The military would like us to be considerate when we publish the news of the 2,000th dead American soldier by not referring to the number as a milestone. Hmmm. Maybe we’re just noticing because it is a nice even round number in a decimal-based counting system? Will that suffice?
(Editor & Publisher) U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, director of the force’s combined press center, wrote in an e-mail to reporters, “I ask that when you report on the events, take a moment to think about the effects on the families and those serving in Iraq. The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives.”
See there? If you even notice that one-hundred score American servicemembers have perished in Iraq, you have an agenda and an ulterior motive. Your agenda, of course, is to purposefully mock the sacrifice of brave soldiers and demean their families by noticing that 2,000 of them are no longer living. Your ulterior motive is to provide aid and comfort to the enemy by pointing out that they are succeeding in killing our soldiers, and by highlighting the 2,000 American deaths you’ll make people second-guess the war and pull out before we finish the job. If it weren’t for America-haters like you, no one would have even noticed that the 2,000th soldier died today.
Boylan, according to AP, added: “The 2,000th Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine that is killed in action is just as important as the first that died and will be just as important as the last to die in this war against terrorism and to ensure freedom for a people who have not known freedom in over two generations.”
See, by reflecting on the 2,000th death, you are demeaning the brave sacrifice of the 1,999 who died before and the… the… how many more are going to die in this war on terrorism? What other milestones will we be told to ignore in the future? The death that matches the 9/11 death toll? The 5,000th, 10,000th, or 20,000th death? The death that matches the Vietnam death toll? The fifth, tenth, twentieth anniversary of the beginning of “shock and awe”?
He complained that the true milestones of the war were “rarely covered or discussed,” and said they included the troops who had volunteered to serve, the families of those that have been deployed for a year or more, and the Iraqis who have sought at great risk to restore normalcy to their country. It also includes, he added, Iraqis who sought to join the security forces and had became daily targets for insurgent attacks at recruiting centers, those who turned out to vote in the constitutional referendum, and those who chose to risk their lives by joining the government.
You doom and gloom America-haters never discuss the troops that don’t get killed! But hey, let’s start marking some of these rarely covered milestones. Have we reached the 2,000th volunteer who’s been stop-lossed far beyond the time he volunteered for? How about the 2,000th troop who’s been sent out on mission with inadequate supplies or armor? How about the 2,000th family forced to buy equipment for their troop just to keep them safe? Are we close to the 2,000th Iraqi seeking normalcy for his country but blown up by a car bomb? We must have already reached the 2,000th Iraqi security force volunteer unable to even clean a rifle without direct coalition support.
Sorry, Colonel, but the only way to have people not notice the milestones of death is to stop reaching them. When it comes to soldiers’ deaths, we Americans are a funny lot: we notice.