Memorial Day by the Numbers
Counting up the costs of conflict
11 -- Number of Vermonters killed in Iraq
1 -- Rank of Vermont's per capita military fatalities in Iraq
2 -- Rank of Vermont's mobilization rate of National Guard and Reservists
183 -- Number of U.S. military personnel killed in Afghanistan since November 2001
1644 -- Number of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq since March 2003
36 -- Number of female U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq
271 -- Number of female soldiers wounded in Iraq
18 -- Number of coalition forces over the age of 50 killed in Iraq
91.6 -- Percentage of U.S. fatalities in Iraq that have occurred since the fall of Baghdad
12,348 -- Number of U.S. military personnel wounded in action in Iraq, according to the Department of Defense
31,000 -- Estimated number of Iraq War veterans who have sought disability benefits for physical and/or psychological traumas
$5.3 billion -- Proposed cuts by the Bush administration in veterans' medical services by 2010
$7.1 billion -- Amount of revenue earned in Iraq by Halliburton in 2004
12 -- Number of government investigations pending against Halliburton
30 cents -- Amount of each Vermonter's tax dollar devoted to defense spending
19 cents -- Amount of each Vermonter's tax dollar devoted to paying interest on the U.S. debt
3 cents -- Amount of each Vermonter's tax dollar devoted to veterans' benefits
(Casualty figures are current as of May 24, 2005. Compiled by Ken Picard)
STANDING DOWN AND STADING UP
A handful of Vermonters opposed to the war in Iraq demonstrated last week across from the U.S. Army's recruitment post in Williston to demand that recruiters do a better job of telling the truth to potential enlistees. About 10 protesters held signs and waved banners on the afternoon of May 20, the day the U.S. Army had designated as "Army Values Stand Down Day." For 24 hours, the Army withdrew all 7500 of its recruiters for a day-long refresher course in military ethics. The extraordinary move was prompted by reports of 480 allegations of recruitment improprieties since October 1.
Among the demonstrators was Joseph Gainza of the American Friends Service Committee in Montpelier. "We wanted to bring up the issue that recruiting lies are not victimless crimes," says Gainza, "that there are people who get themselves involved in situations that if they had been told they truth, they may not have."
Gainza also noted that the group wasn't protesting against the recruiters themselves -- people who, he adds, "are themselves victims of a foreign policy that puts us into wars needlessly."
The demonstration, which coincided with similar events across the country, took place without incident. Reportedly, several passersby gave the demonstrators the thumbs-up or Victory sign. But one or two displayed other fingers.