Monday, September 11, 2006

Reflections on Saftey after 9-11

Are we safer today? Some say yes, some say no. 3000 people died in 9-11. There has been no major terrorist attack on American soil since then. But there was no major attack on our soil the five years before. And many Americans have died since then. According to the official statistics from the Department of Defense, 2,669 American solidiers have died in Iraq. 19910 have been wounded. Also, this war has been fought with mercenaries, CIA operatives, and American contractors. Their casulties I do not know, although I'm sure the numbers are out there.

Not counting respiratory illness and other lingering chronic problems from 9/11, there were a total of 5367 casualties (adding dead and wounded) as a result of that terrible day.
As a response, we went into Afghanistan. To be frank, we appeared to score a quick victory, and then the political leadership lost interest. Troops began to leave the country before we even had a chance to catch Bin Laden at Tora Bora. Since we entered that country, we have lost approximately 336 soldiers killed and 901 wounded, a total of 1237 casualties.
Imagine if that was the final number. Just 1237. Instead, our total casualties from the war on terror after 9-11 is 23,816 American soldiers, and probably a few thousand more government civil servants, contractors, and U.S. mercenaries.

So has the president kept Americans safe? Or did his actions lead to the death or maiming of about 30,000 Americans since 9-11?

As usual, the only ones asked to sacrifice by the President are the military. Their deaths are not honored by acknowledging this grim toll, but instead, they are hidden. The administration has censored their pictures and downplayed the cold facts.

The administration did not keep these young men and women safe. That’s a fact. So since we have had a bit less than 10 times the casualties of 9-11, of Americans hurt in our “war on terror,” does it matter if a shopping mall in Topeka is “safe,” when it never was going to be a target anyway? Does the life of civilians now matter more than a soldier? What kind of respect is that for our military?These casualties are a cost of our struggle. I believe the enemy is Al Queda and Bin Laden. He is the one who struck on 9-11. And yes, he has an ideology. But you can’t kill an ideology with bombs. Nor can you do it by invading Iraq and then managing an incompetent occupation. So if you ask are Americans safer, remember that our military consists of Americans too, and the policies of the Bush administration did not make them safe.

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