Monday, March 24, 2008

War and scale

It really saddens me to hear that the death toll for U.S. soldiers in Iraq has now hit the 4,000 mark.

But, whenever I hear about the human cost of this counterinsurgency, my thoughts turn to the last great American counterinsurgency, the Vietnam war, and how much of a greater loss we suffered there -- some 58,000 soldiers dead, well over 10 times the Iraq loss so far.

This smaller death toll is why a draft has not been reinstated. It is why there are not huge masses of college students protesting in the streets like there were in the 60s. It's why the nation has not been torn apart the terrible way we were then.

My heart breaks at the loss in this Iraq war, but I am also thankful that it has not reached the horrific levels of Vietnam.

It is my hope and prayer that this war will come to an end soon and that the loss of life -- so much greater for Iraqis than it has been for us -- will come to and end as well . . . . and that we will never fail to honor the sacrifice of our soldiers and their families, both in this war and in Vietnam, as well as all in the conflicts that came before them.

The image to the right, by the way, is of the final evacuation from the roof of the American embassy in Saigon on April 29, 1975.

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