January 2, 2007

The Numbers Ghouls: 3 Years = 2 D-Day's

When it comes to Iraq the media has fewer than 2 dozen reporters embedded in the country, AP can't find or even prove one of their trusted "sources" existed, but they do love a nice warm body count made from the safety of their offices back home in "The Happy World."

It's tough to understand a war, tougher still to admit that, like it or not, we're going to have to have a military presence in the middle east for a long, long time, and toughest of all to understand and communicate the deeper meaning of sacrifice and patriotism when you've practiced none of the former and have never felt the latter. So, a day spent humping and pumping the magic number "3,000" as the new death total in the war is better than just sitting around writing about Paris Hilton and her sister Spears.

After all, even if the fine granulation of a forward slanting foreign policy backed with the sword eludes you, you can at least, like a circus horse, count. And, after all, for those to whom the history of war is just so much fog, 3,000 seems like a big number. It has the added fact of being every so edgy and ironic to point out that this is the same number of civilians killed on 9/11. The point being, I suppose, that "Well, we're even so we can go home now back to "The Happy World of Clintonian Times."

But time doesn't run backwards, not even in "The Happy World," so the numbers ghouls of the media are just going to have to satisfy themselves with what is by now a sad and stupid ritual: going out to find the family of the solider killed at 2,000, 2,500, 3,000 and asking them "Well, just how do you feel?" Then they just step back and film or write about the ever-so-surprising answer.

Feeling, you see, is very important to these ghouls. Feeling trumps everything in "The Happy World." There's no room for seeking a greater meaning to the sacrifice, or asking the harder questions of just what we are to do with a war in which the enemy can only be stopped with a bullet, a bomb or a noose; a war we so far refuse to fight out of, well, "feelings."

Instead, we are treated -- at every round number -- to ye olde "human interest" story. Our scribes of "The Happy World" forget -- if they ever knew -- that the only reason they have the time and the room for these ghoulish stories is because, so far, we've been lucky to run this war on the cheap in terms of treasure and money. If this were elsewhen, before "The Happy World," they wouldn't have the time or the space to run these stories. The losses would simply overwhelm them. Case in point:Casualties D-Day and the Battle of Normandy "The breakdown of US casualties was 1465 dead."

That was when one battle over the course of mere days carried away 50% of the current losses in Iraq. It is, of course, a common, almost banal, comparison and doesn't penetrate the brains pans of those in "The Happy World." Indeed, it is now evident that nothing will ever penetrate those brain pans -- until the blast kicks in the walls and the windows of all the news operations running full speed to get the latest "human interest" story as all the co-workers in the news room -- for one brief shining moment -- turn into human torches.

I wonder who will be left to do that nice warm body count.

Posted by Vanderleun at January 2, 2007 6:36 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Then there's the combined Union and Confederate body count for just one day of Civil War fighting-- Antietam, 1862-- 3,654. That's not counting the 17,500 wounded. Those men died or suffered serious injuries to preserve the country these morons hold so cheap.

Thanks for another thoughtful post.

Posted by: Connecticut Yankee at January 3, 2007 2:18 AM

I think the body count on D-Day was higher, but wait, we're not counting the allies, right?

Anyway, I like comparisons with the American Civil War better. I mean, pick almost any big battle and there were more dead Americans in a few hours than in 3 years of fighting in Iraq.

So, was *that* worth it?

Posted by: Eric Blair at January 3, 2007 5:41 AM

I'm surprised none of the TV outlets have hired Jerry Lewis and Ed McMahon to do the casualty reports.

"Yeah, oh yeah..."

Posted by: Rich Fader at January 3, 2007 6:59 AM

And we only had 14,643 murders in the U.S. in eleven months of 2006, down from about 17,000 in 2005. We seem to beat the Iraqs' at everything.

Posted by: RunningRoach at January 3, 2007 8:08 AM

Spending men and material in war is often necessary, but in WW2 there was a clear and quantifiable objective. There is no equivalent to the occupation of Germany and the destruction of its army as a fighting force in this current conflict.

This war does not conform to the Powell Doctrine: force, when used, should be overwhelming and disproportionate to the force used by the enemy; there must be strong support for the campaign by the general public; and there must be a clear exit strategy from the conflict in which the military is engaged.

