The numbers have names: Facing the truth about this war


The military’s bloody Falluja campaign must have kept U.S. Army vet Nicholas Cohen and his small band of volunteers busy. They’re creating an ever expanding memorial that features a photograph and brief biography of each American soldier who has died in Iraq or Afghanistan, one per sheet of paper. The snapshots of the lost now exceed 1,300, and they will lie row upon laminated row on the bricks of Union Square, demanding silently that passersby reflect on this portion of the war’s human cost—people we played in the sandbox with, or went to school with, or had a crush on; sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, parents. Whether you supported or protested the invasions, it’s hard to dispute that somebody is missing these people this Thanksgiving. As for the remaining portion of the “war on terror” ‘s toll, though—the dead Iraqis and Afghans—their lives, should someone eventually document them all, might require a slightly bigger park.