Thursday, October 27, 2005

Iraq War Deaths as a Political Weapon

It’s a thorny situation talking about the number of American military personnel who have died in the service of their country. Every life lost is a tragedy for the loved ones of that soldier, airman, seaman or Marine, and is a tragedy for the nation. I certainly don’t want to do or say anything that would diminish their service and their sacrifice.

That said, there is a real need to logically compare the lives lost in Iraq with the lives lost in other conflicts, just for the sake of creating perspective on this issue

Putting emotion and political ideology aside and looking at the numbers objectively, the numbers in Iraq pale in comparison to:

World War I: 1917-18, 116,516 deaths
World War II: 1941-46, 405,399 deaths
Korea: 1950-53, 36,574 deaths
Vietnam: 1964-73, 58,209 deaths
Civil War: 1861-65, 364,511 deaths
Iraq: 2003-05, 2,006 deaths

No argument can dispute those numbers. The fact is that the death rate in Iraq is dramatically lower than in any of those other conflicts, so much so that it ought not even be a part of the discussion.

But then the controversy is really not about the number of Americans who have died in Iraq. That number and those lives are merely a convenient tool of the anti-war movement, an emotionally loaded factoid that the Left uses to advance its argument against the war.

This senseless argument that because of the number of our brave military men and women who have died we ought to pull our troops out of Iraq is advanced because those people don’t support the war. They hate the war and they hate it because George Bush is President, and they hate George Bush.

It is an embarrassing and shameful reality that the level of political disagreement in the United States has sunk to a level where the deaths of military personnel have become little more than a bargaining chip in a political chess match.


Daddy said...

too true

Unknown said...

You know why, right? Plain and simple. Nothing sophisticated. No coordinated Vast Left Wing Conspiracy (the people on the left probably cannot muster that much coordination)... No depreciation of "Americanism" (however you may choose to define that)...

1. This administration has a developed a EXTREME reputation of NOT RESPECTING the views of people on the other side of the table. I will concede that they have diversified their cabinet in terms of "racial" diversity, etc. But not in terms of thought diversity. The mentality of "stay the course," and its larger implication of "I am right" about everything. People see the "phoniness" and arrogance associated with that mentality.

2. There is a perception (which we will soon know more about) that this was a war of choice... and BAD choice at that. Think of it this way:

World War I: 1917-18, 116,516 deaths
World War II: 1941-46, 405,399 deaths
Korea: 1950-53, 36,574 deaths
Civil War: 1861-65, 364,511 deaths

These wars have been perceived to be beneficial for the people of the United States and the world.

Vietnam: 1964-73, 58,209 deaths

This war was not perceived to be justified...

Which leads directly into where we are NOW:

Iraq: 2003-05, 2,006 deaths

This war is perceived as a war of choice... One that we are in probably because of LIES... and personal agendas.

Look at a penny. It has two sides.

Anonymous said...

I think it has most to do with the evolution of the news media, particularly 24 hr.

We'll probably see the same at every thousand mark, and then (hopefully not ) every 10,000 mark, etc. Round numbers make nice stories

James Shott said...

You know, MMA, the whole point of having political parties is that they represent differences of political opinion. One party is liberal and one party is conservative in our country. Do you think Bill Clinton changed the way he thought about things to accommodate the Republicans? Of course he didn’t. So it is not unusual for the Bush administration to follow its own line of thinking. To do otherwise would be silly, and would be capitulating to “the other side.” If you prefer the Democrat’s ideas, elect them next time, but don’t expect a Republican administration to behave like Democrats think it ought to.

The U.S. has become softheaded in recent decades. There’s far more emphasis on “feeling” instead of “thinking.” Anyone who is decisive is portrayed as stubborn and unyielding. But that is what leadership is all about. You run a business, right? Who makes the decisions, you or your employees? I don’t mean that you never seek input, but if it’s your business, you’d better be the one that makes the decisions.

Bush will have to pay the price if he’s wrong, but you surely understand that first of all we don’t yet know whether his policies are wrong. Just because some people don’t like them doesn’t mean they won’t be proven to have been the right policies. And even if the Democrats thought Bush's policies were the right ones, they would never acknowledge it. It would signify total defeat for them to do so.

As for unpopular wars, the only one I mentioned and that you commented on that wasn’t unpopular was WWII. Whether Iraq will be beneficial or not we don’t yet know, as you said. But if during the Revolutionary War, the Spanish-American War, the Mexican-American War, the War of 1812, WWI, the Civil War, or Korea the leaders had followed the wishes of the dissidents, all of the good things that came from them would have been forfeited. Thanks God we had strong leaders who stood their ground in the face of opposition.

You don’t seriously follow that crap about Bush lying about WMD, do you, because if you do, you have seriously overlooked the facts? I could give you a list of people who also believed that Saddam Hussein had WMD, but I’ll stop with just three: John Kerry, Jacques Chirac and the United Nations.

What flavor of Democrat KoolAid do you prefer?

If you keep up this faulty line of thinking, you’ll have to change you moniker!

James Shott said...

i e p, I wish you were right about that. No doubt the constant need for something to talk about on the 24-hour news channels helps, but the real reason that number, and every number along the way, is being cited is to bludgeon the Bush administration into submission.

I t won’t work, though. Bush will stick it out, because he believes he’s right. That’s a novel concept in politics these days, but thank God we finally have a President who sticks to his principles.

Unknown said...

"...whole point of having political parties is that they represent differences of political opinion..."

Hmmmm... the point of a political party, in my opinion, is to have slight gradations of difference in the basic social issues arena. In general, though, any political party should be representing the United States of America...

You can tell when this has happenned... When things are being done that represents the United States as a whole.

What am I talking about? Simple. There have been times in the past (1998, for instance, when Bill Clinton had a 70% approval rating by the American Public)... Ronald Reagan. Even George W. Bush... When they were doing things that was perceived to be fair and equitable.

FAIR AND EQUITABLE. The Equity Theory of Motivation. Working for the whole country, not just a specific segment. That is the purpose of a politician, whatever their particular political stripe.

James Shott said...

I think you’ve been reading the same sort of fiction you write :)

Political parties developed, and exist today, to join like-minded people together into a political force for the purpose of directing the policies of a government. Their motives may be pure, but not necessarily.

A President’s popularity has little to do with what’s “fair and equitable,” it has to do with whether people like what he’s doing.

People want the ideas they believe in represented in their government. Nothing more.

Unknown said...

Thus, the 38-9 approval rating! And the 58% taht think the country is headed in the wrong dirction!

James Shott said...

It is common for administrations to have problems develop in the second term, and to have low approval ratings. Bush's low ratings are not unusual, nor are they significant, except as a picture of where things are at this particular moment.

Many Presidents went on from "scandals" and low approval numbers to finish with good approval numbers. I cite Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan as two recent examples.