Wednesday, September 12, 2012


In a solemn ceremony in the US Capital today, following prayers, a moment of silence, and the playing of bagpipes, President Obama and members of congress began reading the names of the 1,455,590 Iraqi citizens killed so far during the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, the 4,801 US soldiers killed there, the 3,173 US-led coalition soldiers killed in Afghanistan, and the 12,008 known names of the estimated 20,000 Afghans civilians killed by our war against their country.

"As much as we grieve our own, those American citizens killed in the Twin Towers who we honored yesterday, their numbers pale in comparison to the victims of the military aggression we have carried out in their names," President Obama said after reading the first 2,737 names, the number he and each of 536 members of the house of representatives and the senate will read. In all, 1,467,131 names will be read.

House Majority Leader John Boehner followed the president. Before taking his turn Boehner told the estimated 1,200 members of the news media covering the ceremony that members of congress have spent weeks practicing the correct pronunciation of the mostly Arab names they will read. "We feel a special responsibility to get the names right," he said. "Each one of these people was an individual, with a family, a home, a complete life, a life that we, the American people, the congress and the president, ended. To honor them in this way is the least we can do."

Inside the capital building are several thousand Iraqis and Afghans, special guests of the president and congress, who are the latest group of people to have been flown to the US to receive free medical treatment for the injuries and disabilities they suffered as a result of the two wars. They are hearing the readings in person, while outside the capital a crowd estimated at between 25 and 30 million is hearing the names over loudspeakers. Real time TV ratings are showing a US television audience for the reading of the names of just over 250 million.

Allowing for five seconds to read each name it will take 2,037 hours to read all the names, or 84 days, or 12 weeks, or 3 months. At roughly the same pace it took 3 hours and 25 minutes to read the names of the 2,753 victims of 9/11.



  1. Felicity Arbuthnot linked me to this post Bubba. Deep irony is most appropriate here for many of us. But the soulless cannot sense a scintilla of it. All they might feel is the penetrating cold of an island off Terra Del Fuego. There tapes will play of children crying in great pain and misery as the dressings on the wounds caused by the coalition of the willing were removed without analgesia and without saline for soaking them.

    There will be continuous celebration in church and synagogue. But their Gods will not hear their pleas for relief. When they pass from this still beautiful world,

    "The remains of the deceased detainee are being treated with respect for ........ culture and traditions."


  2. dawoud's comment speaks for me. Thank you for this searing piece of irony. Shortly before the invasion, I stood by the bed of ten year old Mohammed, suffering from a virulent leukaemia, cancer treatments were denied by the US-UK driven UN sanctions committee. His parents were standing helplessly, his mother's tears dripping on to her crisp abaya. I asked his father, if he could send a message to Bush and Blair, what would it be. "Please', he said "Just ask them, do they want all our children as child sacrifices?" August 1990 to now has given the world the answer.

  3. I hope they have a lot of nurses on hand to care for all the Vietnamese with birth defects who will be attending this ceremony.

  4. Last weekend (Sept 16th) BBC swiftly reported the deaths of 10 Afghan civilians (8 women and 2 children, reports vary) in a NATO air strike. The names of these poor souls were never reported and perhaps will never be known. However the main news was about the presence of Prince Harry who was at Camp "Bastion" when it came under attack by the "Taliban". "He was never in any danger" Major Martyn Crighton is quoted as saying. "He was moved under guard to a secure location". Not so the four US soldiers who died, nor the innocent victims of the NATO air strike. All the talk now is how best to protect NATO and British troops from the very people that are supposed to be on their side. Protecting innocent Afghans and Pakistanis from NATO drones and rockets is not the issue as far as NATO or for that matter the BBC.