Folk singer Iris Dement, who sounds more like a southern country music singer than a folkie, but whose lyrics are often more powerful than the early songs of the late (as far as I’m concerned), great and now completely commercial Bob Dylan, is known for such memorable songs as Wasteland of the Free and There’s a Wall in Washington. It would be interesting if Iris gets around to writing and singing about a new wall that is being being built to commerate the fallen. This will be a wall of the fallen body count of the Bush administration — much larger than just the dead and wounded in Iraq — the story is chronicled by Nick Turse. Once again Tom Engelhardt serves up the story of the body count. Let’s hope we can hear this sad lamentable story in song one day, and don’t you know, Iris Dement is the one person who can deliver progressive politics and religion in one neat vote-getting package. I’d like to see her pull it off.
Back in mid-October, I noted that informal “walls” and exhibits to honor those Americans (and sometimes Iraqis) who fell — and continue to fall — in the Bush administration’s war and occupation of choice in Iraq have been arising on and off-line for some time. I suggested then that “the particular dishonor this administration has brought down on our country calls out for other ‘walls’ as well. Perhaps, for instance, we need some negative walls built, stone by miserable stone, to cronyism, corruption, and incompetence.” At that moment, Tomdispatch author (and Associate Editor) Nick Turse began to build a verbal “wall” of honor to those who have “fallen” in government service while fighting in some fashion to hold the line against this administration. A previously hardly noted “Legion of the Fallen,” these other “casualties” — men and women who were honorable or steadfast enough in their government duties that they found themselves with little alternative but to resign in protest, quit, retire, or simply be pushed off the cliff by cronies of this administration — turned out to be far larger than we initially imagined. Here, then, is the second installment in Nick Turse’s “Fallen Legion” series. The names for a third installment, meant for January, are already largely in place and we’re hoping that, by then, we might have an actual on-line wall to go with it.