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Sunday, May 19, 2024

The war in Iraq is completely f-ing absurd. Four short of 4,000 Americans have died - f-ing horrible. This war is f-ing useless.

It's the Alligator's policy to bleep out what some might consider to be offensive words, but the real disturbing part of what I just said has to do with a different "f"-bomb.

Four thousand: 100 times 40, 400 times 10, four things occurring 1,000 times. That's probably more students than were in your entire high school.

If you took all the English majors and the finance majors and the mechanical engineering students at UF, you'd still be a few hundred short.

If they dedicated one minute to the memory of every soldier, it would take 66.6 hours - more than 2 1/2 days. Four thousand dead in five years, and billions and billions of dollars spent.

Five-thousand dollars a second - a second. $5,000 … another $5,000 … and another. Stop. Put it toward domestic projects. Save the children.

Heck, give it to someone who doesn't even deserve it. Put it in your pocket. It's yours.

I used to think I was "anti-war." But then I realized that was about as common sense a declaration as being anti-poison, anti-cancer or anti-getting-kicked-in-the-face.

No argument need apply. Simply put: "Duh."

Wait. There could be a justifiable reason for fighting: freedom, democracy, justice?

But a country's aggression can't claim charity or self-defense. Still, "winning" in Iraq is a logistical impossibility.

We're a police force, and there's nothing for us to win except a couple hundred thousand plane tickets home.

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Iraq is not a war of land - it's a land of war. And Americans not killed in action still feel the effects. At least 29,320 troops have been wounded as of March 1.

I found this statistic five links deep in the Department of Defense Web site, from "Press" to "Publications" and finally under the innocuous title of "Personnel Statistics." More than 3,000 have suffered traumatic brain injuries.

In January, Fox News reported as many as 121 active-duty soldiers in the Army committed suicide in 2007, about 35 while still in Iraq. The internal Army report with this number also revealed an increase in the number of attempted suicides and self-injuries - some 2,100 in 2007 compared to less than 1,500 the previous year and about 350 in 2002.

Five years.

Kindergarten students have never lived in a world where their country wasn't at war in the Middle East. Defense Department estimates put Iraqi civilian deaths anywhere from some 100,000 to more than 1 million since 2003.

Last week in Washington, D.C., hundreds of veterans gathered before Congress to describe the atrocities they committed and witnessed in Iraq as part of an event called Winter Soldier. Why wasn't the rest of Washington listening? Or why aren't we at least yelling from the top of our lungs?

Why was I comfortable, back at home for break and playing Xbox - a pixilated "hero" trying to kill some 8-year-old gamers via the Internet? And what does it say that I got bored after a half hour?

Five years ago, El Presidente put pen to paper and gave us death and destruction. In the meantime, we've had distraction: economy, election, et cetera. But why wasn't the president signing a bill to bring the troops home?

Sure, there are things I can do and have done - protest, petition, vote - but it doesn't feel sufficient. Change seems to exist only in my imagination.

Vincent Massaro is a journalism senior. His column appears on Mondays.

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