HOW MANY MORE AMERICANS MUST DIE?!?!
President Bush has recently announced that he intends to increase the number of troops in Iraq in an effort to bring order out of the chaos that exists there due to those whose sole mission is to destroy the lives of those who disagree with them. In my opinion, the biggest mistake our president and the Pentagon have made in the war in Iraq is sending too few troops to begin with. From the early days of the war, when Turkey denied the use of their air-space, troop levels have been too low to execute an effective campaign against terror and insurgents. So, to President Bush I say, "It's about time!"
With that introduction, you may be confused by the title of this post. The fact is that, for over a year, something has bugged me about the reporting of the number of troops killed or injured in Iraq. Each time the media reports the statistic, I get angry. I get angry for two reasons. Number one, it's war. War is a terrible situation and by definition involves death and injury. The fact is, America should be thankful that our troops are well trained and, generally speaking, well armed and that the number of injuries and fatalities is as low as it is.
According to icasualties.org, 3,018 trained military personnel have lost their lives since March of 2003 when the war began. *To be sure, our hearts and prayers goes out to each and every family and friend impacted by their death. There is certainly no words that can express their grief.*
At the same time, a political issue has been made of these deaths. The concern is that these deaths would have been preventable and these Americans would be alive today if we were to pull our troops out of Iraq. The fact is, logically speaking, these valiant men and women would not have died on foreign soil in the line of duty if we pulled them out of Iraq. However, that would be no guarantee that they would be alive today.
It may be that they would have been killed by a terrorist attack on our own country. They may have lost their life in a training accident on U.S. soil. Or, they may have been murdered while on leave. Perhaps they would have developed a disease and died, had a heart attack, stroke, or lethal drug interaction. We must admit that at least SOME of them would possibly have died even if they were "safe and sound" on American soil all this time.
"Safe and sound?" Perhaps not. The fact is, in the same time period as the war in Iraq, *over 50,000 Americans died in our own country in a manner that is 100% preventable*. That's right, over 15 times as many people died in America during the same period from something that is completely preventable.
Yet where is the outrage? Where are the protests? Where are the marches on Washington, state capitols, city halls to put an end to this travesty in America - this slaughter of innocent men, women, and children on our own soil?
Why are we cheapening the sacrifice of our noble men and women in the armed forces who are giving their lives in service to their neighbor? Why are we calling it "senseless" that they are attempting to bring peace and stability to a country ravaged by war and hate for hundreds of years? The fact is, those who died in Iraq are heroes. PERIOD. They lives were not meaningless, their deaths were not senseless. They gave their lives in service to their neighbor while living their life in their vocation and obedient to their calling.
But I have to wonder if we really need such a well trained military that has only 3,018 fatalities in a war that has lasted nearly 4 years when the Americans they are supposedly "defending" have killed over 50,000 fellow citizens and injured tens of thousands more - without even a periodic mention of this fact in the media.
Don't believe my numbers?!?!? Take a look for yourself and do the math! - The Iraq war began in late March, 2003. Based on 16,500 deaths per year (2004 there were 16,919 and 2005 there were 16,885), there have been approximately 60,390 alcohol related deaths in the U.S. since the beginning of April 2003 -- over 20 times as many Americans have died from drunk driving than US troops have been killed in the Iraq war - a situation that was 100% preventable.