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John Cory: Three Thousand Plus One

Three Thousand Plus One

By John Cory
t r u t h o u t | Columnist

Wednesday 10 January 2006

A great war leaves the country with three armies - an army of cripples, an army of mourners, and an army of thieves.
- German proverb

President Bush will unleash the latest formula of folly in Iraq: the "surge" doctrine, embroidered with a theme of "sacrifice." Voices of the dead scream in silent sorrow, and the world watches aghast at the fiery failure. And yet, the man-child king demands one more chance.

The coming speech matters little and cannot hide the bloody lies and deception that have taken a toll on America. The words will be nothing more than the rush of wind and the tinkling of brass, because in the end this is the ghoulish price of the Iraq War:

Three thousand dead - plus one gaping hole in the heart of New York City and America. It is an abyss deep enough to bury truth and sanity in the ink-stained darkness of fear, with the echoes of hollow men who seek to capitalize from such catastrophic pain.

Three thousand dead - plus one unsavory dictator and former friend of previous American administrations. Saddam Hussein - a man and a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

Three thousand dead - plus one Osama bin Laden, still alive and free.

Three thousand dead - plus one Constitution, shredded by greed and opportunistic autocrats willing to sell off our privacy, conduct illegal wiretaps, seize our mail, and track our every move on the Internet.

Three thousand dead - plus one lie after another.

Three thousand dead - plus one bloody corporate oil deal, fueled not by fossils, but by vibrant youthful soldiers, civilians and children. It begs the question: Are gas stations the new headstones of the fallen? Or new Veterans Centers for the wounded and maimed who return home for care?

The setting for this pernicious little prince will undoubtedly include flags and perhaps troops from some military installation, because he cannot spin this bile on his own. He needs the staged background to bolster the death sentences that he will utter.

Three thousand dead - plus one hopeless nation.

While he speaks, if there are soldiers or families in the background, study them. Study their faces. Try to guess which one of them will be next. Pick which one of them deserves the folded flag for their family, and a hole in the ground as their future. See if you can choose who will live, who will die, and who will forever be mutilated by this senseless war. Then look to your own family or friends or neighbors. To whom would you give the honor of death in your country's name?

And then, after the speech, sit in the quiet darkness and repeat to yourself:

Three thousand dead - plus one more car bomb.
Three thousand dead - plus one more broken-hearted family.
Three thousand dead - plus one more.
Three thousand dead - plus one more.
Three thousand dead - plus.


John Cory is a Vietnam veteran. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with V device, 1969 - 1970.

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