The faces of the 1,000 US service members killed in Iraq since January of 2007 display the rich tapestry of America, all the many colours and textures that give this country its special vibrancy. To pore over the thumbnail-sized portraits reprinted this week in The New York Times is to see the broad representation for which the United States military is justly proud, and to feel the enormity of the loss.

Go deeper online, where biographies of these service men and women are posted, and specific lives take form behind the equalizing rows of graves at Arlington National Cemetery. The grim milestone of the 4,000th US death came within days of another — the 5th anniversary of the invasion. The mind ticks through the heartless arithmetic: 800 deaths a year; 15 a week. No one wants to do the calculus for the remaining 10 months of the Bush administration. It seems clear now that President Bush intends to leave to a new administration any real change in course for Iraq.

The photos of the fallen this week inevitably echo the “Portraits of Grief” that the Times published after the Sept 11 attacks — wrenching stories of plans and dreams cut off in

mid-breath. There was no real connection between Iraq and Sept. 11 until the Bush administration made it so. The 2,973 lives lost that day were quite enough. — The Boston Globe