Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Human Cost of War

As I drove to town this morning I was stunned to see a display of white and red flags completely covering the lawns of Southern Oregon University. They stretched out for blocks! A small sign said Iraq War Memorial.

I stopped and talked with some folks at a table on one of the lawns. The exhibit is traveling throughout the country to demonstrate, visually, the cost in lives in Iraq since 2003. Each red flag stands for 5 American deaths. Each white flag stands for at least 5 Iraqi civilian deaths due to the conflict.
The project is called the Iraq Body Count Exhibit. I plan to come over on Saturday to help take down flags. They will then travel to Sacramento where they need 100 volunteers to place flags in front of the California State Capitol for Memorial Day.

Big numbers like 86,000 sort of skid off my brain, but seeing the flags, rows and rows and rows and rows is just heartbreaking.

To learn more about this exhibit or make a donation to help keep it moving, visit

Edit: After I wrote this post I found the brochure from the Iraq Body Count Exhibit. They have the number of Iraqi deaths at 655,000 and American deaths 4050. The figure of 86,000 above came from a different site (also informative) They have, obviously, used different sources for determining the number of Iraqi civilian deaths. Whatever the number, it's too many.


lilalia said...

How poignant that must be. How tragic. Thank you for putting up the photos and description of the site.

Judith Shapiro said...

heartbreaking indeed. i am so glad to know of this exhibit. thanks.

Lydia said...

Stunning, I guess so! What a contrast the pink blossoms and the white/red flags make. Great shots and an informative post.
(Thanks for your comments. The time with your folks sounds wonderful! What a feast of life to still have both of them.)

Wendy said...

Heartbreaking is right. I don't agree with war at all. Fighting and killing is never the answer.
I remember reading in the paper of an man from California who sent some (don't remember how many) surf boards over to the middle east. He had been visiting there and the people were intrigued with his surf board. So he sent a bunch over for them. Much better to play than fight.

Thanks for the comments on my blog, Shary. Don't know why you couldn't see the pic. But, hey strange things happen in bloggerville.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. It's such a shocking perspective.

merrymary said...

Thank you for this post. I checked out the link and I do hope to see that this keeps traveling although i didn't see anything after this memorial day in Sac. Very effecting!