August 31, 2010, Obama declared it is “time to turn the page” on Iraq, yet he didn’t declare the war is over. The page may be turned but the story is not over. A visit to Arlington West illustrates the open book as more causalities are added to the records, and more markers are added in the sand.
Week ending August 22, the week the last combat troops were pulled out of Iraq, more soldiers were killed in Iraq.The war in Iraq is over for some, but not for the remaining 50,000 troops still deployed in Iraq. Or the first soldier killed after the last combat troops were pulled out.
Arlington West: Every Sunday in Santa Monica a group of volunteers organized by Veterans For Peace puts out markers to memorialize American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each white marker represents one dead soldier; each red one, ten. The blue markers signify soldiers killed the in the last week. Visitors add messages and mementoes to the markers. Symbolic coffins for each of the weeks dead are carried out onto the beach. The week ending August 22, 16 coffins repressing the three soldiers killed in Iraq and 13 killed in Afghanistan were placed among the markers. Members of Veterans for Peace are on hand to help veterans and family members memorialize the dead and educate people passing by about the cost of the wars.