More soldiers dead in Iraq. A Reuters report indicates that 389 troops have died since the commencement of hostilities – but 274 of those since May 1, when Bush famously pronounced that major combat had ceased. Many of these are being killed by IEDs – Improvised Explosive Devices – that are placed by the major roads and where troops patrol. As the soldiers pass, in convoy or on foot, the bombs are detonated and the guerrila fighters supplement the explosives with small arms fire.
Since more soldiers have died – and continue to die – since the end of the “war”, one wonders what the threshold is for military deaths – 2x as many as in the combat period, 3x? The Reuters article outlines the latest troop deaths, in Baghdad and due to another explosive device. The Chicago Tribune recently noted that the number of women soldiers killed in Iraq has now surpassed the number of U.S. servicewomen killed in war since World War II.
While trying to be balanced – with family in the military, one tries to see both sides of things, since the whole purpose of the military is to fight wars and kill or be killed – the Doonesbury strip today (March 14) summed up my thoughts of this particular war, or whatever the Administration is calling it. Any number of informed leaders have predicted the coming mire and lack of a clear purpose for the military in Iraq, ours or any of the other nations who have sent their soldiers. Hopefully it will not require a wait until the 2004 Election for there to be a clear sign that the war is a mistake and American leadership need to extract the soldiers as quickly as possible.