Does this counter upset you? If so, why? It's a factual account of what the war in Iraq has cost thus far. That's all.
Is it also a political statement? I suppose that depends on how you look at it.
The truth of the war in Iraq -- in the view of myself and many others -- is that it never should have happened.
Was the war in Iraq justified? Well, Iraq, unlike Afghanistan, had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Even President Bush has now admitted this, after long trying to draw a connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. The majority of the terrorists on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, and none were from Iraq. Bin Ladin personally criticized Saddam Hussein as being a bad Muslim -- they had nothing to do with each other. And while Hussein was a bad, bad man, that does not justify the US's preemtive strike on him. That action should have gone through the world body of the UN, as it was, until Bush decided it wasn't fast enough and struck out on his own. (Just think about what our response would be if another country did that to the US!)
I felt that the actions against the Taliban in Afghanistan were justified -- the Taliban, in addition to being bad, bad men, were also involved in 9/11 in allowing Al Qaeda to set up training camps. I was happy to see the Taliban go, and would have been happier had the US government not been involved in setting them up as Afghanistan's ruling body in the first place. (See Wikipedia for a history of Afghanistan if you don't believe that to be possible -- it's history.)
However, the same was never true of Iraq, whose country the US had been bombing since the end of the first gulf war anyway. "We" went in on false pretenses -- there were no weapons of mass destruction (the country had been decimated in the previous Gulf War -- does anyone really believe they had the kind of resources required to build massive bombs?). The Iraq war is not justified, and it's not a war we're ever going to win, without the rest of the world behind us, and after the unilateral action that began it, they never will be.
So, if you assume that I have the counter on my site as a sign that I think the war there is a waste of money, you're right. I do think the war in Iraq is a tremendous waste -- of human lives (ours and theirs) and, of less importance, of resources that could be far, far better used elsewhere.
I'm writing this now because I've gotten a couple of guestbook entries about the counter, which include unfounded accusations that I must not care about America or our troops. Nothing could be further from the truth! It sickens me that our young men and women, who wish to serve our country as they best can, are dying in an unjust, unnecessary cause. (It should sicken anyone of conscience, in my view.) It's because I care about both that I do not support President Bush's war. American troops -- not to mention a staggering number of innocent Iraqi civilians -- have died by the thousands. They should not have died.
Families are being torn apart on both sides. Young Islamic men, who might not have become terrorists before, are now seeing what Bush's war has wrought upon their nation. Do you think they love America for blowing up their cities? Bush's war is certainly creating far more terrorists than it will ever kill. That's dangerous for all of us... and it didn't have to happen. Bush and his advisors were pushing for an attack in Iraq long before 9/11, which gave them an excuse -- while our blood was still hot from the attacks in New York and Washington, who would say no to attacking another middle-eastern nation?
In questioning the patriotism of those who question the war, you are playing straight into the terrorists' hands. They want to see our democracy weakened and destroyed, and the best way to destroy a democracy is to make sure that only one party is heard. Democracy is built on an open exchange of ideas, not the imposition of one group's will on another. The latter is essentially fascism.
The guestbook entries I've gotten regarding the ticker also have in common the confusion between visiting my site and supporting my site. I don't make any money from my personal site. I have the craft patterns up as a service to parents and others who care about their children and want to make things for them. I don't have any ads -- so, no advertising revenue -- or any click-through schemes, or anything else that makes money here, except the Amazon payments box which is entirely voluntary, and which has netted me a grand total of $29.23 in the five years it's been up. Yet the guestbook commentors have assumed that by using my craft ideas, they're somehow supporting me, which is actually pretty much the opposite of the truth. People coming here use bandwidth, which I pay for, and by sewing things themselves instead of buying a sling for me, one might argue that each visitor actually costs me money I might have otherwise earned in selling them a sling. So, you know, feel free to use the craft ideas -- that's what they're here for. But don't for one minute think that you're doing *me* a favor by using them or even passing them along.
These commentors have also suggested that I should not express my political views on my website, to which I say (pardon my French) fuck you very much. This is my website. I pay for the bandwidth, I create the content, and I'll post whatever I damn well please, and if you don't like it, don't visit. No one's forcing you to. Yes: I am an atheist, an anti-war liberal, a conscientious objector. I've gone to some sites for crafts and other things that were overtly Christian -- obnoxiously so, to me -- but I would never in a million years write to them and say, "Hey, I love your crafts, but please get rid of the religion on your website because I personally don't agree with it." I might grit my teeth while I scrolled past the Crucifix next to the crochet directions, but it's *their site* and *their right* to post whatever they want. So, too, is it my right to post *my views* on *my website*, and to suggest otherwise is bullshit, plain and simple.
If this angers you, fine. Your indignation is your issue, not mine. If you can't look beyond your disgust at a differing viewpoint (in other words, if you'd rather live in a fascist dictatorship where only one viewpoint is allowed), then that's your perogative. I would suggest that you grow up, though, and learn to grit your teeth and scroll past what you don't like. Take what you want, and go -- that's what I have stuff up for. Just don't ever assume that I'm going to cater *my website* to your political sensibilities, because that's never going to happen.