According to Gen. Tommy Franks of the U.S. Central Command in Iraq, "We don't do body counts." But because God cares when even a sparrow falls, God counts bodies.
If Jesus' purpose for coming was to provide an abundant life (Jn 10:10), then that which brings death and destruction (the opposite of life) must be Satanic, no matter how noble we may try to make the cause seem.
Below is the count, as of April 30, 2004, based on government records.
Number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq since hostilities began: 739. The number of those soldiers who were teenagers: 59. These are children who should have been in the backseats of cars making out, not in the back seats of Humvees making war.
The number of soldiers in their 20s: the vast majority. Number of parents who are now childless, spouses who have lost their love, children deprived of a parent's embrace, babies who will grow old never knowing a parent's voice, smile or hug: Only God knows.
Number of U.S. soldiers who were wounded: 4,190. Number of soldiers whose lost limbs or physical handicap will lead to violence in the home, family breakups, substance abuse, crime, poverty and/or early death: Only God knows.
Number of soldiers admitted to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for "psychiatric or behavioral health issues" due to battle: About 1,000 according to the commander of the hospital, Col. Conrnum.
Number of returning solders who will suffer from post-traumatic syndrome or other mental disturbances that can lead to violence in the home, family breakups, substance abuse, crime, poverty and early death: Only God knows.
Number of British soldiers killed Iraq since hostilities began: 59. Number of Bulgarian soldiers killed: six. Number of Danish soldiers killed: one. Number of Estonian soldiers killed: one. Number of Italian soldiers killed: 17. Number of Polish soldiers killed: two. Number of Salvadorian soldiers killed: one. Number of Spaniard soldiers killed:11. Number of Thai soldiers killed: two. Number of Ukranian soldiers killed: six.
Number of Iraqi military personal killed by coalition forces since hostilities began: minimum of 4,895-maximum of 6,370. Number of Iraqi civilians killed by coalition forces since hostilities began: minimum of 8,979-maximum of 10,833.
Number of U.S. soldiers facing court martial and jail for abusing Iraqi prisoners, including physical torture (i.e., use of electricity), and sexual humiliation (i.e., stacking naked prisoners in human pyramids or forcing them to engage in sexual acts): six, with an additional seven (including a general) suspended from duty.
Number of Iraqis known to have been tortured: 20 in November and December of '03. How many more Iraqis tortured and how many more soldiers are involved in these crimes against humanity: Only God knows.
Number of weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq: zero. Number of weapons of mass destruction found as President's Bush searched under his couch murmuring, "No weapons over there, maybe under here," for humorous slide show he made for a dinner party: zero.
Number of Iraqis involved in the 9/11 terrorist attack: zero. Number of documents recovered by our intelligence service confirming a direct connection between the Saddam regime and Al-Qaeda: zero. Number of documents recovered by our intelligence service confirming a direct connection between the Saddam regime and 9/11: zero.
Number of days Bush served in Vietnam when his country called upon him: zero. Number of deferments received by Vice-President Cheney to avoid serving his country in Vietnam: five. Number of lies told by the Bush administration to get the U.S. to invade Iraq: Only God knows.
Total cost of the war thus far as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office: approximately $112,300,488,709, or about $1 billion a week.
Number of children in the U.S. that could have instead attended Head Start: 15,877,401. Number of children that could have instead been insured for one year: 48,135,839. Number of public school teachers that could have instead been hired for one year: 2,139,066. Number of four-year scholarships that could have instead been funded to attend a public university: 2,848,473. Number of housing units that could have been built to house the homeless: 1,604,301.
Quote from President Eisenhower, former supreme commander of the Allied forces during World War II: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a thief from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed (4/16/53)."
Number of people who will continue to support the Commander in Chief in shedding blood rather than the Prince of Peace who gave his blood so that we can instead learn to love those whom we call our enemy: Only God knows.
Miguel De La Torre, a Cuban American, is professor of theologies of liberation at Hope College in Holland, Mich. He is a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a former Baptist pastor in Kentucky. His column also appears in the Holland Sentinel.
Order Miguel De La Torre's book Reading the Bible from the Margins now from Amazon.com