothing at all. That way, the war that killed those 2,000 men can continue unopposed and unobstructed.

That's why, when bloggers like Michelle Malkin say that 2,000 is a "bogus number," they are actually saying that opposition to the war is bogus. They are saying that the best way to mark the ending of 2,000 lives in the Iraq war is to support the war and allow our leaders to continue it without protest.

Peace activists have been gearing up for protests, vigils, and other events this week to mark the completely bogus milestone. Why 2,000? Was the 2nd or 555th or 1,678th death not as worth mourning as any other death with nice round numbers?

When Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice and their right-wing cohorts wanted to drum up support for the invasion of Afghanistan and, after that, the invasion of Iraq, I remember hearing one particular nice round number over and over and over and over and over and over and over again: 3,000.

When the number of Americans who have died in Iraq reaches 3,000, will the drummers for war repeat this number as loudly as they can, in as many public forums as they can, and say we have to remember this number and never forget it? Or will we be told not to treat that number as a milestone, because it's no different from the number 1, or the number 555, or the number 1,678?

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