Michael Prysner is a veteran of the war in Iraq and an anti-war activist
As the month of August came to an end, it seemed that something may happen in Afghanistan for the first time in 2010: that the month would not surpass the previous year’s record-setting number of U.S. troop fatalities.
By Aug. 27, only 31 U.S. troops had been killed in combat; 20 shy of the 51 deaths in August 2009.
It was during the last week of August 2010, that the Obama administration began prodding us to cheer the “end” of the Iraq war—a key campaign promise that helped propel Obama to the presidency, after people in the United States turned against the senseless, constant death of U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians.
But while the White House pumped out cheery statements, photo-ops, and a dramatic “exit” with manufactured fanfare, the blood started flowing much more heavily from Afghanistan.
On Aug. 27, four U.S. troops were killed. Three of the dead were only 20-years-old.
Between Aug. 28 and 29, eight more troops lost their lives, bringing the month’s total to 43 deaths—still short of the previous year.
Then, in one of the deadliest days of the war, seven U.S. troops were killed on Aug 30. Six more died on Aug. 31 to close out the month.
What looked like a month that would end with fewer deaths ended with a flurry of violence that again broke the previous year’s record. Fifty-six U.S. troops died in Afghanistan in August 2010.
For eight consecutive months, U.S. deaths in Afghanistan have shattered the number of deaths for the same month in every previous year of the war.
And with 25 fatalities in just the last five days of the month, yet another milestone of death and destruction in Afghanistan was reached: 2010 is now the deadliest year of the entire war. A total of 326 U.S. troops are dead so far, up from 317 in 2009. Many more bloody months lie ahead.
Nothing changes for GIs
As veterans and active duty members of the U.S. military, the escalating death in Afghanistan should make it quite obvious why we are not celebrating the supposed “end” of the war in Iraq. We will still be sent on deployment after deployment to a bloody battlefield, for an indefinite number of years, in a war we have no reason to fight; with the same inadequate care when we return. Our children will continue to grow up without us while we are gone on repeated year-long deployments.
The war in Iraq is not over. It was just been re-branded by the White House and Pentagon. We will still be abusively deployed to Iraq while suffering from PTSD and TBI, and will continue to be shot and blown-up there.
The re-positioning of U.S. forces in the region means that most of us will be taken from the criminal war in Iraq, where U.S. casualties have dropped, to the criminal war in Afghanistan, where U.S. casualties are higher than ever.
This is why March Forward! will continue to fight, both inside and out of the military, for the complete and immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. This is why GIs questioning their deployment to these senseless wars should refuse their orders and join the ranks of the anti-war movement. And this is why all the progressive people who have fought shoulder-to-shoulder with us throughout the years should continue to struggle.
The Obama administration has not changed the United State's warpath. It has pumped more money into the Pentagon than ever before. The needs of big capital still drive U.S. foreign policy. The blood continues to flow from innocent civilians and U.S. troops. Education, jobs, and social services continue to be slashed to fund the further extension of U.S. military might. Escalating threats against other countries reveal plans for future imperial wars of aggression.
The U.S. government is desperate for anger over the wars to subside because they know that we have the power to stand in the way of the crimes they commit to reap super-profits for a few.
They tried to quell that anger by forcing down our throats the false “end” of a war that should have never started.
But how could any of us feel any relief over a sudden, and not decisively permanent, lull in U.S. fatalities, when the backdrop to Obama’s address from the Oval Office was a tidal wave of blood from Afghanistan?
The longest war in U.S. history is now in its deadliest year—and the generals tell us it will only get worse. Just like the war in Iraq, it is a war based on lies and deception. We have no reason to fight this war, and every reason to fight against it.
The “end” of the war in Iraq should fall on deaf ears—because the colonial-type war on the entire region is escalating and expanding. We are paying with our blood, our limbs, our loved ones and our money.
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