Thursday, April 06, 2006

Iraq: When Does the Cost Outweigh the Benefit?

Today as I watched President Bush give a speech in North Carolina I was again reminded of the terrible attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 in which 2,996 innocent American lives were lost. This was not, however, for the reasons that the President enunciated. I am reminded of September 11, 2001 because I see the war in Iraq surpassing September 11, 2001 in the magnitude of grief it will inflict on the American public.

Each American who fell on September 11, 2001 had a face, a name, and a story. I would encourage everyone to visit this site and get to know the stories of these fallen heroes. However, New York does not have a monopoly on grief. Indeed, to date 2,344 Americans have died in Iraq. In the cold calculus of grieving American families, the separation between the events of September 11, 2001 and the War in Iraq is only 652 American lives, and it is shrinking everyday. Indeed, it is unimaginable given our current posture that the death toll in Iraq will not surpass the death toll of September 11, 2001, and I fear that day is fast approaching.

In his speech the President continued to push the idea that he was fighting the terrorists in Iraq so that there would never be another attack of the magnitude of September 11, 2001 on American soil. However this rational is rebutted by one obvious fact, the number of Americans killed in Iraq is quickly approaching the number of Americans killed on September 11, 2001. This leads me to question: "Does where an American die determine his or her value?" Specifically, are the Americans that are dying in Iraq any less deserving of the consideration paid to those who died on September 11, 2001? Maybe it is just me, but I view every life as a gift. More importantly, I do not condone the use of the American military as a human shield against an unsubstantiated threat.

We must remember: each of the Americans serving in Iraq has a face, a name, and a story just like those that died on September 11, 2001. To date 2,344 incredible stories have come to an abrupt and tragic end; 2,344 stories that have been left for others to tell. These brave Americans have given the ultimate sacrifice, and sadly it seems as though the number of stories left for others to tell will continue to rise.

For me the war in Iraq lacked any benefit because as the President admitted there was "no evidence that Sadam Hussein was connected to September 11" and no weapons of mass destruction were found. No cost can be justified.

So when will the cost of Iraq outweigh the benefit to you?

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