Sunday, October 21, 2018

Half Father, Half Soldier

by Lumiere (writer), NYC, October 07, 2009


4,349 US Soldiers Killed, 31,483 Seriously Wounded, 1 out of 5 Commit Suicide Daily

If you walk past  Marble church at the corner of 29th and 5th avenue in New York City, you  cannot help but notice  the thousands of colorful- gold, blue and green ribbons hanging from the iron gates. These ribbons are symbolic prayers for peace and are significant because they each represent American service people and Iraqis who have lost their lives in the current war. When I stroll past these ribbons, I intentionally extend out my hand to touch the soft fabric, and plastic tags of the soldiers names.

Soldiers; fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, sisters, mothers, wives, daughters, who shed their blood and gave their lives for our country. 

Today, on the eighth anniversary of the war in Iraq, their lives are not forgotten.

Every time I remember these fallen soldiers whose memories hang on, in the prayers of family and friends. I cannot help but think of my cousins family: her husband is a soldier and together they have a four year old son. I think about how happy they are together, how much love surrounds them and unites them as a family. I think about when my cousins son was a toddler and his daddy was stationed overseas as a soldier in Iraq, how he got to know his father via photographs and internet videos. Kisses and "I love you's" were exchanged between father and son, husband and wife, across great distances to keep the family together. And I think about when my cousins husband came home from the war, their young son did not quiet understand why daddy was no longer "living in the computer screen" but was live and in person.

Now, as her son approaches five years old in the next year and has become use to having his father around. His father, a soldier- will be sent away for a second tour of duty to Afghganistan.

Today, I will continue to pray for their family; for her husbands safety and for her strength. I pray for them to once again remain united as a family across great distances, through great trials and personal sacrifice. I pray for her husband to return home once again to the United States, safe and unharmed; both mentally and physically. I pray for their young son- who deserves to have a loving father return home to the United States to continue raising him into manhood. I pray for the day when war is no longer an option to resolve conflict. I pray for the day when war is not used as a solution to meet greedy energy demands and for the creation of corporate war profits at the expense and sacrifice of our community; our soldiers-the blood of our families and international reputation.

It might be easy to walk past the colorful gates of the church and move forward without considering the personal cost of human life made over the last eight years, but I can assure you, to the families whose loved ones names are attached to the gates of Marble church, they are much more than just ribbons. 

They are memories of loved ones lost to war.  

Take a moment to look closely at the photograph attached to this article, it is a photograph of my cousins son held by his father at his 2nd deployment ceremony, yesterday. Look into this little boys eyes and into your heart and tell me, what does war really accomplish?

There are thousands of children on both sides of the war, all worthy of an answer. 

Is it possible to bring our soldiers home, and give them a better resolution?

Give peace a chance.

Write your representatives Today.





A intimate look at the Corporations role in American capitalism and war.


PBS aired a documentary film titled Soldiers of Conscience which focuses on the ethical dilemma of being a soldier.  In the first few minutes of the film, the viewer is confronted with a harsh truth of war- "At some point, every soldier has to face the question: Will I be able to kill another human being in combat?" Until recent wars, most soldiers were not willing to kill; during WWII the military found that 75 percent of combat soldiers did not fire at the enemy when given the opportunity. The concept of being a conscientious objector was acknowledged in 1775 by the Continental Congress. When the U.S. had a military draft, conscientious objectors often cited religious beliefs. Quakers, for whom pacifism is a fundamental part of their religion, notably objected to combat when drafted, but would serve in other parts of the military to fulfill their obligation. Since the U.S. no longer has a draft, why would a pacifist volunteer to flight? The answer is, they wouldn't. But some soldiers have a "crystallization of conscience," which is military speak for having an epiphany that turns them against the war while enlisted. They can then file for conscientious objector status. The film takes the idea of conscientious objection one step further by profiling two soldiers (Joshua Casteel and Aidan Delgado) who formally became conscientious objectors, finished their tours of duty, and were then honorably discharged; and then, in contrast, features two other soldiers (Camilo Mejia and Kevin Benderman) who were not formally recognized as conscientious objectors, went AWOL, and were court-marshaled and imprisoned. 

 FILM #3

  A look at the "bigger picture" by Yann Arthus-Bertrand: 




  • Spent & Approved War-Spending - About $800 billion of US taxpayers' funds spent or approved for spending through mid-2009, including $76 billion requested by President Obama and approved by Congress.
  • U.S. Monthly Spending in Iraq - $12 billion in 2008
  • U.S. Spending per Second - $5,000 in 2008 (per Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on May 5, 2008)
  • Cost of deploying one U.S. soldier for one year in Iraq - $390,000 (Congressional Research Service)
  • Lost & Unaccounted for in Iraq - $9 billion of US taxpayers' money and $549.7 milion in spare parts shipped in 2004 to US contractors. Also, per ABC News, 190,000 guns, including 110,000 AK-47 rifles.
  • Missing - $1 billion in tractor trailers, tank recovery vehicles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other equipment and services provided to the Iraqi security forces. (Per CBS News on Dec 6, 2007.)
  • Mismanaged & Wasted in Iraq - $10 billion, per Feb 2007 Congressional hearings
  • Halliburton Overcharges Classified by the Pentagon as Unreasonable and Unsupported - $1.4 billion
  • Amount paid to KBR, a former Halliburton division, to supply U.S. military in Iraq with food, fuel, housing and other items - $20 billion
  • Portion of the $20 billion paid to KBR that Pentagon auditors deem "questionable or supportable" - $3.2 billion
  • Number of major U.S. bases in Iraq - 75 (The Nation/New York Times)