In these circumstances the press can and will whip up hysteria with any and all news from the front. What else do you expect?

Posted by: Al - London at January 3, 2007 12:00 PM

D-Day wasn't a misguided, pointless, unjust waste of time and effort lead by fools. Our effort in Iraq is. Makes a difference in how one views the casualty toll -- at least to those of us with consciences.

As for the dead at Antietam: many died there not to "preserve the country" but to divide it and maintain the right to own other humans.

Posted by: mbowdoin at January 3, 2007 1:19 PM

Plus, it's only mentioned many many paragraphs down in these MSM articles (if it's mentioned at all), that 20% of US deaths in Iraq have been non-combat related.

And this is the same MSM that was so upset about body counts of the enemy in the Vietnam War--so much so that enemy body counts are no longer routinely released by our military. Therefore, the body counts that remain--the ones the MSM feasts on with barely-contained shadenfreude--are our own.

Posted by: neo-neocon at January 3, 2007 1:57 PM

mbowdoin: And your proof that Iraq is what you say is what exactly?

Al-London: Exactly when are the troops supposed to be coming home from Germany? (or Japan?)

Posted by: Eric Blair at January 3, 2007 3:15 PM

No one opposes the Iraq war out of mere "feelings." We oppose it because it's a gross strategic blunder. We oppose it because its apparent outcome will be the creation of a Shiite ally of Iran; because the neo-con plan to demonstrate our willingness and ability to bring the fight to the enemy has demonstrated the opposite; because the overthrow of a secular Baathist regime as a means of taking down radical Islamicists was, shall we say, counterintuitive.

Dress it up as a fine-grained forward-thrusting foreign policy if you like, and pretend that it's we who don't quite grasp the situation to your heart's content. Events have already proved you wrong.

Posted by: Kyron at January 3, 2007 4:49 PM

If you think that Iraq is all that is in play in the forward movement of US foreign policy in this area, lets meet again to discuss in two years. As was once said on that holy of holy, The West Wing, "See the whole board."

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at January 3, 2007 5:03 PM

Ghouls??!!, you mean all the alleged pro lifers who go into orgasms celebrating death and war? Go to Iraq and get killed, you stupid gung ho Nazi and stuff your crummy blog!

[Editor: This unaltered comment has been brought to you by the typist with the stuck ? and ! keys who signs himself as "Dumbo" and whose email handle is "dumass." Draw your own conclusions.]

Posted by: Dumbo at January 3, 2007 5:10 PM

"[Editor: This unaltered comment has been brought to you by the typist with the stuck ? and ! keys who signs himself as "Dumbo" and whose email handle is "dumass." Draw your own conclusions.]"

Kill the messenger, don't discuss the message! After all, God is on your side, so intelligently debating a point is unnecessary, just beat, shoot and blast all your enemies. After all, anyone who disagrees with Bush and you is the enemy. Why should I reveal my bonsfides to hostile, fascistic people like you?

[Editor: Thus doth the Dumbo drive off in a blue 1969 Huff. Pssst, Dumbo, it is ... bona fides. ]

Posted by: Dumbo at January 3, 2007 6:21 PM

These "people", these "Iraqis", they just slaughter each other with blind abandon. What on earth can we do?

There are largely the Shia, the Sunnis, and, the Kurds. None are fighting for Iraq, but rather their "grouping". Then there are the neighborhood militias, criminals, down to the bona-fide "terrorist cell". All of them in a mad race to see just how many civilians they can slaughter in a days time.

How is all this butchering going to manifest itself into a nation?

To hell with the Arabs! They are incapable democracy. They need the heavy hand of government about their necks or order issolves completely. We should leave now and let them have at each other in their never ending blood lust. You cannot advance such violent people a thousand years in a decade, or even two. Its not worth it to try.

Let it be known, any nation threatening us or harboring those that attack us, we will invade and leave their nation destroyed, their leadership dead. We will leave them at each other's throats and do it again and again if necessary!

Simply deny them the possiblity of insurgency against us by not being there.

Posted by: Sal at January 4, 2007 1:30 AM