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2,000 American Soldiers:
The Associated Press has a report on the number of U.S. military personnel that have died in Iraq.
TC (mail):
These "milestones" are nothing more than artificial news. The 2000th death is no more tragic or special than any other death we've suffered.
10.25.2005 5:11pm
A Blogger:
TC,

I'm sure you give that speech every year on your birthday, New Years, etc.
10.25.2005 5:15pm
citizen (mail):
i think it is very important to think about the total loss this war has cost to date.
10.25.2005 5:17pm
TC (mail):
I think about it daily, and I don't need the headlines of the media and the media whores to remind me.
10.25.2005 5:26pm
A Blogger:
TC,

If you think about it daily, would you mind sharing with us what you're thinking about every day?
10.25.2005 5:31pm
guest:
And then there are the roughly 30,000 iraqis who died in the same time period. But of course, they're the benficiaries of the war, so I guess we shouldn't concern ourselves with those deaths.
10.25.2005 5:33pm
Anon E Moose:
So if I have this straght, in over two years of active fighting and reconstruction in the face of armed geurrilla resistance, we have yet to lose 3/4 of the numer of citizens who died in a single day as a result of ignoring the growing Islamic terrorist problem? Anything about the growing navel lint problem (nay, crisis!) in the news today? Prespective... Tree... Forest.
10.25.2005 5:37pm
TC (mail):
AB,
Here is SOME of it: My daily prayers include prayers for all servicemembers currently over there and their families, and all of the casualties we've had and their families, as well as the Iraqi people who deserve better than they've had the past 35+ years. Is that enough? Or should I only pray and think about those things on "special" days, like today?
10.25.2005 5:37pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
TC-- Please don't forget the people of Sudan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the many many other countries that deserve better. It is true that a given death is not more of a tragedy than earlier ones. But it does cause people to reflect, like the end of a calendar year.

Mr Moose: I think that people are upset because we were led to believe that this would be a relatively cheap and painless invasion-- that we would be greeted as liberators and that Iraq would soon be self-sufficient with oil money. Also, re your point of ignoring terrorism, Iraq had very very little connection to terrorism until we invaded it.
10.25.2005 5:44pm
George of the Legal Jungle (mail):
Agregate deaths matter differently than single deaths. A close friend of mine died in Iraq. It haunts me. But that a single soldier died in Iraq would not seem to me to be a basis for forming policy. As more soldiers die, we have to ask whether the aggregate deaths are worth what we're fighting for.

Also, there's something about humans and numbers ending in "0." We list things in tens and hundreds and want thousands and millions of dollars. We are fooled into overpaying for items because they end in decimals. (Wow - it's only $19.99! If it cost twenty, that would totally be too expensive.) I'm sure someone has done some interesting research into this. Anyhow, 2,000 is special because of how we process numbers.
10.25.2005 5:45pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
we have yet to lose 3/4 of the numer of citizens who died in a single day as a result of ignoring the growing Islamic terrorist problem?

Of course, let's ignore the maimed. In fact, the amount of wounded is no different than in the middle of hte Vietnam war --- our medicine, and military medicine in particular, are just that much better at saving lives. I'd like to see a number including deaths and maimings. People like Moose wouldn't be minimizing it were we to see those numbers.

Fact is this war was justified with lies and we were mislead about the costs -- only a few voices were seriously talking about this before the war and the "liberal MSM" wasn't covering any of it. Anyone remember Brent Scowcroft's op-ed in the WSJ 6 mos. before the war. I just heard about it. It was dead on --- now why didn't that get coverage at the time??? Oh yeah, it's because the MSM is "liberal."

10.25.2005 5:53pm
Bpbatista (mail):
I note that approximately 1,500 Americans were killed on D-Day (which, of course, was a SINGLE DAY)- and Germany didn't even attack us at Pearl Harbor. I wonder what our so-called "Peace Movement" would have said about that?

