Sunday, January 14, 2007

Reciting Iraq War toll; writing Sen. Smith

Ruth Atkins, who is organizing the peace vigils in Hillsdale, has given me the "Iraq Coalition Casualties" web site that lists the names of Americans killed in Iraq.

The site provides sobering statistics about the killed and wounded, from all quarters in this war.

A link on the site lists fatalities by state.

So far 47 Oregonians have died. Count to 47 slowly, take a breath, in and out for each number...then read each name, with deliberation, breathe in and out for a life lost.

Those at future Hillsdale vigils plan to do it again and again.

Tragically, the list will grow until our protestations here and around the country succeed.

A key legislator to touch with the message is Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith, who is up for re-election next year. He's no Oregon maverick of the Wayne Morse tradition, but he is making a mark.

We must not let Smith, a Republican, shy away from the position he took on the Senate floor last month when he called the Bush Administration's Iraq policies "absurd" and perhaps "criminal." He needs to expand his new awareness to include a new energy policy, one that allows us to cut our oil umbilical to the Middle East...and to let its people go.

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