Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Iraq: D+ Five Years

Some reflections on the 5th Anniversary of launching Operation Iraqi Freedom:

1) Of course, I remember vividly watching the news coverage. In particular, I remember a FOX News reporter broadcasting from outside RAF Fairford commenting on the Air Force B-52H bombers that were heading off on their bombing missions to Iraq with a comment that, "they're five or six hours away from their targets over Iraq." To which I recall replying to the TV, "or 10 to 12 hours from their targets over Pyongyang, and just 30 minutes from their targets in Paris!" I'm so glad we have allies like France (at that time, Sarkozy will hopefully be another story) on our side.

2) Being woken up by the live report by FOX's Greg Kelly from Saddam's front yard in Baghdad at about 4:00 AM was awesome.

3) I am an Iraq war supporter. I am also one who believes that the conduct of the war has been atrocious. If I was asked how I thought the war was being conducted, I'd have to say poorly - which of course would translate in a poll that I oppose the war. I'm upset that we haven't been more violent, destroyed more of the enemy, completely destroyed their will to fight, etc.

4) There have been almost 4,000 Americans killed in action in Iraq, and around 29,000 wounded. Given the size of the force and the duration of conflict, from a military perspective there have been zero casualties. I am not saying that to minimize the sacrifices of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, nor am I discounting the pain and suffering of the fallen, wounded, or their families - the sacrifices made by our forces and their loved ones are significant and I honor them all for their sacrifices - but not one single unit has been rendered combat ineffective because of enemy action. Approximately 3,000 casualties were suffered by the 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions on D-Day. In the 35 days of the Battle of Iwo Jima, the United States suffered 26,504 casualties: 7,315 killed or missing and 19,189 wounded.

As of this post, the United States has suffered 3,987 killed and 29,320 wounded in Iraq; in 1,827 days.

That works out to 3 service members killed per day; the killed/missing rate for the Iwo Jima campaign was 209 per day - 70 times higher

That works out to 17 service members wounded per day; the wounded rate for Iwo Jima was 549 per day - 32 times higher

That works out to 19 total casualties per day; the total casualty rate at Iwo Jima was 758/day - 40 times higher

110,000 servicemen were involved at Iwo Jima - 24% became casualties.

The best estimate I can find on the Internet is that approximately 1 million unique American servicemen and women have served in Iraq. Let's be conservative, and say the number is actually 750,000. At the 750K number, just 4.5% of the total force has become casualties.

Can we please have some perspective on casualties?

5) May God continue to protect and care for our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen - wherever they serve, comfort our wounded, lessen the grief for the families of the lost, grant wisdom to the commanders and leaders, and guide our way to ultimate victory for the Forces of Freedom.

And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave,
O'er the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!

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