Iraq Casualties Display Raises Red Flag for Some
Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Shannon Smyth For The Register-Guard
A Jan. 22 Register-Guard article described the Iraq war display created this week at the University of Oregon. Three thousand small, red flags were planted in a grassy area of the UO campus, each one representing an American serviceman or woman killed in Iraq. White flags, more than 120,000 of them, covered a large area, each one standing for six or seven of the Iraqis killed since the war began.
I would like to add a war veteran's viewpoint.
I hope the organizers of this project intended to create a visual representation of something that is merely a concept in the minds of most UO students. If so, then I applaud the planning and presentation. As this project was created in such a large scale, nearly all students and faculty on campus were able to take in the numbers of flags, which represented death in large proportions.
As a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, I respect the fact that the U.S. soldiers who have died in both theaters were represented. I also respected that there were signs noting that both soldiers and civilians have been killed in Iraq.
As a former war-fighter, and as a protester of the Iraq war, it is good to see civilians contribute to acts that promote peace. These efforts promote progressive thinking and, hopefully, peace.
While I respected and appreciated most aspects of this display, I questioned its psychological effects on veterans on campus - people who have been involved in combat against many of the people represented by the white flags (those of which represent dead Iraqis).
The white flags represent people who tried to kill many of the veterans who saw this display. Many of these flags represent people who have been killed by these veterans in self-defense.
The red flags, representing dead American soldiers, are faces, friends and family to many of the veterans on campus. …