Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The human factor

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The cost, to American life, of Bush's wars:

Four thousand U.S. service members have died in U.S. President George W. Bush's "war on terror'' in Iraq and Afghanistan 5 1/2 years after American forces ousted the Taliban in December 2001.

A total of 3,596 have died in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion that removed Saddam Hussein from power. Some 2,957 of that number were killed in action, according to the latest Department of Defense figures. More than 26,500 personnel have been wounded in that conflict, 11,959 of them so seriously they couldn't return to duty.

In Afghanistan, 404 American personnel have died, of which 224 were killed in action. Those deaths include 61 personnel who died in Pakistan and Uzbekistan in support of the operation. Some 1,361 have been injured; 813 of them couldn't return to duty.

In Iraq, an insurgency rages against U.S. and coalition forces. The first six months this year were the deadliest yet for the American military, with more than 580 killed.

And then, of course, there is the cost to non-American life. And that, I fear, will never accurately be known.

It does not take much, these days, to imagine what could have been done differently.

And to recognize how badly Bush's wars have gone.

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