4,000

hilzoy summarizes the significance of this morbid milestone most elegantly. It’s a testament to the grievousness of the crime committed on March 19, 2003 that this isn’t even the worst of the damage done. As awful as these deaths are, they pale in comparison to the hundreds of thousands, even millions of Iraqi civilians killed, civilians who never walked into a recruitment office, who never signed an enlistment contract, who never volunteered to risk their lives. They didn’t sign on for any of this: not Hussein’s dictatorship, not the UN sanctions, not the invasion, and most definitely not the occupation and ensuing chaos. I won’t even begin to speculate on the number of lives that could have been saved through a better appropriation of the trillions of dollars wasted in this effort.
In remembering the 4,000 now lost, it’s imperative to note that they didn’t perish by accident. They perished as part of a crime, as part of one of the most brutal wars of aggression in recent memory. They perished because Bush, Cheney, their cabinet and their NSC saw 9/11 not as a tragedy but as an opportunity, an opportunity for conquest. They perished because “liberal” public intellectuals like Tom Friedman and Ken Pollack and Democratic traitors like Tom Daschle, Dick Gephardt and, yes, Hillary Clinton checked their principles at the door and cheered on the crime for the sake of professional and political advancement. They perished because the media, from Judy Miller to FOX News to every embedded reporter shipped out to Kuwait, gave the invasion its thumbs-up and tried its damndest to help it happen. They perished because the American establishment let them perish. Nearly every man or woman in a place of power in America wanted our troops in a place where they could get killed easily. Not because they wanted those troops dead, but because they didn’t care enough to stop them from dying.
This happened for a reason, a reason that still holds seats in Congress and posts in the DoD and cubicles in newsrooms, not to mention the presidency. This happened for a reason that we’ve yet to expel from power, that we’ve yet to truly battle. The 4,000 mark should be a time for mourning but also a call to arms. The people who killed those 4,000 not only haven’t been brought to justice, they’ve still got the guns with which they did the deed. We may never get these troops the justice they deserve, but the least we can do is confiscate the weaponry that killed them.
P.S. And guess which candidate has the foreign policy team and the foreign policy outlook necessary to confiscate that weaponry? Spencer Ackerman explains, in probably the best reported piece on the campaign I’ve read in a long time.

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