Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The names of the dead

As the death toll of U.S. soldiers in Iraq falls, it is rising among GI's serving in Afghanistan (and also among Afghan civilians.) But the names of the dead are largely hidden in the back pages of the New York Times, and the sacrifices that they and their families have made have fallen off the radar screens of most Americans.

Indeed, it is amazing how little public debate there has been about the Obama adminstration's military strategy for Afghanistan, which could lead to a disaster as large or larger than that in Iraq and with possibly even greater consequences for the region (the theater of war includes nuclear-armed Pakistan, of course.) Iraq was George W. Bush's Vietnam; will Afghanistan be Barack Obama's Iraq?

Meanwhile, from page A10 of the Times:

The Department of Defense has identified 4,246 American service members who have died since the start of the Iraq war and 652 who have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations. It confirmed the deaths of the following Americans last week:


CONNELLY, Brian M., 26, Specialist, Army; Union Beach, N.J.; First Armored Division.


BUNTING, Brian M., 29, Capt., Army; Potomac, Md.; 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

PATCH, Schuyler B., 25, Sgt., Army; Owasso, Okla.; 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

STREAM, Scott B., 39, Sgt., Army; Mattoon, Ill.; 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

THOMPSON, Daniel J., 24, Sgt., Army; Madison, Wis.; 715th Military Police Company.

A version of this article appeared in print on March 3, 2009, on page A10 of the New York edition.

What's the strategy in Afghanistan?Bob Herbert asks that question in the New York Times today. No one seems to have the answer, not even our Secretary of Defense. Herbert suggests that President Obama take a look back at the legacy of Lyndon Johnson.


Richard said...

The American casualties (only the dead, not including the wounded, disabled and traumatised) now surpass 150% of the victims of 9/11
For what?

The Iraquis and Afghans have also died at the ratio of 250:1, and 4 times as many have been made refugees.

There isn't a hope in hell that any kind of 'progress' whatsoever can be achieved in Afghanistan, and if Pakistan is 'tipped over' by American clumsiness, that'll be that.

The very best thing that Obama could do would be to declare victory in both places, and bring your troops home.

Anne Gilbert said...

This looming war in Afghanistan looks to be a potential Absolute Mess! And not only will it be an Absolute Mess, but it will be a worse mess than Iraq ever thought of being. I don't know if Obama or his advisers realize this, but nobody, I repeat, nobody, has ever really subdued the people of Afghanistan. We all know what happened when the Russians tried. The British tried, several times, in the 19th century, with no success whatever. The neighboring Iranians tried, and they didn't succeed. Even Alexander the Great didn't succeed. If you have to go back that far, and find that nobody could "do anything" with the Afghan people, where the heck do Obama and his advisers get the idea that they will do any better?
Anne G