  • Troops in Iraq - Total 130,000 U.S. troops as of August 31, 2009. All other nations have withdrawn their troops.
  • U.S. Troop Casualties - 4,345 US troops; 98% male. 91% non-officers; 82% active duty, 11% National Guard; 74% Caucasian, 9% African-American, 11% Latino. 19% killed by non-hostile causes. 54% of US casualties were under 25 years old. 72% were from the US Army
  • Non-U.S. Troop Casualties - Total 316, with 179 from the UK
  • US Troops Wounded - 31,483 through August 31, 2009, 20% of which are serious brain or spinal injuries. (Total excludes psychological injuries.)
  • US Troops with Serious Mental Health Problems - 30% of US troops develop serious mental health problems within 3 to 4 months of returning home
  • US Military Helicopters Downed in Iraq - 72 total, at least 36 by enemy fire


  • Private Contractors in Iraq, Working in Support of US Army Troops - More than 180,000 in August 2007, per The Nation/LA Times.
  • Journalists killed - 139, 93 by murder and 46 by acts of war
  • Journalists killed by US Forces - 14
  • Iraqi Police and Soldiers Killed - 9,202
  • Iraqi Civilians Killed, Estimated - A UN issued report dated Sept 20, 2006 stating that Iraqi civilian casualties have been significantly under-reported. Casualties are reported at 50,000 to over 100,000, but may be much higher. Some informed estimates place Iraqi civilian casualities at over 600,000.
  • Iraqi Insurgents Killed, Roughly Estimated - 55,000
  • Non-Iraqi Contractors and Civilian Workers Killed - 565
  • Non-Iraqi Kidnapped - 306, including 57 killed, 147 released, 4 escaped, 6 rescued and 89 status unknown.


  • Iraqis Displaced Inside Iraq, by Iraq War, as of May 2007 - 2,255,000
  • Iraqi Refugees in Syria & Jordan - 2.1 million to 2.25 million
  • Iraqi Unemployment Rate - 27 to 60%, where curfew not in effect
  • Consumer Price Inflation in 2006 - 50%
  • Iraqi Children Suffering from Chronic Malnutrition - 28% in June 2007 (Per, July 30, 2007)
  • Percent of professionals who have left Iraq since 2003 - 40%
  • Iraqi Physicians Before 2003 Invasion - 34,000
  • Iraqi Physicians Who Have Left Iraq Since 2005 Invasion - 12,000
  • Iraqi Physicians Murdered Since 2003 Invasion - 2,000
  • Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity - 1 to 2 hours, per Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq (Per Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2007)
  • Number of Iraqi Homes Connected to Sewer Systems - 37%
  • Iraqis without access to adequate water supplies - 70% (Per, July 30, 2007)
  • Water Treatment Plants Rehabilitated - 22%

RESULTS OF POLL: Taken in Iraq in August 2005 by the British Ministry of Defense (Source: Brookings Institute)

  • Iraqis "strongly opposed to presence of coalition troops - 82%
  • Iraqis who believe Coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security - less than 1%
  • Iraqis who feel less ecure because of the occupation - 67%
  • Iraqis who do not have confidence in multi-national forces - 72%


Facts on Iraq, courtesy of:  Iraq War Facts, Results & Statistics at Sept 21, 2009 

Iraq Coalition Casualty Count:



About the Writer

Native Texan full of Southern Charm, ;) Art Director and Fashion Photographer with a background in Luxury Apparel. Producer of a Television show called " Art4Charity " that spotlights Philanthropists, non-profits, volunteers, and companies doing positive deeds around the world. Volunteer Art Therapy teacher to homeless children and activist.
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2 comments on Half Father, Half Soldier

Log In To Vote   Score: 1
By Lady D on October 08, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Thanks for another very thought provoking article.

" Look into this little boys eyes and into your heart and tell me, what does war really accomplish?"

How can we get the war profiteers to answer that question?

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Log In To Vote   Score: 1
By Ripper on October 12, 2009 at 03:17 pm

Hey love your stats.  Just wonder can you give the stats on how many children are rape every year by repeat offenders.  Or maybe how many people who our murderd in the US from illegals.  I pray for our soldiers to make it home safely however I also pray for the safety of children from sick people who already been caught, tried, convicted and released.  Look into their eyes and tell them why that person is running free having fun at that child expense.

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