Of course, at the current pace, it will be another 70 years before the number of military deaths in Iraq equals the total in Vietnam. Sorry Daily Kos!
10.25.2005 5:56pm
Justice Fuller:
Bpbatista,

Which side are you arguing?
10.25.2005 6:01pm
Chukuang:
we have yet to lose 3/4 of the numer of citizens who died in a single day as a result of ignoring the growing Islamic terrorist problem?

As noted, this was not done by Iraq!!! Or are some people so brainwashed that this simple fact still manages to escape them? Perhaps we should have invaded Tibet after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. All a bunch of monarchy-obsessed Buddhists, after all.
10.25.2005 6:04pm
Perseus (mail):
Speaking of lies, Brent Scowcroft's op-ed was in fact widely reported by the MSM.
10.25.2005 6:05pm
Visitor Again:
Counting the bodies is nothing new. There was considerable interest in the numbers of the dead during the Viet Nam War. I remember, as a young man, reading in the press about the 100th U.S. soldier killed in Viet Nam. I remember the zeal with which General Westmoreland and other American generals of the time pressed for body counts of the enemy so they could brag we killed more than they did and thus were winning the war. And, of course, I remember that even the protesters were interested in the numbers: Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today? The media and the history books are still reminding us of the 58,000 U.S. soldiers killed in Viet Nam, never mind the 1 or 2 million Vietnamese killed. It's a good thing to keep a running count of war's human toll. Although it doesn't seem to stop us, who knows, at some point it might. In the meantime, I note the relatively tender ages of most of the soldiers killed in the Sunday obituary columns--a good reminder of who bears the brunt of this abominable war.
10.25.2005 6:12pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
Yeh, it's just a number, but it is a disturbingly large one.
10.25.2005 6:19pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.

---J.V. Stalin
10.25.2005 6:28pm
Robert F. Patterson (mail):
Every death is a tragedy to their loved ones. My brother, a British Commando, died in FRance at the end of the SEcond World War. I still miss him. But he gave his life to safeguard freedom. Both my other brothers were wounded, one in Italy, the other was an RAF navigator and his Mosquito bomber was shot down. THey were proud to serve against Hitler and the Nazis. THe Iraq war is a complicated, sad thing, but if it helps in the long run in the war against terrorism, the lives were not given in vain.
10.25.2005 6:32pm
Pete Freans (mail):
I think what Bpbatista is suggesting (if you permit me to be so presumptuous) is that one the golden rules of war is to kill more of your enemy than your own. We are clearly fulfilling this rule, so from that perspective, our campaign is a success. Of course waging war isn't simply tallying the body counts, and success must be measured by other factors. Those other factors include the rule of law, a democratically elected legislative body, economic infrastructure, government services, etc. I think we are making progress in all of those fronts, so US body counts alone, while tragic, should not be used as a barometer for success.
10.25.2005 6:36pm
Houston Lawyer:
2,000 deaths. It's just another propaganda point for the press. Far more people were killed during this time period as a result of engaging in unsafe sex.

We are winning this war on the ground. The only way for us to lose it is for us to lose our nerve. The proper way to honor those who have been killed while serving their country is to win the war in which they have fought.

The terrorists hope to convince us that this is a war that we cannot win. The MSM now serve as a megaphone for the terrorists. Scoring propaganda points on the deaths of unsung heroes is beneath contempt.
10.25.2005 7:07pm
ChrisS (mail):
2,000 deaths is not a "grim milestone". It's no more significant than #1,999, or 1,998, or any of the others. Certainly no more significant than the passage of the Iraqi Constitution, and yet what are we talking about today?
10.25.2005 7:21pm
B. B.:
"I note that approximately 1,500 Americans were killed on D-Day (which, of course, was a SINGLE DAY)- and Germany didn't even attack us at Pearl Harbor. I wonder what our so-called "Peace Movement" would have said about that? "

Actually, Germany had declared war on us (and we reciprocated) and had already started sinking our ships, not to mention invaded/attacked with military forces a number of our allies, but don't let the facts get in the way of your argument. Islamic terrorists don't threaten to take over all of Europe and kill millions of Jews (though I imagine if they had the ability they would like to do so), not to mention Iraq wasn't really a big part of the terrorism problem (Iran, Syria and our beloved ally Saudi Arabia were arguably all more of an issue until we fueled the insurgent fire in Iraq).

Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 -- we attacked the country that harbored those responsible when we hit Afghanistan, which if you remember everyone but the lunatic fringe supported (and those people won't support any war, ever). Instead, 2000 people died for a war that was sold on lies. Is it good that Saddam is gone? It probably is. But the war wasn't sold to us as "freeing the Iraqi people" it was "they have WMD's and are actively trying to buy nukes". I still can't figure out why some people can't understand why a lot of people are angry about this.
10.25.2005 8:02pm
Proud Generation Y Slacker:
Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 -- we attacked the country that harbored those responsible when we hit Afghanistan, which if you remember everyone but the lunatic fringe supported (and those people won't support any war, ever).

Nice revision, B.B.

"As I describe some different kinds of military action this country might take in Afghanistan, please tell me which if any, you would support. What about [see below]?"
Yes No Don't Know
% % %

"Sending in large numbers of ground troops to cover a wide area of the country"
60 34 6

.

"Do you favor or oppose the use of U.S. ground troops in Afghanistan?"
%
Favor 64
Oppose 28
Not sure 8



http://www.pollingreport.com/terror7.htm
10.25.2005 8:13pm
goldsmith (mail):
Somewhere between 1 and 10000000000 Iraqis have "been killed" since the war began, an entirely variable number that depends on the excitability, ignorance and/or bulls***ing skills of the person citing it. Of course, there is never an indication of the division of that statistic into cause of death: exactly how many Iraqis were killed accidentally? How many of these deaths were enemy combatants? How many have been killed by the "holy warriors" (who incidentally are often not Iraqis either). It seems not to matter to most people who take pleasure in the enormity of these statistics, since the US is automatically "responsible" for any and all of the murders in Iraq. The "holy warriors" are never culpable because they are presumed to be creatures who cannot make their own moral choices and merely react to the actions of the US.

"we have yet to lose 3/4 of the numer of citizens who died in a single day as a result of ignoring the growing Islamic terrorist problem?"

As noted, this was not done by Iraq!!!

No, it was done by proponents of a religious ideology that does not recognize secular dominion, and moreover sees the entire world as the future Caliphate. The entire reason that Islamist ideology is so dangerous is that it transcends all notions of "state actors"; it is almost entirely decentralized therefore cannot be directly linked to the borders of a sovereign nation (hence your analogy with Japan and Tibet is misguided; they didn't even share a religion).

I will not offer my opinion on the prosecution of this war by the current administration. But I do wonder how many of those who will cite this "grim milestone" really give a fig for the troops who comprise it beyond their ability to score points against the administration. I distrust these appeals to emotion beyond mourning the loss of these fine men and women. If one wishes to oppose the war, or the strategies that it represents, I do wish he would appeal to logic rather than morbid emotionalism. But I don't see that happening.
10.25.2005 8:19pm
Taimyoboi:
I would be a little bit less skeptical of the media's motivation for reporting these "milestones" if they also made a point of reporting the heroic deeds of soldiers in Iraq.

10.25.2005 8:59pm
R. Gould-Saltman (mail):
Says Goldsmith:
"If one wishes to oppose the war, or the strategies that it represents, I do wish he would appeal to logic rather than morbid emotionalism. But I don't see that happening."

Intersting point. Substitute "support", or "continue", for "oppose" in the quote, and I hold precisely the same view; unfortunately, my view is that the Adminsitration's explanations/justifications for the war, and those of the Administration's supporters, don't meet this test.

Consider some of the pro-Administration comments above in this light. Hmmmmm......



RFGS
10.25.2005 9:08pm
Chukuang:
it is almost entirely decentralized therefore cannot be directly linked to the borders of a sovereign nation (hence your analogy with Japan and Tibet is misguided; they didn't even share a religion).

