Tuesday, January 1, 2008

"He who has ears..."

Today as I hurtled home from visiting my mother and the in-laws in Christmas-Kwanzaa-NewYear's-land, my thoughts turned to America's bravest and best. I hoped that all was and remained as well as possible with our men and women in Iraq. As discussed elsewhere, last month was on pace to have the least casualties for U.S. servicemen since the start of the war. Sadly, 23 Americans lost their lives in in December 2007, with 14 deaths resulting from hostile fire and 9 deaths not related to combat. (H/T: icasualties.org)

Those who decry President Bush's surge strategy - and the Iraq War more generally - will correctly point out that 2007 was the deadliest year for U.S. troops in Iraq. Of the 3904 military personnel who have been killed, 901 (some 23 percent of the total) were killed last year alone.
To be sure, a bit of perspective is in order, as the human decency that commands our reverence for these fallen also demands that we acknowledge what their sacrifice has brought about.

I suspect it is not entirely surprising that - with 30,000 more troops operating at a higher optempo - there were more deaths overall last year. Even so, December 2007 had the second lowest number of casualties since March 2003 (bested only by February 2004 with 20 Americans killed in action.) Deaths of Iraqi civilians and security forces
stand at 543 for December, by far their lowest since January 2006. Lest we conclude that all of this was something of a fluke, we would do well to observe that all of these parameters have been steadily improving since June 2007, when the military surge began in earnest; surely this is beyond coincidence.

Moreover, al-Qaeda in Iraq has been reduced to a shadow of its former self, and
Muqtada al-Sadr's Shiite militias are not nearly as menacing as they were even a few months ago. Doubtless, there is much to be done and much about which to be concerned in Iraq. But the suggestion on the part of the Left that we must make a hasty withdrawal from a Mesopotamian "quagmire" is both ill-considered and reckless. Democrat suggestions that we "finish the job" in Afghanistan notwithstanding, if we do not win with honor in Iraq, we can scarcely hope to leverage events in our favor in places like Iran or Pakistan.

As this is the time of year to make predictions, I will indulge myself. I predict that in all of their bloviating about 2007 being the deadliest for American troops in Iraq, we will hear neither the
Netroots nor the congressional Democrats utter a mumbling word about the positive effects of the surge, particularly its impact on fatalities. For its part, the MSM has made only oblique references, with CNN and ABC News making the most direct commentary on the drop in U.S. deaths. The abiding tragedy surrounding the loss of each of these 3900 lives is that the labors and sacrifices of the brave are negated and derided as a matter of course by the craven.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have we forgotten about weapons of mass destruction and the deceit of the American people in the reason for the invasion of Iraq in the first place?