U.S. MILITARY DEATH TOLL IN IRAQ WAR HITS 2,000
October 25, 2005
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. military death toll in the 2 1/2 year Iraq war reached the milestone of 2,000 on Tuesday with the announcement by the Pentagon of a U.S. soldier who died at a hospital in Texas over the weekend.
The Pentagon said Staff Sgt. George Alexander Jr., 34, of Killeen, Texas, died at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, last Saturday of injuries sustained on October 17 in Samarra, Iraq, when a roadside bomb planted by insurgents detonated near his Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
In the Iraq war, which began in March 2003, more than 15,000 U.S. troops also have been wounded in action.
WHAT: Iraq war vigil marking 2,000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq
WHEN: Wednesday, October 26, at 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: First United Methodist Church, 423 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, WA
[From Mike Collier]
Location: First United Methodist Church
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Organizer's Name: Michael Collier
To sign up for the event:
Vigil outside at First United Methodist Church, 423 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma. Parking available in Tacoma General Hospital lots. Bring candles and signs. Restroom available. Music, coffee, and hot drinks provided.
GRIM MILESTONE FOR U.S. MILITARY IN IRAQ
By Robert H. Reid
October 25, 2005
BAGHDAD -- A U.S. Army sergeant died of wounds suffered in Iraq, the Pentagon announced Tuesday. The death - along with two others announced Tuesday - brought to 2,000 the number of U.S. military members who have died since the start of the Iraq conflict in 2003.
Staff Sgt. George T. Alexander, Jr., 34, of Killeen, Texas, died Saturday at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, of wounds suffered Oct. 17, when a bomb exploded near his vehicle in the central Iraqi city of Samarra, the Defense Department said.
The announcement was made after Iraqi election officials declared that voters had ratified the new constitution, which the United States hopes will boost the political process seen as key to ending the insurgency and enabling the U.S. and its coalition partners to bring their troops home.
The grim milestone was reached at a time of growing disenchantment over the war among the American public toward a conflict that was launched to punish Iraqi President Saddam Hussein for his alleged weapons of mass destruction. None were ever found.
Earlier Tuesday, President Bush warned Americans to brace for more casualties because the U.S. military faces more challenges before it can restore stability to Iraq.
"The terrorists are as brutal an enemy as we have ever faced, unconstrained by any notion of common humanity and by the rules of warfare," Bush told the Joint Armed Forces Officers' Wives' luncheon at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington. "No one should underestimate the difficulties ahead."
Earlier Tuesday, the military announced the deaths of two Marines in fighting with insurgents last week west of Baghdad. The Marines' names were not immediately made public.
The spokesman for the American-led multinational force called on news organizations not to look at the 2,000 death as a milestone in the conflict. Lt. Col. Steve Boylan described 2,000 figure as an "artificial mark on the wall."
"I ask that when you report on the events, take a moment to think about the effects on the families and those serving in Iraq," Boylan said in an e-mail. "The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives."
Boylan said the 2,000th service member to die in Iraq "is just as important as the first that died and will be just as important as the last to die in this war against terrorism and to ensure freedom for a people who have not known freedom in over two generations."
He complained that the true milestones of the war were "rarely covered or discussed," and said they included the troops who had volunteered to serve, the families of those that have been deployed for a year or more, and the Iraqis who have sought at great risk to restore normalcy to their country.
Boylan said they included Iraqis who sought to join the security forces and had became daily targets for insurgent attacks at recruiting centers, those who turned out to vote in the constitutional referendum, and those who chose to risk their lives by joining the government.
"Celebrate the daily milestones, the accomplishments they have secured and look to the future of a free and democratic Iraq and to the day that all of our troops return home to the heroes welcome they deserve," Boylan wrote.