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  Cindy Sheehan: Is the Iraq War Another Vietnam?

COMMENTARY:

Cindy Sheehan: Is the Iraq War Another Vietnam?

by William Hughes
It took four years to kill 2,000 Americans in Vietnam.
Standing on the sidewalk in front of the White House on Wednesday afternoon was the co-founder of the “Gold Star Families for Peace” Cindy Sheehan. She’s a gutsy woman, whose remarkable activism has breathed new life into the anti-war movement. Her son, Spc. Casey Sheehan, 24, was killed in action in Sadr City, Iraq, on April 4, 2004. It is fair to say that Sheehan’s hard work to end the war has rattled the Bush-Cheney Gang and their lackeys in the Right Wing media, such as Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and the repulsive Ann Coulter. From camping outside George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford to maintaining vigils in front of the White House itself, Sheehan won’t let him forget that his so-called “noble cause” isn’t worth anyone’s life.

Coming on the heels of the sad news that the death toll for US military personnel has now exceeded the grim 2,000 mark in the Iraq conflict, Sheehan said, “There have been more US troops killed in the first two and half years of this war than there were at the beginning of the Vietnam War. It took four years to kill 2,000 Americans in Vietnam.” And not only are Americans dying: according to the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet,, over 100,000 innocent Iraqis have also been killed since the Bush-Cheney Gang launched its immoral and unjust preemptive war against Iraq in March, 2003.

Sheehan continued, “I don’t think America wants another Vietnam. We have to get our troops out. We’re going to leave anyway. We’re going to pull out anyway. Let’s do it before 50,000 more Americans are dead and before millions of Iraqis are killed. Let’s do it, now!” The Iraqi conflict was inspired by Neocon ideologues like the then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. He now holds the post of president of the World Bank. It was pushed by powerful warmongers besides Bush and Cheney such as: Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT), and the recently indicted Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX).

Earlier in the day, Sheehan had traveled over to Arlington National Cemetery, located in Arlington, Va., just across the Potomac River, and south of the nation’s capital, to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. On the morning of Friday, October 28, Sheehan, and others from the groups “Military Families Speak Out” and “Veterans for Peace,” will be going to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to visit with US veterans wounded in Iraq and deliver flowers and cards donated by anti-war activists. The historic medical center is located in the northern end of the District. It is, unfortunately, slated for closing by the Bush-Cheney Gang.

Cost of the War in Iraq
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One of the untold stories about the tragic Iraqi War is the dismal fate of the over 15,000 wounded soldiers. According to a report by Richard Sisk in the New York Daily News on October 26, they have come back home to an “overburdened Veterans Affairs system, which will need over $315 billion to pay for care and benefits over their lifetime.” At least, 7,159 of the returning veterans have been “severely injured, including 10% with spinal injuries, 10% with head injuries and 8% who were amputees. Among the 420 who lost limbs, at least 44 were multiple amputees.” (New York Daily News, “15,000 Hurt Vets Need Care,” To date, the Iraq War, without including the above expenses, has cost the American taxpayers $203.7 billion, and that number has been rising at a rate of over $7 billion a month.

Juan M. Torres, Sr., whose only son, Juan, Jr., age 25, was killed in Afghanistan on July 12, 2004, said that Bush acts like “the Iraqi war is a game. He talks about winning. It’s not a soccer game. It’s the lives of our children that he is talking about.” Torres was standing on the left side of Sheehan, along with a veteran of the Iraqi War, John Bruhns of Philadelphia, who was on her right. Bruhns served in Iraq in 2003 with the 1st Armored Division, obtaining the rank of sergeant. Bruhns wondered, “If Iraq is such a noble cause, then why aren’t Bush’s daughters over there? Why don’t they [the Bush-Cheney Gang] offer their own flesh and blood?” He labeled Wolfowitz’s appointment to a sinecure at the World Bank as “a miscarriage of justice—a disgrace.”

Finally, Sheehan reminded everyone that Dick Cheney, who has incestuous connections to the controversial Halliburton company, a contractor that has made billions off this conflict, had said, “The Iraqi war would only last six months and that the oil would pay for it. Now, he’s saying it will last a dozen years.” Sheehan called the expected federal indictments of top White House officials in the Plamegate affair “a first step in addressing a culture of corruption.”


© William Hughes 2005. William Hughes, a Baltimore attorney, is the author of Saying “No” to the War Party (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at liamhughes@comcast.net.



Copyright © 2005 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

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This story was published on October 28, 2005.

 
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