But of course they did share a religion. Yes, Shintoism was the official religion of the imperial family but the society was certainly overwhelmingly Buddhist. Various Zen sects have come under fire for their support of the war and the use of Zen ideas in combat training. Tibet was overwhelmingly Buddhist as well, with various animist beliefs playing an important part of the belief system as Shintoism did in Japan (though they played very different roles).

But my point is obviously not that we should have invaded Tibet. Likewise, for all his obvious evilness, Saddam was not part of the "religious ideology that does not recognize secular dominion." He was arguably one of the most secular rulers in the region, that's why he was so hated by Bin Laden et al. If it's the religious zealots you want to attack, I'll have to assume you think it was a massive mistake to invade Iraq rather than Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, etc. You can't seriously think that Iraq best fits your definition here (or should I say "fit," given that our brilliantly played-out war has turned it into the terrorist playground we were falsely told it was in the first place).
10.25.2005 9:20pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"No, it was done by proponents of a religious ideology that does not recognize secular dominion, and moreover sees the entire world as the future Caliphate."

But... Saddam's regime was predominantly secular; the new government is dominated by Islamists, and the new constitution legally enshrines Islamic law. Iran is absolutely thrilled by the new government!

Oh the irony...
10.25.2005 10:07pm
Bpbatista (mail):
My point was that 2000 dead (and that is not combat deaths, but total deaths including from accidents and sickness) over 2.5 years is historically small and that we lost far more in a war against a country that did not attack us at Pearl Harbor. As for BB's comment, Hitler declared war because we were already providing material support to his enemies -- the USSR and the UK (ever hear of Lend-Lease?). It seems to me that Saddam's Iraq was attacking us even before April 2003 - Remember all those missles fired at our planes patrolling the no fly zones for the previous 12 years? How about his attempt to assassinate GHW Bush? How about his attacks on our ally Israel (both with Scuds during Gulf War I and by paying suicide bombers up until the day his regime collapsed)? How about his invasion of our ally Kuwait and his threats to Saudi Arabia? And what about his harboring of terrorists like Abu Nidal and one of the master minds who planned the first World Trade Center attack in 1993? It seems we had nearly as much cause to go after Saddam as we did Hitler.

Unless you are willing to say that 1,500 dead in 1 day was too much in 1944 (and we still had another 11 months and tens of thousands more dead to go before Germany surrendered), I don't know how anyone can say that 2000 dead (all volunteers, by the way) in 2.5 years is too much today.

Finally, my point about taking another 70 years before reaching Vietnam casualty levels is to demonstrate the stupidity of any one who tries to claim that Iraq is another Vietnam.
10.25.2005 11:09pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
We are winning this war on the ground. The only way for us to lose it is for us to lose our nerve.

Which war? The War in Iraq? We are not winning at all; even the Administration is talking about another ten years (up from their original plan of finishing by Xmas 2003).

Or do you mean the war on antiwar Americans? That's the war that The 101st Fighting Keyboarders are really enjoying and don't want to stop.

When the leaders start talking about all we need is nerve, the situation is desperate.
When events intensify and march with giant steps to their culmination, racing toward the crisis, the main thing is that the leadership and people keep their nerve, stubbornly and persistently overcoming dangers and difficulties, letting nothing distract them from the continuation of the course that they once saw as correct, keeping their eye only on the good star of their fate. Suddenly one day the clouds that hid the sun will clear and the sky will again be bright. So it will be in this war, too.
10.25.2005 11:39pm
Chukuang:
Saddam's Iraq was attacking us even before April 2003 - Remember all those missles fired at our planes patrolling the no fly zones for the previous 12 years?

Yes, that is really worth going to war for. Attacking our planes flying over his country after we invaded is just one step away from attacking the American mainland. Come on.

How about his attempt to assassinate GHW Bush?

Please do elaborate. How close did this come to happening?

