Reuters reports today that the U.S. death toll in Iraq has reached 3,000 service personnel. That's a lot of people. I've heard coments that have previously been made by the GOP that Iraq's casualty rate is small compared to WWII's 400,000 or Vietnam's 55,000. That seems really misplaced and bizarre to me. It seems like that type of thinking diminishes the deaths that have already occurred. Something like - okay, well it's not costing THAT many lives, so we can keep going, no matter how misguided the adventure. If anything, the lives at risk are so valuable that we shouldn't keep letting more people be put in harm's way. Does the validity of one solider's death increase because another one has died? Weird.
So then why did Americans tolerate high casualty rates in prior wars? WWII the threat was obvious, and for Vietnam, anyway, I suspect support for the war was initially strong because much of the country viewed Communism as a serious threat to civilization.
But a funny thing happened with Vietnam, it turns out that losing that war did not send the U.S. into a tailspin, and Vietnam seems to be turing out to be a stable and ecconomically growing country. So I wonder just how much more Americans are going to take of this - based on this year's elections, it seems we've had it with Iraq. But we've got two more years of Bush - what to do? Rather than wait for 2008, I wonder if it is time to take to the streets in protest.
One other item -- I'd like to point to the icasualties website to highlight something that is severely underreported, and that is the wounded tally. We've had 22,000 U.S. service personnel wounded, and ANOTHER 18,000 that have had to be medivaced (spelling??) out due to disease. What?? That's 42,000 freekin' people who have had to be airlifted out due to wounds or disease. No wonder we don't have enough troops. I'd like to see a little more public dissemination of these figures.