Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Iraq Death Watch Numbers Game

After the Civil War, Gen. Robert E. Lee turned down all offers to write his memoirs, saying that to do so would “be trading on the blood of my men.” That delicacy of feeling is long gone.

Now Washington bureaucrats are not at all squeamish about using soldiers’ blood for political profit. Case in point is the claim that American combat deaths have gone down since the Surge started and, as the McClatchy Newspapers reported, “Military officials and observers are wondering whether the lower U.S. casualties are a sign of success...”

A recent post questioning this “sign of success” has drawn a rebuttal of what McClatchy calls “vitriolic criticism...from liberal web sites.”

This “vitriolic” retired journalist has long been an admirer of the reporting by McClatchy, formerly Knight Ridder, particularly in the selling of the Iraq war by the Bush Administration, and the criticism of the numbers story was clearly aimed at the Pentagon source rather than the messenger.

Readers can judge for themselves, but there is a new kind of callous ingenuity in stressing certain kinds of deaths over others, particularly when one source of the numbers--an August helicopter crash that killed 14 U.S. troops--is officially an accident but an Air Force spokesman “could not rule out a strike by a surface to air missile.”

But it’s saddening to be arguing about how our young people are dying rather than why.

1 comment:

knatoli said...

I am a Boy Scout leader and have seen many scouts enlist in this four letter war. The disrespect for them and all are troops is heartbreaking. I have heard people say "well they volunteered to go" as if this is justification for the inadequate equipment, the army and horrendously long duty tours - 19 months! A young marine going in for a third tour because as he was preparing to leave the service, his unit got orders to go and he stayed in and will be their squad leader. There are two brothers over there, their mother....

I am glad to have found your blog.