Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The debate hasn't even started - and I'm already pissed off

The last presidential debate is about to start, and just watching the pre-game show has me pissed off. On CNN, there's a bunch of morons holding up signs behind the talking heads outside the debate arena.

The cameras captured this image (courtesy video capture from the LG):

It's kind of hard to make out, but the sign reads "1140 U.S. DEAD", which I suppose is an anti-Iraq-war sign.

Let's recap:

• American Revolution - 4,435 U.S. (colonial) dead
• War of 1812 - 2,260 U.S. dead
• Mexican War - 13,283 U.S. dead
• U.S. Civil War - 364,511 U.S. dead (and 133,821 C.S.A. dead)
• Spanish-American War - 2,446 U.S. dead
• Philippine-American War - 3,216 U.S. dead
• World War I - 116,516 U.S. dead
• World War II - 405,399 U.S. dead
• Korean War - 36,574 U.S. dead
• Vietnam War - 58,200 U.S. dead

There are a lot of arguments you can make against the war in Iraq, and I have a lot of doubts about the wisdom of us waging it. But the 1,140 U.S. deaths so far isn't one of them. From a militaristic standpoint, losing 1,140 soldiers in this campaign is a tremendous success. Sure, it sucks for the families and friends of those 1,140 soldiers, but the military is not about the individual; it's about the mission.

We defeated a real army, took over a country the size of Washington and Oregon and have held things in reasonable order despite every Mullah and his mother having machine guns and RPGs. And we've lost 1,140 soldiers in 20 months.

You'll notice my war dead count above ended with Vietnam. That's because since Vietnam, the U.S. has done a good job of staying out of unwinnable wars and has built the most powerful, efficient and life-preserving war machine the world has ever known.

We lost 19 soldiers in Grenada, 40 in Panama, 383 in the first Gulf War, 43 in Somalia, 12 in Bosnia and 115 (so far) in Afghanistan.

That's out-freaking-standing. But it makes some Americans forget that 58,000 soldiers were killed in a war that ended only 30 years ago.

That war was about pointless and tragic loss of life. The Iraq war isn't.


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