Memorial Wall for Iraq War’s Dead and Wounded


In an emotional and heartfelt ceremony followed by the playing of taps, Veterans for Peace unveiled a graphic, oversized "Iraq War Memorial Wall" next to the Vietnam War Memorial at the California State Capitol on March 21.

The "wall," the brainchild of Pat Driscoll, founder of the Sacramento chapter of the organization, commemorates the thousands of lives lost and tens of thousands injured in the Iraq War. This wall and ceremony is the first of its kind in the country, although other Veterans for Peace (VFP) chapters have done different events exposing the cost of Bush’s war, including displays of empty boots and white crosses representing the U.S. military dead.

Driscoll’s display, made of poster-board panels in black wooden frames, features the names–and photos where available–of service men and women who have died in Iraq. On the day of the unveiling, 582 U.S. soldiers had already died there.

Also listed are the U.S. military wounded, 3,300, the estimated injured, 7,000 to 10,000, and U.S. military suicides in Iraq, 21. The "wall" also lists Iraqi civilian deaths as 8,769 to 10,618 and civilian injured as 43,500 to 53,090.

Missing from the display–because of lack of good data -was an estimate of Iraq military deaths. However, Driscoll said his best estimate of the number of military dead was around 10,000.

"It’s a sad day that reminds me of my own service during the Vietnam War–and the lies that war was built upon," said Driscoll at the brief ceremony attended by over 40 members of VFP and supporters. "The Iraq War was also based on lies. Truth is the first casualty of war and the way we best honor the sacrifice of the troops is by honoring the truth."

Driscoll said the Iraq Memorial Wall, after being displayed at the capitol, will be brought to other cities and towns in the Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada foothills.

"The wall shows the true cost of war," said Driscoll. "As veterans, we commit ourself to the truth and doing something about it. When it’s time to vote, remember to cross the line between war and peace over to the side of peace."

Dennis Christine, another member of VFP who left the Air National Guard last year after 20 years of service, pointed out how there was a huge influx of young people into the military after the 9-11 attacks. "In my unit, many people signed up for the best intentions," she explained. "Now they’re being used in an unjust war that is stirring up the forces that attacked the U.S. in the first place. The Bush administration policy in Iraq is symptomatic of a foreign policy that for a long time has given rise to terrorism."

Christine and Driscoll, both of whom actively oppose U.S. intervention in Iraq, said that the war amounts to an effort to take the natural resources (oil) out of the country on the "pretext of getting a bad guy out of power." She noted that there are "at least a dozen tin pot dictators oppressing and murdering their people in countries throughout the world," but the Bush administration does not appear to be worried about them.

George Main, president of the VFP chapter, said the cost of the Iraq War is even higher when you consider the 7 G.I.s who committed suicide after coming back to the U.S. from the Iraq war. In addition, 478 were shipped back to the states as "Section 8"–mentally ill cases.

"They are basically damaged goods and receive no support from the Bush administration when they return," Main said.

Driscoll noted that it took 13 years from the end of the Vietnam War for a veterans memorial to rise in Capitol Park, but it only took one year since the latest U.S. invasion of Iraq for a group to display a memorial in the park. Referring to the demonstrations held throughout the world on the previous day and over the past year, Driscoll said, "It’s great to see this much resistance throughout the world in one year."

Driscoll, Christine and Main represent the true patriots in our country–veterans and their supporters who have the courage to stand up to the Bush military machine. I greatly encourage everybody to spread the word about this unique memorial wall and to request that it be displayed in their community!

For more information about the Veterans for Peace, Sacramento Chapter, call (916) 320-6430 or (916) 996-9170.

DAN BACHER can be reached at: danielbacher@hotmail.com

October 07, 2015
Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Witness to a Troubled Saint-Making: Junipero Serra and the Theology of Failure
Luciana Bohne
The Double-Speak of American Civilian Humanitarianism
Joyce Nelson
TPP: Big Pharma’s Big Deal
Jonathan Cook
Israel Lights the Touchpaper at Al-Aqsa Again
Joseph Natoli
The Wreckage in Sight We Fail To See
Piero Gleijeses
Jorge Risquet: the Brother I Never Had
Andrew Stewart
Do #BlackLivesMatter to Dunkin’ Donuts?
Rajesh Makwana
#GlobalGoals? The Truth About Poverty and How to Address It
Joan Berezin
Elections 2016: A New Opening or Business as Usual?
Dave Randle
The Man Who Sold Motown to the World
Adam Bartley
“Shameless”: Hillary Clinton, Human Rights and China
Binoy Kampmark
The Killings in Oregon: Business as Usual
Harvey Wasserman
Why Bernie and Hillary Must Address America’s Dying Nuke Reactors
Tom H. Hastings
Unarmed Cops and a Can-do Culture of Nonviolence
October 06, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Afghanistan, the Terrible War: Money for Nothing
Mike Whitney
How Putin will Win in Syria
Paul Street
Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
Paul Craig Roberts
American Vice
Kathy Kelly
Bombing Hospitals: 22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Ron Jacobs
Patti Smith and the Beauty of Memory
David Macaray
Coal Executive Finally Brought Up on Criminal Charges
Norman Pollack
Cold War Rhetoric: The Kept Intelligentsia
Cecil Brown
The Firing This Time: School Shootings and James Baldwin’s Final Message
Roger Annis
The Canadian Election and the Global Climate Crisis
W. T. Whitney
Why is the US Government Persecuting IFCO/Pastors for Peace Humanitarian Organization?
Jesse Jackson
Alabama’s New Jim Crow Far From Subtle
Joe Ramsey
After Umpqua: Does America Have a Gun Problem….or a Dying Capitalist Empire Problem?
Murray Dobbin
Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over
October 05, 2015
Michael Hudson
Parasites in the Body Economic: the Disasters of Neoliberalism
Patrick Cockburn
Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War
Kristine Mattis
GMO Propaganda and the Sociology of Science
Heidi Morrison
Well-Intentioned Islamophobia
Ralph Nader
Monsanto and Its Promoters vs. Freedom of Information
Arturo Desimone
Retro-Colonialism: the Exportation of Austerity as War By Other Means
Robert M. Nelson
Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster
Matt Peppe
Misrepresentation of the Colombian Conflict
Barbara Dorris
Pope Sympathizes More with Bishops, Less with Victims
Clancy Sigal
I’m Not a Scientologist, But I Wish TV Shrinks Would Just Shut Up
Chris Zinda
Get Outta’ Dodge: the State of the Constitution Down in Dixie
Eileen Applebaum
Family and Medical Leave Insurance, Not Tax Credits, Will Help Families
Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure
“Boxing on Paper” for the Nation of Islam, Black Nationalism, and the Black Athlete: a Review of “The Complete Muhammad Ali” by Ishmael Reed
Lawrence Ware
Michael Vick and the Hypocrisy of NFL Fans
Gary Corseri - Charles Orloski
Poets’ Talk: Pope Francis, Masilo, Marc Beaudin, et. al.
Weekend Edition
October 2-4, 2015
Henry Giroux
Murder, USA: Why Politicians Have Blood on Their Hands
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Lightning War in Syria