ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Casualties of War and Other Concerns


With Zarqawi dispatched to the Brothel Eternal and the president safely back from Iraq, it seemed a good time to take a sober look at a serious subject, what we have paid in Iraq in human terms and where we might be going.

For months I have thought about a post on the subject of casualties we have sustained in Iraq. It is not an easy subject upon which to post. Afterall, one death or maiming is awful. Any attempt to put casualties in historical perspective has an apparent element of calousness. But without such perspective it is difficult to ascertain where we are. Casualties are one of the standards by which we measure success and failure in warfare. With the approaching 3,000th death of an American soldier, and knowing full well what the MSM and their allies on the Left will do when we reach that number, I felt compelled to say something to try to bring a bit of perspective.

Let us pick some incidents or engagements at random, say September 11, 2001. How many Americans were killed that day? 3,000 or so? How about June 6, 1944 (D-Day), roughly 4,000 killed on the first day. Battle of Gettysburg, approximately 25,000 casualties of all kinds over three days. Battle of Fredericksburg, 15,000 in one day. Antietam? Shiloh? Anzio? Ardennes?

Truth be known, the casualties suffered in Iraq in over three years of fighting, less than 20,000 of all kinds, less than 3,000 killed, are incredibly light. One can find fault with much about what has been done militarily in Iraq, but casualties is not one of them.

Would Patton, MacArthur, Grant ot Sherman have fought this war as we have? I do not think so. Those were generals who knew the way to keep the total number casualties as low as possible was to crush the enemy and to do so as quickly as possible. "War is hell," in the immortal words of Sherman. While the upfront casualties would certainly be high, by ending the war quickly, the total casualties over time would be significantly lower. This was the theory advanced by Colin Powell before we went to Iraq. His advice was not followed.

And it is here that I find fault with what we have done. We have not applied the force necessary to bring this war to an end. I was opposed to this war from the outset in part as I thought we might end up exactly where we are, fighting a battle of attrition in a place where we are hugely outnumbered. This is not a formula for success. We are depending on our Iraqi allies to pick up the slack. I hope we are right, but I am not convinced. We should have done it ourselves if we were going to do it at all, as we did in The South, Germany and Japan.

Be that as it may, we are where we are. The moonbats are wrong in their cut and run thinking. The Peace (Copperhead) Democrats are wrong in their calls for a "timetable" for withdrawl. (Can you imagine if we had set a timetable for the conquest of Nazi Germany?) The job will be over when it is over.

While casualties are not an issue at this point, they could well become one if we do not do what is necessary to obtain victory. Perhaps the president and Rumsfeld are right and the Iraqis will "standup" for themselves. I do hope so. But what if they do not? We seem be be betting the ranch on a questionable hand.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Update:

Flipped over to Drudge, and apparently Reuters (who else?) could not wait for the deaths in Iraq to get to 3,000.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thu Jun 15, 8:29 AM ET
The number of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq war has reached 2,500, the Pentagon said on Thursday, more than three years into a conflict that finds U.S. and allied foreign forces locked in a struggle with a resilient insurgency.


Tourist walk hand-in-hand towards the White House, around a mock coffin representing a dead U.S. soldier left there by anti-war protesters in Washington, June 14, 2006. (Jason Reed/Reuters)"

Comments (2)
Brian said...

Can a "Shermanesque" War be waged in the era of 24 hour news and CNN? I would conjecture to say no.

All out war is no longer an option in the globally connected society. Certainly not with an administration that is at odds with organizations that buy ink by the gallon, and pixels by the gigabytes.

Monterey John said...

That's why he gets the big bucks.