In Santa Barbara, California some veterans have created a memorial to the troops who have lost their lives in Iraq. They call it Arlington West and they put up the memorial each Sunday on the beach right by Stearns Wharf.
It’s a powerful and moving memorial no matter what your particular take on the war is. One of the veterans who was on duty yesterday was handing out postcards with information for veterans with post traumatic stress disorder. This is clearly a political statement, but it’s also a labor of love by veterans for others who have served their country and paid the ultimate price.
But for me, the most impactful part of this memorial was the right hand side, where they have put up cards with time based milestones (invasion, Sadaam topppled, free elections, etc). Take a look at this picture.
What you see is that so many of the deaths have come since the end of the military mission, even after a democratically elected government was established. It’s pretty clear that the invasion itself was not a particularly deadly affair for the US Military. The occupation on the other hand has been a massacre. I guess standing between two enemies who are trying to kill each other isn’t the safest place to be.