Friday, March 17, 2006

Got a Second? The Iraq Invasion Anniversary

With little fanfare – well actually none insofar as I could tell – Representative Joseph Knollenberg (MI) introduced House Resolution 698 on February 28. The bottom line – the “Resolved” paragraph – reads:

“That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that all Americans should participate in a moment of silence to reflect upon the service and sacrifice of members of the United States Armed Forces both at home and abroad.”

The date and the time recommended in HRES 698 for the moment of silence is 12:00 noon on March 26, which would be designated “National Support the Troops Day.”

On March 2, 12 other Members of the Michigan House delegation – Republicans and Democrats – signed on as co-sponsors.

The measure rested in committee until March 14 when Virginia’s Thelma Drake signed on as a co-sponsor and, under a suspension of House rules, brought the proposal before the whole House. The resolution was considered and passed by the House on a voice vote in 18 minutes.

I don’t know any American who doesn’t “support the troops.” Sometimes the support is quite concrete, sometimes quite discreet, sometimes completely internalized. “Support” can be anything from visiting deployed troops (e.g., executive branch or congressional delegations) to keeping equipment and supplies (food, water, other necessities, and “extras”) moving to visiting those in hospitals to writing letters and emails to “holding in the light” all who are in danger to simply wanting the fighting to end and for everyone to return home safely.

While I understand the intent of HRES 698, I wonder what happened to HRES 698 ½ and HRES 698 ¾, those “resolutions” that ought to say, respectively:

“Resolved: That it is the sense of the House of Representatives
that all Americans should participate in a moment of silence to
reflect upon the sacrifices and hardships of the Iraqi people.”

“Resolved: That it is the sense of the House of Representatives
that all Americans should participate in a moment of silence to
reflect upon the service and sacrifice of allied military personnel.”

I also wonder why only a moment? In Britain, I have witnessed ceremonies honoring past and present armed forces personnel where five minutes were spent in silent remembrance – that’s minutes, not seconds.

Surely the U.S. public can spare a minute this Sunday (March 19) and another minute the next (March 26) to reflect on the wars and on all those touched by the wars:

-the estimated 400,000-500,000 who have served in the Persian Gulf war zones – an average of .0003-.0002 seconds of thought about each person; or

-the 30,000 to 80,000 Iraqi dead – an average of .004-.0015 seconds of thought about each; or

-the more than 20,000 U.S. injured or wounded – an average of .006 seconds per; or

-the nearly 2,600 U.S. military dead – an average of .046 seconds; or

-the 280 coalition military dead – an average of .428.

Compared to what the President asked of the country – go shopping – 120 seconds is not much of a sacrifice.

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