"I make my livin' off the evening news
Just give me somethin', somethin' I can use
People love it when you lose
They love dirty laundry"
-- Don Henley
I had forgotten how much I hate the media. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC - they are all complaining that the military isn't giving them the "shock and awe" show they promised. Last fall, they were critical of the military "for caring more about high-tech weaponry than in protecting their own troops" during the various middle eastern conflicts - a conclusion reached because the bulk of our casualties were the result of friendly fire and other accidents. Condemnations flow freely when a half-dozen innocent citizens are unfortunately killed by four score missiles launched from hundreds of miles away.
War is ugly and nasty and terrible and sickening and, as sad as it is to say, sometimes necessary. It is so often our saving grace that time heals all wounds, but so unfortunate that the lessons and the horror of Anzio, Tarawa, Dresden, or Tokyo have faded and blurred. They are able to condemn a dozen lost souls only because they do not have to weep for thousands.
The number of coalition forces killed during combat during Operation Desert Storm was less than the average number of homicide victims in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area in one year. With the relative casualty rate (per casualty inflicted), the U.S. and Britain could have won WWII with a mere 15,000 combat deaths. The Marines lost 7,000 at Iwo Jima alone.
The number of civilian casualties for the war (as reported by Iraq) was 35,000 - less than a third of the casualties of a night of firebombing. It was even fewer than the number of Bulgarian civilians killed during all of WWII. By comparison, Poland and the Soviet Union combined lost 23 million civilians, and that's not including deaths at the German concentration camps. Iraq supposedly killed at least 50,000 Kurds during 1988 alone, and critics claim that the economic sanctions have cost over 1.4 million Iraqis their lives.
War is not to be celebrated, it is not to be glorified. But heaven and CNN forbid we try to obtain military objectives with a minimum of casualties on both sides.