4000 Deaths ~ 170 in Florida

Last year on this day, we all had hoped that we would not be gathering again. After 5 years of the War in Iraq, we have now arrived at the sad milestone of 4000 American soldiers killed in Iraq. Regretfully, the time has now come to mourn and share our heartfelt sorrow at this agonizing loss to our nation and our people once again.

Many CODEPINK chapters will host memorial vigilS this Monday, March 24.
For more information about vigils in your area, contact these coordinators:
GAINESVILLE ~ jacque@codepinkalert.org

ORLANDO ~ www.codepinkorlando.blogspot.com or email codepinkorlando@gmail.com

SARASOTA ~ bellaespana@verizon.net and/or lcmitch78@yahoo.com

SOUTH FL WPB ~ spiderhill@usa.net
The vigil will be at the Mall at Wellington Green, 7:00pm Corner of West Forest Hill Blvd and 441, Wellington, FL the evening after the PB Post announces the 4000th death

SW FL Ft MYERS ~ hrauen@comcast.net
TALLAHASSEE ~ codepinktally@yahoo.com
TAMPA BAY ~ codepinktampabay@yahoo.com and/or tarotlaydee@gmail.com
UCF University of Central Florida ~ xofashionkillaxo@aol.com
VOLUSIA/FLAGLER ~ RSVP: cassydoan@aol.com

Please bring flowers, candles and signs. You are also welcome to bring any other items or props to this vigil. Some cities are doing chalkings of the bodies with the numbers of the US and Iraqi casualties on the sidewalks outside their congressional offices. Some women are dressing in black and wailing in the streets. Some are wearing black armbands with the number 4000, some will be wearing pink tape with the number 4000, some are marching and closing down intersections to draw attention to this travesty and some will be reliving the day they were informed that their loved one was dead.

Regretfully, 4,000 is just the tip of the iceberg. According to CBS, we currently have 120 veterans committing suicide every week or an average of 17 every day. One third of our soldiers have reported to being raped or had an attempted rape during their service. Over 40,000 Iraq veterans have returned home with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, loss of limbs and/or severe head trauma. Their families now bear a heavy burden and are suffering from physical and mental abuse, loss of their homes, jobs and loved ones.

Nobel Laureate Stephen Stiglitz of Columbia and Harvard University public finance Professor Laura Bilmes estimate War costs to be 3 trillion now and the service (interest) on the debt alone will amount to $900 billion. Gas, Bread, Milk and eggs have risen to all time highs in our country and the dollar is pitiful in the world markets. It is not going to get any better, any time soon. In fact, most experts are predicting even worse economic times to come.

Yet the national media has all but ignored the peace movement and entirely ignored testimonies last week of the Iraq veterans who spoke at Winter Soldier. The Washington Post only covered this event in the local section of their paper and none of the major television stations even bothered to show up to hear OUR veterans speak! Testimony by Vets at WINTER SOLDIER: http://ivaw.org/wintersoldier/testimony/video

We do not know accurately how many lives have been devastated in Iraq but the chaos and constant trauma has left no one untouched or unaffected. It's possible that over a million have now died and we know that millions more have been displaced and/or had their daily lives destroyed. I hope that YOU will hear this call to action and let your voices be heard.

5YearsofWar.com Event in Tampa 3/19


Tampa streets right around the Federal Courthouse Building came alive this afternoon with the people that the US and our government controlled media can no longer consider "fringe." The majority of American people don't support the war, but they support the troops by insisting that our government bring them home from Iraq. After 5 years of war, it was again, time for this message had to be heard by our leaders since we are not seeing the real cost of this war on our TVs during the evening news and the War is largely ignored by our printed mainstream media.

This event began at 315PM this afternoon with several of the protesters who were veterans gathering together early to meet with the representative from Senator Bill Nelson's office. The meeting was scheduled to let the Senator know that his decisions and his votes do not represent the will of the people. The Senator's assistant was fully engaged in the conversation, took notes, asked questions and assured us that she would make sure that the Senator would know what we discussed and that the questions we had for him would be followed up.

People started to gather on the corner of Florida and Cass Streets, people from many peace groups, faiths, old, young, college aged, kids, families, even doggies for peace (one had a sweater embellished with ALL WE NEED IS LOVE!). "V" was there, a Bush-masked protestor with blood on his hands, Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, members of CAIR and the Bhuddist Peace Fellowship, Pax Christi, USF students, WMNF people, interviewers from the network affiliates, interviewees, and peaceful children, a few with signs they made themselves.

Some of the young people had sidewalk chalk and started drawing on the sidewalk in front of the federal courthouse, then moved across the street to chalk up a huge wall, the length of the city block with some very cool graffitti. There were singers and guitarists, chanting, drumming and people just communing with one another in peace, love and fellowship. Photographers dashed in and out of the crowd trying to get their perfect shots. Organizers chanted on the bullhorns and got the others chanting back and forth. At one count there were 350 people lined up on both sides of the street. The Federal Courthouse security officials watched from the top steps of the building and the police were on the corner observing everyone. As the offices in the downtown area closed for the day, the traffic increased to the rush hour surge, and many people waved and honked their approval of what we were doing as they drove by.

Some of the older children, covered in fake blood, laid down as if dead on the makeshift memorial of shoes that had been displayed on the sidewalk in front of the Courthouse to demonstrate the human cost of war, the death of the innocents. The real numbers of the dead and the real cost of war needs to be noted on this 5th year of the war! Citizens for a Legitimate Government states the following today in their latest report: "...no one knows how many Iraqis have been killed in the five years since the invasion. Estimates put the toll at between 100,000 and one million. 19 Mar 2008 The British polling firm Opinion Research Business (ORB) asked 1,720 Iraqi adults last summer if they had lost family members by violence since 2003; 16% had lost one, and 5% two. Using the 2005 census total of 4,050,597 households in Iraq, this suggests 1,220,580 deaths since the invasion."

That is not even counting the almost 4,000 American soldiers as of this writing and that is the count of those that died in battle, not the numbers of the wounded who died later, at hospitals in Germany or the US, and others that committed suicide later as a result of the emotional and mental trauma they suffered from or those that have suffered and later died from Depleted Uranium and it's disastrous effects. The numbers of the dead the mainstream media give us are skewed!

You and your family are paying dearly for this war! As of right now, this war has cost EACH AMERICAN $16,000! This is as if you opened your checkbook and wrote the check yourself! It is time that the truth about this war is told to the American people. If the media will not do it, WE WILL by becoming the media ourselves. Get up off of the couch, find a local peace group, get active, be engaged, write, call, email, your representatives, ask questions, find out their take on the issues, ask them why they are not representing YOU, after all YOU are paying them with your tax dollars. Spread the word about this unjust war to your family, friends, colleagues, and blog, email, join online forums and stay busy expressing your views to anyone that will listen. Never give up! We can DO THIS!