Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

Today while firing up the BBQ and perhaps remembering our veterans who served in past wars, as well as all loved ones who have gone on to a better world, please keep in mind those 1,657 US soldiers who have died and 12,348 US soldiers wounded in this present war in Iraq, as well as the 184 US soldiers who have died serving our nation in Afghanistan. Additionally, the Iraqi war has claimed the lives of 181 of our coalition allies, 2,139 Iraqi military and police, and, through May 15, an estimate of 21,834 to 24,776 reported civilian deaths.

Just this month, there have been roughly 700 people killed in attacks by Iraqi rebels, including 70 US soldiers dead and 95 wounded. The US casualty count in April was 52 deaths, 590 wounded. This weekend, as the Iraqi government began a new coordinated plan to crack down on insurgents, and naturally has met coordinated resistance, there were 34 people killed yesterday, 30 on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Army is facing a critical shortage of new recruits, described by Maj. Gen. Michael Rochelle as, "the toughest recruiting climate ever faced by the all-volunteer Army." Even as the military has offered shorter active-duty enlistments, raised the maximum age restrictions, lowered aptitude standards, and kept recruiters on 80-hour workweeks to meet quotas, the Army expects to have only half the number of recruits ready to serve in 2006 than it will have even this year. Towards its recruitment goal for the year, the Army usually aims to have 25% signed up in advance; this year began with 18% of the 80,000 goal signed up, or 14,400 recruits. Leaders expect that to drop at the start of next year to about 8,000 recruits, or roughly 10% of the ultimate goal.

Sixty-two million people voted to re-elect President Bush in the last election, which the President publicly claimed as his "accountability moment"--a validation of all his policies, appointments, and this war in Iraq. Yet it is clear that only a shrinking minority of those voters are willing to affirm their convictions by signing up for military service in this time of need, or by urging friends and family to do so. The pleasure of our President is served overseas by a relative few patriots who have shouldered a disproportionate burden of risk and sacrifice, whose commitment to our national defense and foreign policy is something more substantial than just a yellow bumpersticker, who have set their private lives aside and put themselves in harm's way in a far-off foreign land.

Under the command of President Bush, in service to our country, 14,189 US soldiers have died or been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan .
Today, let's take special care to remember them and give thanks for assuming a duty, whether they personally agree with the President's policies or not, which few of us would be willing to take on ourselves. Bless them all. May we be worthy of their service.

Ramadi - U.S. Marines pay their respects at a memorial service for 1st Marine Division Combat Photographer Cpl. William Salazar, 26, at Camp Blue Diamond. Salazar, of Las Vegas, Nev., was killed in action in Anbar Province. (Photo by Jim MacMillan, October 18, 2004.)


At 5/30/2005 12:37 PM, Blogger SBG said...

Well said.

At 11/06/2005 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, excellent website. A great Iraq resource is Deaths in Iraq. It breaks all of the casualties down by age, race, branch of the military, country, etc.


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