[Vision2020] Marking a Milestone

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Tue Sep 26 11:30:36 PDT 2006

>From the October 2, 2006 edition of the Army Times -


Editorial: Marking a Milestone
The Army Times Editorial Staff

The U.S. reached a somber milestone in mid-September as the combined
American military death toll in Afghanistan and Iraq topped 3,000.

This is significant not only for the weight of that round number, but
because U.S. combat deaths now top the number of Americans who died on Sept.
11, 2001 (for the record: 2,973, with 24 others missing and presumed dead).

This newspaper marked the 3,000th U.S. combat death with two pages of
statistical analysis that showed who these heroes were, where they came from
and how they died. Yet the milestone was virtually ignored by the major U.S.

How could that be? Two disheartening theories:

. The intensity and scale of the Iraq war (almost 2,700 U.S. combat deaths)
has made an afterthought of the more than 330 U.S. troops who have died in
Afghanistan - more than 40 of whom were killed since June 1.

. Five years into major combat operations, Americans have become so numb to
news about the carnage that they aren't paying attention anymore.

This second theory is supported by a series of random interviews with
tourists in Washington conducted by Army Times on Sept. 15. In the shadow of
the Washington Monument, only four of 18 people were aware that the number
of Americans killed in the combat zones was close to 3,000. The other 14
responses ranged from "no clue" to "37,000."

Military people don't ask too much of the country they defend. But ensuring
their countrymen know the price of their service seems a small thing to

The ultimate cost of war must be measured not in dollars spent, bullets
fired, or sorties flown, but in blood spilled. As such, periodic looks at
the wars' toll offer a sobering reminder of the price paid on our behalf by
soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines fighting a perplexing enemy.

Without those reminders, we as a nation run the risk of losing something
even greater than the wars themselves:

Our humanity.


Pro patria,

Tom Hansen
Vandalville, Idaho

"Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil
and steady dedication of a lifetime." 

--Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.

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