Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Deathwatch 2006

The AP reports 2,949 US military dead in Iraq to 12/18. With only thirteen more killing days left before the end of 2006, it will take 3.92 soldier deaths per day to hit 3,000.

Now, we (these United States) are fully capable of doing our part. We have doomed them with crackpot, juvenile civilian leadership. We have sent them over there with insufficient body armor. We have extended their tours of duty so fatigue and despair may have their chances to add to the toll of violence. And we have staked our Army out where homemade weapons delivered by men on foot can damage the highest-tech equipment and the lowest-tech bodies.

But can we expect the Iraqi insurgents to do enough to meet the goal of 3,000 American dead by 12/31? Are they organized enough and dedicated enough to kill 51 more men and women out of the 140,000 soldiers in 112 US brigades engaged in combat?

Let's look at the record. One hundred three US deaths in October. Seventy-six in November. And fifty-six to a date in December not given by the casualty-counters over at Global Security.

So on a crude measurement, if the Iraqis can perform up to their October standard there is no doubt the count will reach 3,000 by the end of the year, but if they backslide to November's rate the count will fall short.

Now some either humorless or otherwise overly solemn speedreaders are likely to conclude that I am somehow dishonoring our serving men and women by adopting the breezy, jocular tone with which this diary has striven to entertain you. Or that I am not taking these deaths seriously. Or that in some fundamental way, differing from their fundamental way, I just don't get it.

Pshaw, pshaw, I say unto you. I am incandescent with rage over every one of the almost 3,000 admitted US deaths, not to mention the tens of thousands of US wounded and their disrupted families, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead, wounded, displaced or exiled. And the only way I can find to highlight the appalling, dismal, disreputable, disgusting, demeaning, disgraceful and wretched hideousness of all this death and suffering is by using the tiny tools of humor God gave me. I don't feel like getting a heart attack from trying to express the justifiable anger I bear toward those who started, fomented, supported, and, most importantly, failed to speak up against and resist this idiot war. And yes, I do mean you, Hillary Clinton and the Washington Post.

Let's hear it for six years of the Bush Administration, twelve years of the Republican Congress, endless Democratic pusillanimity and almost four years of useless war: you've broken the US military, committed war crimes hand over fist and besmirched the name of America. These almost 3,000 dead patriots and their families did not deserve to be exploited by slime such as this Administration and their allies among the 101st Chairborne Fighting Keyboardists. In fact, they did not even deserve to die.

If we do hit 3,000 US military dead by New Years' Eve, let us not mourn a meaningless total. Let us mourn each individual life snuffed out on the bloody but gaudy imperial altar. And resolve to stop the carnage without fail and without delay.

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