Today is our 1,707th day in Iraq. Some of of our troops are facing their 5th Thanksgiving away from home this week.
We'll start this morning as we always do, with the latest casualty figures courtesy of Antiwar.com:
Since war began (3/19/03): 3873
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3734
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3412
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3014
Since Election (1/31/05): 2436
Other Coalition Troops: 304
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 468
We find this morning's cost of war
standing at:$470, 192, 450, 000. 00
And do go direct to the website and stare at the counter a moment today. It seems to be moving faster than ever to these eyes.
Instead of a swing through IAVA, let's muse with the TriSec this week.
This past weekend, young Javier and I walked Lexington Green.
It was here that ordinary citizens rose up to face the forces of oppresion and tyranny, and started us down the road leading to this grand experiment we call "America".
It was a beautiful fall day, couldn't ask for better...but as we walked around and Javi made me read him all the memorial plaques, I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming sense of sadness. Like we failed these men and broke the covenant they gave us.
Standing here, at the memorial on a quiet corner of the green, where those who fell fighting for what they believed was right are interred...I thought I sensed a faint whirring of these patriots in the sarcophogi below me.
I barely made it through the wording on that memorial, and as I stood looking down the length of the green towards Boston, I openly wondered that when Javi grows up, will all this still be worth fighting for?
Looking at the current crop of those that would lead us, there isn't a statesman or an inspirer among them. Sure, Obama has the youth, Richardson has the experience, and Edwards may yet run away with it all....but it doesn't feel like there is hope. Together they may be able to do it....but we can only elect one of them. Are we faced with the lesser of the evils this time, or can we truly support a candidate? I for one would love to vote FOR someone rather than against someone else.
We've been at war since March of 2003, and all we have are an endless cycle of despair, broken families, empty promises, and hateful rhetoric. Just a year ago, we elected a democratic majority in the hopes that things would change, and we might be able to extricate ourselves from the mess that this so-called president got us into. But we have been disappointed time and time again by political machinations that have those who would lead worrying about personal attacks and losing elections, instead of doing the right thing, doing what is right for America.
There was no doubt among the assembled Minutemen on that April morning so long ago. For as Abraham Lincoln said four score and seven years later, about men fighting in a different war, "The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated [this ground], far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
It's up to us now. The election is upon us; we begin voting for the next leader of this land right after the holidays. The question now is, do we stand up and fight, or do we shrug our shoulders and continue our lives in ignorant bliss? Do we be the "Good German" and march in lockstep down the road to disaster, or are we going to make a stand?
We've made too many compromises already; too many retreats. Not again. The line must be drawn here. This far, no further! This is our Stalingrad, the cataclysmic struggle to determine which course we take. Nothing less than the future of the United States, our children, and perhaps the entire world lies on what we do between now and November 4.
Getting back to Lexington, the words of Captain Parker ring as true as they did on that cold April morning 232 years ago.
"Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here. "
Let's look in the rear-view mirror and remember why this nation was founded in the first place. Will I be able to bring my grandchildren to Lexington and be proud of this country again, or will I hang my head in shame and shed bitter tears over what became of these United States?