Tuesday, December 26, 2006

2,974 to 2,973

It was with great joy that the newsreader announced that more soldiers have died in Iraq than in the 9/11 attacks. How terrible that 2,974 servicemen and women have died in Iraq.

Except for the fact that they volunteered to stand on the front lines, to battle against tyranny and Islamic Fascists, to protect and defend the weak, and to bring freedom to a long-oppressed people. They died over the course of years rather than minutes; and, one could imagine that given the free rein to use the tools at their disposal, there would be fewer dead Americans and far more dead Al-Quaida.

Fewer soldiers have died than in Iraq than in the entire Korean War (which was fought to a stalemate, with fewer members of the coalition than in Iraq), or all of Viet Nam.

Oh, and last I checked, there haven't been any more terror attacks on US soil, so if that is the price that must be paid to defend the homeland, then it is a fair price.

The American fighting man and woman are the best in the world; but, their success on the battlefield is often moderated (or stifled) by general officers trying to keep their heads down (to ensure promotion or a post-military career in the defence industry) and ignorant politicians who are unwilling to define the objective (killing all of the bad guys) for fear of offending some group or class of people (gay Muslim polygamists, for instance).

War is not fought democratically. Rather, the soldiers are given the means to achieve victory, and an objective, and told to have at it. Sometimes the tools seem inadequate (the failure to provide adequate numbers of up-armoured HUMVEEs, for instance), but the GI is a tough and industrious soul. They figure out the solution, and move on, while the civilian world is still hemming and hawing about a problem already solved. (I note as an aside that there were no such complaints, or hearings, about the WWII Sherman Tank, which was something of a deathtrap compared to the superior German Panzers. The GIs figured out a way to win, when given the objective.)

In any event, it is sad that we have lost even one soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine fighting these savages; but, all things being equal, the price paid is worth the result.

Thank you to all of the American men and women under arms. God bless you.

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