By Cindy Sheehan

On Feb. 1, I was arrested at the State of the Union address for wearing a Veterans for Peace shirt that read: "2,245 Dead. How many more?"

A little more than four months later, we are now tragically marking the deaths of 255 more of our brave and wonderful young American soldiers.

So today, with 2,500 dead, I ask again: How many more?

And with tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians -- maybe even a lot more than 100,000 -- killed, I ask: How many more?

All of their families, American and Iraqi, will never be the same again due to the trickery and deceit of the commander in chief of the U.S. military and his advisers and cabinet members.

And for what?

So Halliburton can get reconstruction contracts and Exxon Mobil can lay its pipelines and charge $3.50 for a gallon of gas?

Over the last year, I've spoken at high schools that have about 2,000 to 2,500 students on campus. I ask them to close their eyes and visualize an empty school.

Only then can they begin to relate to this devastating number.

But for those of us who have lost a son or a daughter or a brother or a sister or a father or a mother in this war, the number one is more than enough.

One empty chair at the table.

One folded flag on the mantel.

One driverless car sitting in the driveway waiting for the finance company to come and pick it up.

One person never coming home.

One broken family that cannot be repaired.

How many more?

How many more of our nation's finest are we willing to kill to enhance the bottom line of the Halliburtons and the Exxon Mobils?

How many more of our young wounded -- 18,000 at this moment -- is it going to take before our country wakes up?

How many more Iraqi babies are we going to allow our leaders to murder before we realize that all babies are precious, loved and mourned when they are killed?

How many more empty speeches and blathering platitudes will we allow our misleaders to utter before they are held accountable?

How many more mothers are we going to watch sobbing over their children's flag-draped coffins before we get out in the streets and demand an end to the immoral and illegal occupation so no other mothers will have to be plunged into a pool of pain?

I had my fill on 04/04/04 when my son Casey was killed in a war that never should have happened.

How many more will it take for you?

Cindy Sheehan is returning to Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas, this summer. She can be reached at


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What's more worrying are those who undermine people with disabilities from behind a veneer of politeness.

It will be good to put all this uncivil discourse behind us.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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