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Friday, January 05, 2007


....is not a very big number, at least according to right wingers and some in the AP. They wonder why Americans are so upset about ONLY 3000 American war dead, when, in some major battles in WWII, more than that were lost in a single day. Americans have become wusses (cowards) they declaim, ensconced safely behind their keyboards.

There are two reasons why.

First, Americans OPPOSE this war, and they do so with a supermajority (over 70% at this time). It's one thing to have our servicemen and women die fighting to protect their native land and way of life from aggressors. It is another thing to have them die fighting for uncertain reasons in a foreign land. Colonial wars have never been popular on the home front.

Second, those who support this war and its escalation are those who, so to speak, don't have a dog in this fight. They're not at the front. Their relatives aren't at the front. Their friends and neighbors aren't at the front. "It's a volunteer army," they say. "We don't have to go. We're more valuable here at home, shoring up support for the war." Meanwhile, those who answered their nation's call for service are being sent on a second, or third, or even fourth tour of duty, often years after their enlistment was up.

Stop loss. Recall. Ready Reserve. National Guard.

How long before they have to call up the Boy Scouts and the VFW, anything to avoid a draft that might force the children of the rich and the powerful to partake in the war their fathers so eagerly started and supported?

There are many parallels to Viet Nam. Stephen Pizzo pointed out this one at SmirkingChimp:
An audio tape of Lyndon Johnson speaking to aides in the Oval Office in early 1966 has Johnson admitting that the Vietnam war was unwinnable and that he'd love to figure how to get out. But, he quickly added that there would be no American military defeat on his watch.

A look at the casualties on the day of that early 1966 conversation is instructive; the US had lost just a over 3000 troops in Vietnam. But, instead of ending a war he knew could not be won, Johnson “surged.” (Actually they used the right term in those days, “escalation.”)
In that same conversation Johnson worried out loud that, "if Congress knew what I know, they'd cut off funding," for the war.

By the end of 1966 killed in action casualties were over 5000. The next year over 14,000 more died. Ten years after that conversationaton 57,000 additional US soldiers were dead, and it was left to Gerald Ford to accept reality and bring all remaining US troops home.
But reality continues to elude those who still the support the war. "Leaving is losing" says our War-Time President.

Others have experienced an even greater loss.


Because even one unnecessary death is one too many. Especially when it is someone you know and love.


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