The Nation -- Because so many Fort Lewis soliders are being killed in Iraq, the Washington State army base says it will no longer hold individual memorial services. Fort Lewis will now hold one memorial a month for all dead soldiers. In May, the bloodiest month of the occupation in 2007, 19 Fort Lewis soldiers were killed --more than at any time during this war, About 10,000 of the base's troops are now in Iraq--the most since the 2003 invasion.
With this order, the base commanders appear to be signaling that they foresee bloodier, deadlier times ahead--as the "surge" takes more lives. And though they may wish to diminish the pain and grief of a hard hit community, collective memorials will also shield people from the reality of the death and destruction wrought by this war and occupation. It is also a policy that reminds of other attempts to suppress the reality of this war. This Administration, for example, has gone out of its way to prohibit evidence of dead soldiers returning home--by prohibiting photographs of coffins as they arrived back in the US. The President and Vice-President have carefully avoided attending any of the more than 3,400 funerals that are the tragic fabric of this war. It is worth remembering that it was the grief and pain at the scores of funerals they attended that moved Republican Walter Jones of North Carolina and Democrat John Murtha of Pennsylvania to oppose this war.
Every day we delay leaving Iraq costs only more American and Iraqi lives.