How about his attacks on our ally Israel (both with Scuds during Gulf War I

Are your really saying that lobbing ineffective scuds at Israel while we were (very legitimately, I happily admit) attacking him is anything near what Hitler was doing in Europe?

and by paying suicide bombers up until the day his regime collapsed)?

Right, thank God our "allies" like Saudi Arabia don't support anti-Israeli terrorists. We might have to invade them too!

How about his invasion of our ally Kuwait and his threats to Saudi Arabia?

Did I miss something? I thought we did attack him after he invaded Kuwait. Then we decided to let him stay in power and left those who opposed him out to dry, I mean die.

And what about his harboring of terrorists like Abu Nidal and one of the master minds who planned the first World Trade Center attack in 1993?

Again, see Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, etc. All to a much greater extent than Iraq.

It seems we had nearly as much cause to go after Saddam as we did Hitler.

I don't think you understand what this word "nearly" means.

Don't you understand that Saddam can be evil and dangerous but not dangerous enough to spend billions of dollars and thousands of lives fighting? Especially when doing so just makes the situation in Iraq worse for us and the region.
10.26.2005 12:06am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Andrew J. Lazarus

I will have to respectfully disagree on your prognosis on whether or not we are winning in Iraq right now. First, let me start by pointing out that we are still in both Germany and Japan, 60 years after their surrender. Yet, I would suggest that we won there too. Actually, I expect that we will be out of Iraq before we leave Afghanistan, because the later seems to be more willing to provide us with long term basing rights. Oh, and should I remind you that American troops are still dying in Korea, almost 55 years after the Cease Fire? Should we add in Bosnia? That has been ten years, and a lot less progress than we have made in Iraq.

Relatively speaking, the amount of good news keeps increasing on a month by month basis in Iraq. Iraqi security forces are taking over an ever increasing percentage of the security burden, and that has had a lot of positive effects, including that they are much, much, better at both detecting foreigners and in running down leads. This has freed up our soldiers and marines to start operating in strength between Baghdad and the Syrian border, in operations designed to cut the infiltration routes down the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Indeed, the vast bulk of American casualties since mid August have been in that area - an area that we were really not working very hard until then, and, traditionally one of the most dangerous in Iraq.

And note that this is all having an effect. Some 750 possible terrorists were arrested by US and Iraqi forces in just the first week in October. And this latest election had a fraction of the violence that the previous one did - despite what appear to have been the best efforts of the terrorists. Much of this again can be attributed to those much maligned Iraqi security forces (both police and military).
10.26.2005 1:53am
Bpbatista (mail):
Chukuang, you ignorant slut. I was responding to BB's prior comments that we already at war with Germany because they were trying to sink our ships - my point was that we were at the same point with Saddam as he was trying to shoot down our aircraft, etc. I never intimated that he was trying to invade the "American mainland." Of course, neither was Hitler.

As for your comments about Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, I'm glad to know that you will strongly support military action against them if they do not mend their ways. Or will you just find more ridiculous, anti-American excuses to oppose such action too?

You clearly do not understand that Iraq is part of a much larger strategy to reform the Middle East. The larger goal is to persuade or force Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia to stop their support for Islamic terrorism -- support that you rightly abhor (or at least appear to abhor when it suits your anti-American rhetoric).

Given your concession that Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Saddam's Iraq were so horrible, how exactly does removing Iraq make our position in the Middle East worse when the alternative you appear to support (assuming, of course, that you have even thought of alternatives) is the status quo ante that you pretend to despise? Is it really your position that we should have done nothing and allowed Saddam to continue the Oil for Food scam, eventually escape the UN sanction regime and reconstitute his power, etc.? All the while leaving the other nasties in the region to continue on as before? If so, you are not a serious person -- you merely hate America and are looking for reasons to do so.
10.26.2005 11:04am
Chukuang:
Bpbatista,

So, when the reductio ad Hitler wasn't working you decided to go with the "you hate America" angle. How wonderfully predictable. How long until you question my manhood?

For the record, I've lived in a number of other countries and find the US to be my favorite by far. That doesn't mean I have to agree with every policy decision our government makes, especially when I think it's bad for the country in the long run.

