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Cindy Sheehan: The True Cost of War

The True Cost of War

By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Tuesday 01 November 2005

This immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq has cost the world so much. George and his reckless war of choice have cost the American taxpayers billions of dollars that could be better spent at home. Judging from Katrina, Iraq has cost our country much of its security. It has cost the US any good standing we enjoyed in the world community. It cost America the post-9/11 good will from almost the entire world. We Americans are the laughingstock of the world community. Not only is our callous and careless leadership disdained, but we the people are scorned because we "re"-elected George for a 2nd term and not only that, we are allowing him to continue to mis-lead our country into ruin.

The price many of us are paying is so much costlier than the mere monetary expense or loss of reputation. Over 2000 American families have paid the price of our dear loved ones to the insanity. Over 15,000 of our young people are wounded. The Veterans Administration estimates that over 25% of our children will come home with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I believe that number is higher, because I know of many cases where the military refuses to allow soldiers to seek treatment for PTSD. Many of them are sent back to battle if they even dare suggest they may be suffering from PTSD. Even if they are not wounded emotionally or physically, or killed, our soldiers will not come home entirely whole.

I was standing in front of the White House the other day when the five-count indictment against Scooter was handed down. I was helping to hold a banner that said: Support Our Troops: Bring Them Home Now.

When we received word of the indictment, many of us protestors outside the White House were cheering with happiness and relief. At last, someone could be held accountable for the lies that led our country into a disastrous invasion of Iraq. But I wasn't cheering. I put down my end of the banner and sat down on the curb and cried.

Scooter is just a lap dog for Cheney. He and this administration don't do anything unless the dirty deed is analyzed and planned for maximum damage to the offending party and minimum harm to Bush and Co. The criminals in power meant to hurt Joe Wilson and his family because Joe had the temerity and the audacity to call them liars: and to do it with such intelligence and alacrity was too much for the crooks to bear. If this crooked administration let Joe Wilson get away with telling the truth and calling them liars, then who would be next? Colin Powell? Judith Miller? The main stream media? (It could happen).

I cried because there are people in this world who have lied about smaller things and have been punished more harshly. I cried because there was a shill of the right near me holding a sign that read "Put Cindy in Abu Ghraib" when there are war criminals and immoral war profiteers running amok in our country. I cried because George, Dick, Condi, Colin, Alberto, Donald, Scooter, Paul, Karl, Judith, O'Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, etc. lied about the reasons for invading Iraq and because of their lies, my son, who rarely told anything but the truth, is dead.

The liars and lies that led the US to invade Iraq are legion and well documented. (Once, just for giggles, I put George Bush/Lies in a Google search and 272,000 references came up). The lies to maintain the occupation are the same. The liars are now starting to beat the war drum for invading Syria.

A mom whose son committed "accidental" suicide in Iraq about 7 months ago called me this morning. She is beside herself with grief. I remember that the 7th month to the 9th month is the hardest. I think this is true because the profound shock is starting to wear off and the horrendous pain sets in. I so vividly remember the days when I ached so badly I didn't know what to do with my pain. I was afraid if I started screaming, I wouldn't be able to stop until every blood vessel in my brain burst open. I was afraid if I started to hit something, I wouldn't be able to stop until it was completely destroyed. I was afraid that I would have to live every single day with heartbreak so intense and overpowering that I would eventually wear myself out from it.

The ninth month after Casey was killed was absolutely the most devastating for me. I remembered the first nine months of his existence in my womb, all warm and protected. How his dad and I anticipated his birth with so much joy and expectation. In contrast, the first nine months he was in the cold, cold womb of our mother earth were so joyless, painful, dark and dismal. Having your child murdered for lies, mistakes, and betrayals is so dark and dismal: no one should have to endure what we are enduring.

I was able to reassure the mom in agony somewhat that if she could get through about two more months, she would be able to breathe a little and maybe smile a little and even mean it once in a while.

We who have made the "ultimate sacrifice" know the true cost of war. 92 families found out in October, one of the bloodiest months of this war. Seven of our brave troops were killed today, and their families will soon know how much pain the Bush administration's lies will cause them and how much peace, sleep, and joy these same lies cost. For everyone else, this is the true cost of war:

Moms and Dads having their hearts and souls violently ripped out. Overwhelming guilt is felt in relentless and pounding waves.

Husbands and wives sorrowfully and prematurely burying their life partners. Days and nights ahead filled with loneliness and pain.

Brothers and sisters having integral parts of their history seized so cruelly from them. Holidays, birthdays, and other celebrations that will never be the same.

Sons and daughters unjustly denied the basic human right to grow up with both of their parents.

Other family members and friends mourning and missing someone too young to be killed in an occupation in which the war dead were sold the bill of goods that they would be greeted as liberators with chocolates and flowers from the Iraqi people.

A sovereign nation that was no threat to the United States of America lies in ruins, and tens of thousands of its innocent citizens have been slaughtered just for the hell of it.

When are we going to stand up as a country and yell a collective: "bull-shit?!!" I have been screaming this until my voice is getting hoarse and people are getting sick of hearing it.

How much and how many more are we going to allow the serial liars to rob from us?

I say not one more.


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