American Death Toll in Iraq Hits 2000
Another deadly milestone has been reached in Iraq, with the toll of dead American soldiers hitting 2000.
The US death toll in Iraq reportedly hit 2,000 amid a sharp spike in violence that killed 14 Iraqis as the nation awaited results of a key vote on a charter aimed at curbing sectarian violence. The US network CNN, quoting Pentagon sources, reported Tuesday that the number of soldiers killed since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq had reached 2,000 with the deaths of two more soldiers, a toll likely to add pressure on the US administration over its role in the violence-wracked country.
For the first time, a majority of Americans believe the Iraq war was the “wrong thing to do”, according to a poll published in The Wall Street Journal.
Each American casualty represents a personal tragedy for their loved ones and should be soberly weighed by all of us. At the same time, it is low by any historical measure; we had more people killed on D-Day, for goodness sake. Nor is it an indication of the worth of the mission for which these troops died. If the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, then one death is too many. Otherwise, the toll has to be weighed against the benefit to the nation, which remains to be seen.
As I noted in May 2004, when the death toll reached 800,
Source: History News Network
As the data show, 800 deaths pales in comparison with almost every war we’ve ever fought. And, certainly, one doesn’t want to take the disproportionate American deaths argument too far when one looks at the two World Wars. We lost many times 800 in both the Mexican War and the Spanish-American War, the rationales for which are long forgotten by most.
Indeed, there are perhaps dozens of battles in American history in which we took more than 800 deaths. A very few examples:
Antietam: 3620 killed (23,110 dead and wounded)
Pearl Harbor: 2,403
Iwo Jima: nearly 7,000
Bataan Death March: credible estimates vary widely from 7,000 to nearly 10,000
D-Day: approximately 2500
Not to mention:
(Note: Estimates vary widely for some of these battles; I’ve chosen representative numbers and given hyperlinks.)
Regardless of the position one took on the war at the outset, or even one’s position as to whether we ought remain knowing what we know now, we should hope that these 2000 lives purchase something worthy of their sacrifice. If they lead to a free, democratic Iraq that is a catalyst for a Middle East less hospitable to Islamist zealots, that will indeed be the case.