Wednesday, October 11, 2006

When You Close Your Eyes

Tonight in your bed, all safe, warm, and snuggly, with your loyal dog(s) or cat(s) or ferret(s) curled up at your feet, close your eyes and try to imagine. . .the 655,000 Iraqis who have died since the US invasion in 2003 who would not have died otherwise. This is according to a new estimate by a team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists. Try to wrap your mind around that number, a number that surpasses previous estimates by hundreds of thousands. (Read the Washington Post story on the report here.)



I am a dog, not a mathematician, so I can't debate the method by which the epidemiologists arrived at their numbers. My moms the English profs aren't much better at that sort of thing than I am, but still. . .655,000. . .people. . .dead who would not have died if we could have prevented the government of the United States from waging an unprovoked war against a country that did not have weapons of mass destruction, did not aid or abet the 9/11 attacks, and had been contained from attacking its neighbors for more than a decade.

Guilt is in a dog's emotional repertoire. When I've done something bad, I avoid looking my moms in the eyes or I walk in a big circle to stay away from the spot where I tinkled on the floor. And sometimes in my sleep, I'll tremble or make little woofing noises that make my moms think I am having a bad dream. Canine guilt doesn't penetrate that deeply, though. Usually when I'm restless in bed, I either have gas or am picturing myself racing along my trail on a glorious morning when the air is crisp and the leaves are a riot of fall color.

Which is a good thing, because otherwise tonight I might lie in bed and feel haunted by the faces of 655,000 dead strangers who were killed in my name. I might lie awake and stare at my hands and wonder how I will ever get rid of the blood. I might stare at the ceiling for hours and force myself to imagine one--just one--of the 655,000. She had a name, a home, foods she loved, friends who loved her, a set of beliefs, a set of skills, a family, a favorite thing, a pet peeve--or maybe a pet--and I bet she had one useless object she thought was beautiful whether anyone else did or not.

And now she is gone, because the United States of America lit a torch that turned her country into the very fires of Hell.

I am so glad that when I close my eyes tonight I will not have to see her eyes, but what will you see, my poor, sweet, guilty, human, American friend? What will you see--or try desperately not to see--when you close your eyes tonight?


  1. My dear sweet Roxie. Everyone in the country should read this post of yours before they go vote in early November. What has been done in our names is unspeakably terrible, horrible. We must work together to put a stop to all of this.

    And Rox, you never have to hide anything you've done from me. I love you, always.
    --Your Goose

  2. Anonymous12:49 PM EDT

    That comes to 600 people a day. Think someone might have noticed all those bodies piling up in the street if these numbers are accurate?

    Another example of nonsense being accepted as fact.


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