Right now it’s a beautiful Sunday evening, and the weather here in the Midwest couldn’t be finer. And there are kids in the park playing baseball and riding their bikes through the alley and yelling to one another, and my neighbor just got home with what looks like 50 shopping bags. And somewhere not too far away, the world is burning down.
I don’t care anymore who was right and who was wrong a year and a half ago, I don’t care if you think the troops are willing executioners or dupes or simply good people trying to do the right thing who got stuck in a fucked up situation. What matters is that you’re thinking about them, and about the cost of this war, and how hard you want to work to bring it to an end. Whatever end.
All this talk about the 1000th KIA … that person deserves no more, no less honor than the 999 killed before him or her. But people attach an arbitrary importance to round numbers, and we’re edging horribly, horribly closer to that number, that terrible benchmark, each and every day. And in the stores I go to, the places I work, the friends I talk to, nobody’s talking about that awful milestone, and how close it is, and what that means.
When it comes (and I hope it never does, I hope today’s casualties were the last, I hope and pray with all my lapsed Catholic heart, but I do not foolishly expect them to be), I want people to do something simple and small to show the troops we are thinking of them. To show the politicians we are paying attention to the consequences of their actions, all the consequences. There will come a day when the number reaches 1,000, and it will be soon.
At the end of that day, at nightfall, put a candle in your front window and light it. For my little cousin, who I pray every day will not be sent over there, for Navy Wife who used to post over at Atrios about her husband serving overseas, for all the people who post at Little Green Footballs with the names of their units, for everybody stateside who hasn’t had to go anywhere yet, and for the men and women still serving in Iraq. If you supported the war, if you opposed it. If you love George W. Bush, or hate him. If you’re in a red state or a blue state. If you pray, or don’t pray. I don’t care. Just show that you know what the hell is going on right now.
Light a candle. Hold up a flashlight for a while. Send a message. Whatever you think that message should be. Honor. Protest. Whatever. Just … shed some light on this terrible thing, and hope it shows everybody the way home.