Hard as it is for all of us to confront, the loss of life in Iraq must be looked at in current and historical ways.
Comparing our current human loss with past losses is our only measuring stick. During the two-year period of 1963 and 1964 in Vietnam the United States military loss was 324. The first incursion into Iraq in 1991 saw the loss of 147 servicemen. Since March 20, 2003, the loss of military service men and women as of October 17, 2003, was 336.
Our military losses in the past seven months have surpassed the death toll of two years in Vietnam. It was reported that there were 43 attacks on our military troops on Sunday, October 19, 2003. If May 1, 2003, signified the end of “major battles” in Iraq, why are the losses not stopping? Why are the deaths not declining? Why are we still fighting throughout Iraq?
The following graph illustrates the losses:
One thing that is truly apparent from this graph is that these numbers will only become larger and never diminish.
On Saturday, October 18, Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz told reporters that it is likely that our troops will be in Iraq
Was the stage managed appearance of “Mission Accomplished” on the decks of the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1 just a miscalculation or was it a deception?
George Bush has begun a new public relations campaign to sell our continued military occupation of Iraq to the public. He has stated that he believes that the “media” has focused too much upon the deaths of our men and women. He feels that we are not hearing enough of the positive things that are happening in Iraq. He also stated that he would be the one to “hug” the mothers and wives of the soldiers lost in this conflict yet he has not attended even one funeral of these men and women.
At the onset of this military adventure, George Bush requested $79 Billion and told our congressional representatives that sum would cover the cost of our involvement for one year. An additional $87 Billion was approved by our congress last week, making the financial cost for the first year $166 Billion.
The US Treasury released its financial statement for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2003, showing a deficit for that period to be $374 Billion. This deficit does not take into account the sums that were used from our Social Security Trust Fund in the amount of $160 Billion, nor the sums that were removed from the other pension funds that the government administers. Without these amounts, our deficit would have exceeded $500 Billion for the one year period.
In 1965, we lost 1,863 and in 1966, we lost 11,153. The total losses for Vietnam numbered greater than 58,000 with a financial burden that caused our nation to fall from surplus to deficit.
Repeating history because we fail to learn its lessons may be human nature, but our country and its citizens have demonstrated a tremendous resiliency and the ability to grow in a positive nature. I can only hope that we, collectively, can convince our governmental employees to cease their imperial designs.
BRIDGET GIBSON can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org