9 Out of 10 Die After "Major Combat" Ends

Thursday, May 12, 2005

9 Out of 10 Die After "Major Combat" Ends

This week, the Washington Post provided an interesting breakdown of the U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq:
As of Monday, May 9, 2005, at least 1,603 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,224 died as a result of hostile action, according to the Defense Department. The figures include four military civilians.

... Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 1,465 U.S. military members have died, according to AP's count.
In other words, 91 percent of the deceased U.S. military personnel were killed after "major combat operations" were concluded.

That 91 percent figure exposes the emptiness and silliness behind the president's declaration, which was made in front of the "Mission Accomplished" banner. Of course, this declaration was all only about creating a photo-op laden with patriotic imagery.

It makes one wonder if the Pentagon learned anything about the nature of guerrilla and insurgent warfare from Vietnam, Lebanon and other places where we have stationed troops since the 1960's.

One quick footnote related to President Bush's much-ballyhooed "coalition of the willing" -- it's worth noting that more U.S. military personnel died in a two-month period (Oct.-Nov. 2004) than all of the military personnel from Britain and all other countries combined throughout the duration of the Iraq War.

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