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Edgar: 2000th death in Iraq is a 'tragic
milestone' that 'didn't have to happen.'

New York , October 25 – The realization that the 2,000th American has died in Iraq marks a “tragic milestone,” the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA said today. 

“We’re reminded of our deep pride in the young men and women who so courageously face death every day in Iraq,” said the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar. “The death of any one of these brave volunteers is a cause for pain and sadness.” 

But Edgar said the death of the 2,000th serviceperson generates other emotions as well. 

“Speaking frankly, this milestone is also a cause for anger,” Edgar said. “It’s hard today to set aside the reality that the administration started this war despite the earnest protests of church leaders and millions of persons of faith. It’s hard to forget that the most frequently cited cause for the war – Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction – turned out to be non-existent.” 

Edgar said the death of the 2,000th serviceperson must be a time of prayer and reflection. 

“We must take these burdens to God,” he said. “We pray for the families who have lost loved ones in Iraq. We pray for the families who live each day in anxious worry for their loved ones serving there. And we pray for our national leaders, who we do not believe have made their decisions to go to war out of malice or ambition. May God grant us comfort and wisdom.” 

But Edgar also called on Americans to pray that the war will end. “No matter how we view it,” he said, “we cannot escape the conclusion that this war didn’t have to happen. It’s time to bring this tragic chapter of American history to a close. Like Vietnam, the light at the end of this tunnel is a warning of more death, not a promise of victory. This war must end. Now.”

Click here for an NCC "Praying for Peace" resource packet for individuals and congregations. The packet is in two parts.


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