But feel free to further examine my imagined mental state as opposed to my arguments. It's rather entertaining.
10.26.2005 11:19am
Bpbatista (mail):
Chukuang -- Just answer the questions. Or, perhaps you can't?
10.26.2005 11:33am
Thumpe:
There have been quite a few commenters saying that we were sold on the "lie" that Iraq had WMD, and was pursuing nuclear weapons. That is only a lie if you use a broad enough definition of "lie" to include saying something that you believe to be true, and that you have good reason to believe to be true, but which turns out to be false.

Certainly some dictionary definitions are that broad. But the way I undersatnd everyday usage, I am only lying if I am purposely deceiving. To take a mundane example, suppose I wait at a bus stop where two different bus routes stop. I see a bus with its signs indicating "Route 1." Believeing it to be the #1 bus, I get on. I call my wife from my cell and say "I'm on the #1 bus." Now, suppose the signs were wrong, and it's really the #2 bus. Did I lie? I don't think so.

But that is essentially what is being asserted as basic when people say that Bush lied about WMD. "Mistaken" would be a more accurate word. And this analysis is assuming for arguiment's sake that Saddam was not trying to develop nuclear weapons, and that he didn't have WMD.

Remember the facts that were available. Saddam had used WMD against Iranian soldiers as well as against his own civilian population. He was bound by the terms of the Gulf War I cease fire to dispose of WMD and allow the UN to verify, yet he was failing to meet his obligations. Many government officials both American (including the Clinton administration) and foreign believed he had WMD and was pursuing nuclear weapons. In short, Bush had every reason to believe. Given the weight of the evidence he had available, it would have been irrational for him to believe otherwise.

Could he be 100% certain? Of course not. But when dealing with military intelligence you rarely if ever have 100% certainty. When making decisions with uncertainty, it is important to consider the ramifications of being wrong. In a post-9/11 world, we know (or at least knew) that there were potentially terrible consequences to ignoring a threat. Now, how about a threat that has WMD and is trying to develop nuclear weapons (as Bush legitimately believed Saddam to be)?

It's true that Saddam was not behind 9/11 -- though incorrect to say he had nothing to do with terrorism, given that he was paying suicide bombers and harboring terrorists. But a post 9/11 strategy can't be just about punishing the perpetrators. It has to also be about preventing future 9/11's. With the fully-reasonable belief that Saddam had WMD and was trying to develop nuclear weapons, and intelligence reports from the Russians that Saddam was planning terrorist attacks on the US, it would have been irresponsible not to attack Saddam's regime.

In the above, I mentioned the reports from the Russians about Saddam planning attacks against the US. Granted, we can't know for sure whether those reports were accurate or not. But I'd rather have the president err on the side of protecting the US.

It is interesting to think of what would have happened if, before 9/11, Bush had gone after Al-Qaida. There were, afterall, some intelligence reports that, if sifted from the other noise and pieced together properly, would have pointed to the attack coming. Now suppose we had taken actions A B and C to prevent it? If it had still occured, then Bush's critics would be claiming that A B and C provoked it. If A B and C prevented it, then Bush's critics would have said that A B and C were unnecessary and Bush was warmongering.

Bottom line (for me, anyway):
The claim that Bush lied us into war is deceptive at best.
While I won't speak for every aspect of how the war has been waged, the waging of the war itself is justified.
It is true that the deaths of our soldiers are tragedies for the soldiers and their families. But if we, as a nation, have lost our stomach to the degree that it appears (based on the media reports), then we, as a nation, are doomed.
10.26.2005 12:51pm
gr (www):
"These "milestones" are nothing more than artificial news. The 2000th death is no more tragic or special than any other death we've suffered."

But 2000 deaths is more tragic than 1. Or 1000. or whatever "artificial" lower number you can find.
10.26.2005 1:46pm
Rich (mail):
gr:

The question should be why is the number 2000 significant? Its not. Is what you are saying is war is tragic?
10.26.2005 3:01pm