For every one of the two trillion dollars spent during the three-plus years of the Iraqi war, a hundred questions have been asked and a thousand answers given.
Typical of these questions are the following:
Are we winning/losing the war? Is our Iraqi presence fostering/overcoming terror? How much money has/will it cost? Should we send more troops or withdraw? How long will it take? What are we doing there? Are our soldiers fully equipped? When will the Iraqi government security forces be able to take over? What caused the October boost in casualties? How many dead? How many wounded?
Now, certainly you will agree that the above are weighty questions, especially those that appertain to our casualties for whom I grieve.
But these are not the burning questions, those that cry out to be asked; the burning questions are two in number. How many more must be killed? How many more must be wounded? At the end of the course, after we have won, how many?
Never have I heard these two asked. Never.
For casualties and wounded in the above question, please substitute the following description. Explosions shatter and sever legs and arms. They char flesh and drive debris deep into the soft tissue that remains red-hot shrapnel sometimes punctures torsos below waist-length body armor, ripping bowels and bladders. Concussions bruise skulls and brains. Soldiers thrown into the air are injured again when they hit ground. From David Wood in Amputees Returning to Duty, published by Times-Picayune on Oct. 12, 2003.
So, help me to ask these never-before-spoken words. There are only two of them; ask them of yourselves, of family, of friends, of fellow workers and of those pertinent to the wars inception and continuance. And, lest you think the above is impolitic, ask the parents of those 25,000 casualties their opinion.
To refresh your memory, as of the day before I wrote this letter, those number killed was at 2,824, and the number wounded was at 20,887. This is a number equal to the entire population of Mukilteo and surrounds.
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