Friday, October 20, 2006

An Unhappy Convergence

"A few years ago their guns were only toys..."

--Phil Ochs, Here Comes the Parade

Some time in the next few months, there is going to be an unhappy convergence coming up.

About a year ago, as it was clear to everybody but right-wing nutjobs that the Iraq war has become a quagmire with no clear exit, I had a terrible thought: that the American military deaths in Iraq were going surpass the number of Americans killed on 9/11, the ostensible excuse for the war.

Including those who are missing, presumed dead, there were 2,997 killed in the 9/11 attacks. According to the website of the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, as of today there were 2,788 American soldiers killed in the Iraq debacle. There certainly will be at least another 209 deaths before this is over.


Bubs said...

A very sad milestone.

I just got done reading Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas Ricks. It was illuminating and infuriating as hell. Our military has done a superb job of adapting and winning, tactically, with no direction or strategy from the top--which is a recipe for disaster. I seriously fear that this administration is on the verge of breaking our military and leaving it in the kind of state it was in in the mid-late 70's.

Johnny Yen said...

That's on my "next to read" list-- I actually almost stopped in a used bookstore when I saw it in the window a couple of weeks ago.

Isn't it ironic that it begins and ends with a directionless war in asia filled with tactical victories and strategic disaster? You're right-- this war has been draining to the military in a way similar to the way Vietnam was. And there you have Rumsfield, jabbering on about using technology just like Macnamara and his boys.

One of my regulars at the restaurant was Rumsfield's personal secretary years ago. She says that he is every bit the petty, obnoxious tyrant he appears to be.

Bubs said...

There you have it.

Read "Dereliction of Duty" (not the Clinton book, but the one by HR McMaster about the Joint Chiefs and McNamara during Vietnam.) The parallels are frightening--a know-it-all intellectual Sec of Defense running the military according to abstract theories he's brought in from the private sector.

Johnny Yen said...

Thanks for the recommendation!