Al Jazeera & Agenceis – 2007-01-01 12:33:46
(December 31, 2006) — The US military death toll in Iraq has reached 3,000, an unwelcome milestone for George Bush, the US president, who is searching for a way to turn around the unpopular war even if it means sending more troops.
The website, www.icasualties.org, on Sunday listed the death of Dustin Donica, 22, on December 28 as previously unreported and said his death, together with that of an unidentified soldier killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad on Saturday, brought the toll to 3,000.
The mark was reached as Bush weighs options, including a short-term increase in forces of up to 30,000, to help control the deteriorating situation in Iraq where daily violence plagues Baghdad and much of the country.
Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Ballesteros, the Pentagon spokesman, said: “Every loss is regretted and there is no special significance to the overall number of casualties.”
On Sunday, Bush, at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, mourned the death of the 3,000th US soldier, the White House said, but cautioned war-weary Americans that no quick end was in sight to the fight against terrorism.
The execution of Saddam Hussein has done little to help stem the sectarian violence tearing the country apart. Armed groups killed at least seven people, including three Iraqi soldiers, a day after his hanging.
On Sunday, a group of armed in vehicles attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint in Hawijah, west of the northern oil hub of Kirkuk, killing three soldiers and wounding another two, local police said.
Four more people were killed in several attacks in Baghdad. Two were killed and another two wounded when an armed group fired a Katyusha rocket in the capital’s northwest Shia district of Kadhimiyah where Saddam was hanged.
Another Iraqi was killed and six others wounded in a car bomb attack in the northern neighbourhood of Hurriyah, a day after 37 people died in a triple car bomb attack in the same area.
In yet another attack, one person was killed and five wounded in a car bomb explosion in the Shawaqha neighbourhood in Baghdad. On Saturday, car bombs killed more than 70 people in Baghdad and near Najaf, in areas populated by Shia Muslims.
3,000 LIGHTS FOR 3,000 KILLED IN IRAQ
(December 31, 2006) — On New Year’s Eve, from 6 to 7 pm, dozens of Toledoans will mark the terrible total of U.S. deaths in Iraq by silently holding 3,000 lights on Summit St., between Jefferson and Madison.
“We hold three thousand lights to give that number a visual impact but how can anyone visualize tens of thousands of wounded and the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis?” asked Mary Anthony, a Toledo member of Military Families Speak Out. Her son will return to Iraq in February for his second deployment.
Anthony added that “This New Year, the NW Ohio Peace Coalition and peace activists all over the country resolve to escalate our demands on Congress to end the occupation of Iraq and bring the troops home now. And that means Congress must cut off funding for this war.”
When Representative Marcy Kaptur’s returns to her Toledo office, members of NWOPC will take the 3,000 lights to her asking that she take them to Washington with this message: “This is what 3,000 looks like. Bring our troops home. Stop the deaths. Stop the funding!”
The NW Ohio Peace Coalition has been holding demonstrations against war since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. They currently sponsor an anti-war billboard on I-75 at the Washington Street exit and sponsor the Arlington Midwest project, a display of tombstones representing every military death in the Afghanistan and Iraq occupations.
• Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition. Contact: Peggy Daly-Masternak, (419) 536-2609