Friday, June 16, 2006

just a number

2500 American soldiers have been killed in George W. Bush's war of lies. How does White House spokesman Tony Snow mark this tragic milestone?

He says, "It's a number." He must have realized how callous and disrespectful that was, because he quickly followed up with some rambling comments about how Bush feels the pain the families of fallen solders feel (Yeah. I'm sure he does), but his first comment is very telling. When they aren't being used a backdrops or props for political gain, these men and women are just numbers to this administration.



Blogger Katrina said...

so instead hes trying to distract everyone and the partisan muck in the house about pulling out of iraq by making the worlds largest marine sanctuary.
too little, too late.
how about a nice big nature preserve in alaska? or is land WITHOUT oil under it only special enough for our government to protect. Gee. theres oil underground in iraq. I'm seeing a theme here...

PS- the quotes in your last title about "Digg" and aol is giving me scripting errors in the right-hand nav. " is your friend :o)

11:00 AM  
Blogger wayne said...

2500 huh?

Sounds like a good small number, considering that there are 120,000 men there, and their enemies have actively been trying to kill them for three years, now.

Why don't you complain about something worthwhile? Like the more than 50,000 Americans killed by drunk drivers right here in the US in the same time frame? This is worse than what is happening in Iraq; There, we are in an armed conflict. Here, it is sheer irresponsible behavior that is killing people who have not volunteered to put themselves in harm's way.

2:25 AM  
Blogger KFarmer said...

I wonder if they would feel the same way if one of their children or grandchildren were over there on the line getting their asses shot off?

Being a military brat, I figured out a long time ago the service men and women of this country are just numbers to the head honchos.

2500? What's that to them? Nothing. A drop in the bucket- we have plenty more to spare; just ask them.

Thanks for posting about the boys and girls-

6:54 AM  
Blogger leathej1 said...


So, if I am following your rationale, a 1 in 48 casualty rate is acceptable in warfare, but a 1 in 6000 rate is not acceptable for alcohol-related driving fatalities. Where does the 1 in 5000 Iraqi civilians killed since the beginning of the war square up with your statistical model?

BTW, how does Vietnam measure out in your mind? Here is a nice bunch of numbers for you to crunch - let me know your analysis.

7:00 AM  
Blogger wayne said...

The "1 in 6000" are not engaged in warfare; They have not volunteered to put themselves in harm's way.

The 120,000 figure is not exactly accurate. I was going by a number I saw recently. A data sheet from the veterans administration (circa November 2005) lists the total number of servicemen deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq as 185,329. They do not offer a separate listing for each. Just going by the Nov 2005 numbers, the toll is 1:83 for men deployed to both of these places. This includes the 1674 battle deaths and the 563 "other" deaths in theater, which are mostly accidents. (Vehicle collisions etc. again, circa Nov 2005, the most recent official numbers I could find in a 3 minute search.)

Historically, the percentages we've lost in wars has varied widely. In the Gulf War, we lost 1:1818 whereas the Civil War saw 1:6. War is messy. Anyone who promises anything different is smoking something he shouldn't.

As for civilians... I'm sure you've heard the argument that "never before in history has any military force been so careful about avoiding civilian casualties" so I won't harp on it. There are going to be civilian casualties in war, especially when the other side not only doesn't try to avoid them, but gets to use them to gain political points in the enemy's home country. To them, death is not something to be feared. It is something to be used against us. They do not care if they kill thousands of their own people.

But upon re-reading, I think the point of the original blog is not about the death and destruction, but about the politics.

This blogger seems to claim that President Bush is some sort of sociopath, not caring that these men are dying; Well, that just takes some real balls. What is the the President supposed to do, throw himself over the caskets at 2500 funerals and wail and moan? His political opponents will never miss any chance to make any words he offers seem insincere or politically contrived. As far as I can see, silence on the issue is his best policy. After all, You and I don't get all weepy thinking about these men all day, every day, so how is it that the President is supposed to be held to that standard? If he did such a thing, no governing would ever get done! I certainly don't enjoy the fact that these men's families have lost loved ones. I know what they are feeling; I have lost friends and relatives to various accidents and diseases, and I know the hole that death leaves in the hearts of those left behind. This is no reason to abandon a fight for a just cause.

Finally, the page you linked provided this line (regarding our loss in Vietnam):
"Nearly 75% Of the public agrees it was a failure of political will not of arms."

This is a sore point with a lot of military friends my wife and I have. They are disgusted by what they see on the news. These men have been there and seen their enemies beaten time and again, yet when they see our news coverage, we seem to be losing. One of our friends doesn't like coming home, and has asked to stay in Iraq even after being shot multiple times. Coming home and seeing the news telling everyone that we're losing makes him physically ill. One night when he was in his cups, he vowed to kill any reporter he ran into over there. He was serious, too.

These men see something worth their blood, sweat and tears over there. They don't want to die, but they are willing to take the chance to get the job done. For us to sit here in relative safety and b!tc# because we've lost a few men does a disservice to all of them, living and dead.

6:59 AM  
Blogger leathej1 said...

Between my bitching that deaths are taking place, and your insisting that all is statistically well, we ought to have the couch fair and balanced.

IOW, when your blood, sweat and tears run cold on the desert floor, I will lend credence to your view. Until that time, don't even bother telling me how valiant my brother was. You are just as clueless as I am.

2:48 PM  
Blogger wayne said...

Fair enough.

I may not be anything close to an authority, but I do know something about the military. I was in the Army, though I was out before this hit the fan, and never went into any of the "hot spots."

8:45 PM  

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