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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


John Hinderaker at Powerline has an important post on casualties.

He points at that in the 1990's, the U.S. military suffered about 1,000 deaths a year just from accidents. So a typical 2 1/2 year run in the 1990's had, on average, about 2,500 deaths - more than have been suffered in the 2 1/2 years we've been in Iraq.

The press's constant drumbeat on casualties is, in effect, their playing something like the Cindy Sheehan trump card. It somehow seems so cold and heartless to point out that casualties have been light that they know their ideological opponents won't do it.

But consider this. We've replaced the government of a country of some 25 million people in a 2 1/2 year war/counterinsurgency at the cost of 1800 combat deaths. In the battle of Normandy alone, we lost 54,000 soldiers, at a time when our country had less than half our current population. Now, of course, to the families of these 1800 soldiers and marines, each death is a life altering tragedy. But this is true for every training accident death in peacetime as well, and true every time a police officer or firefighter dies. (In the two years 1997-98, 315 police officers and 188 firefighters, were killed.) The constant focus on casualties at the expense of practically any other reporting has its effects. Writes Hinderaker

We are conducting an experiment never before seen, as far as I know, in the history of the human race. We are trying to fight a war under the auspices of an establishment that is determined--to put the most charitable face on it--to emphasize American casualties over all other information about the war.