Three Years in Iraq: Jackson Group Calls for War's End

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Three years ago this weekend, the U.S. campaign of "Shock and Awe" marked the start of the war in Iraq.

A Jackson religious group marched Saturday mourn the loss of lives, and to call for an end to the war.

They read the names of Michigan servicemen ... and the names of Iraqi civilians killed in the conflict. Roughly 40 people gathered for the event, marching from Jackson High School to Withington Park.

Leading the march was Bob Lewis, president of the Jackson Interfaith Peacekeepers.

"This is very painful. The fact that we have to come back for a 3rd year," he said.

Lewis and others see the war from a distinctly religious viewpoint.

"I think we should go by the commandment: Thou shalt not kill," group member Marjorie Mackinder said.

Others are motivated more by politics.

"(What brought you out here?) Hatred of George W. Bush," Tom McFarland said. McFarland, a Vietnam War veteran, is not a member of the Jackson Interfaith Peacekeepers.

Those in attendance -- whatever the reason -- honored the roughly Michigan soldiers sailors airmen and marines killed during the conflict in Iraq. By their count, Michigan has lost 80 servicemen and women.

"We unfortunately did the same thing last year, the body count was only 35," Lewis said.

Organizers say they picked their location -- a park in downtown Jackson -- for a reason.

"This is a veterans memorial. This is where Jackson honors its dead. This is the most meaningful place to be because we're honoring our dead," Lewis said.

He says he wasn't disappointed by the relatively small turnout.

"We represent a lot of people out there who are welcoming this kind of message," Lewis said.

The most recent Associated Press poll shows fewer than 40 percent of Americans support President Bush's conduct of the war.

The Jackson group also highlighted the monetary cost of the war in Iraq. The National Priorities Project estimates Jackson County will eventually pay $133 million toward the war. The same group pegs the City of Lansing's share of the war's cost at more than $80 million.

Those figures are based on a total cost of $315 billion for the war.

-- in Jackson, Tony Tagliavia, News 10.