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Virginia Tech and Iraq

Dear Editor:The Virginia Tech tragedy has shocked the consciousness of America. The television, radio, Internet and newspapers can hardly cover anything else. Every detail about every person involved will be discovered and examined. Nothing can or should diminish the seriousness of this event, or the pain and suffering of the families and friends of the victims. Still, if the Virginia Tech shooting was to happen in the country of Iraq, it might hardly be noticed.The estimated death count of Iraqi people, by an experienced scientific agency, was put at 660,000 since the beginning of the George W. Bush invasion of Iraq. By comparison, Iraq has experienced the loss of 33 people (the number dead at Virginia Tech) some 20,000 times over the last four years. Iraq does not have the opportunity to mourn the loss of 33 of its finest young people, as they would wish to do, when the average loss per day for the war is 452. It is all they can do to get the casualties buried.Perhaps even more telling of the depth of the tragedy in Iraq is a comparison to the U.S. in total population. With 12 times the population of Iraq, an equivalent number of deaths in America would be 5,424 every day. America would have lost, in total, some 8 million people in the same period.In addition to Iraq’s loss of population by death, some 2 million people have left Iraq. Approximately another 2 million are homeless within Iraq. By comparison, in the U.S. it would be 24 million having left the country and 24 million out of their homes.These are just numbers, as such they don’t have the sort of impact as faces and tearful testimonies on the national TV news. Most Americans have stopped thinking about Iraq in any meaningful way. People just want it to go away. So unfortunately, the catastrophic devastation to that country goes ignored. The Bush administration understands this, and therefore is continuing the fighting instead of trying to end it. Presidents Johnson and Nixon did the same thing. Bush, like his predecessors, is putting party politics ahead of both the lives of the Iraqi people and of our military.Patrick Hunter Carbondale


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