Monday, May 28, 2007

remembering the dead

Marisa Treviño, in light of 3,452 deaths in Iraq, asks why . . .

. . . we go on with our lives as if this is normal.

Losing servicepeople in numbers like this is not normal. Families losing their young sons and daughters on a daily basis half a world away is not normal.

For us all to be so detached from this war, should not be normal.

For us to accept the explanation that this country is at war with us without proof of it, is not normal.

For us to keep feeding our future generations to a gun battle that will never have an end, and is fueled more by hate between the citizens of that country than for our own soldiers, is not normal.

For us to resign ourselves to the fact that this war is normal — is not normal.

I agree that the Iraq War has been a disaster on every level, and has caused much suffering here and in Iraq.

However, I don't think "normal" is the right yardstick by which to measure satisfaction with this war. For the last 50 years, the U.S. has been involved in a major war about once every 10-15 years. By my estimates, we've been involved in a major war during 23 of the past 58 years, or roughly 40% of the time.

By 2003, it was time for another war. By historical standards for a war this long, U.S. casualties in Iraq have been quite low. By comparison, U.S. deaths (battle deaths + other deaths in service (theater)) in other major wars since WWII were these:
Korean War: 36,574
Vietnam War: 58,209
Gulf War: 529

The numbers fewer Americans bother to discuss are these:
Korean War: around 1 million Koreans killed
Vietnam War: between 1 and 5 million Vietnamese killed
Gulf War: between 22,000 and 200,000 Iraqis killed
Iraq War: between 64,405(civilians only) and 1 million Iraqis killed

Protracted wars in places we don’t belong with deaths in the native population some large, permanently indeterminate multiple of U.S. casualties are as American as baseball and apple pie.

This is normal!

No comments: