Another tragic milestone

I haven’t seen anything about it in the news, but barring some sort of miracle, the 2,500th US death in the Iraq war will occur in the next several days. According to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, US deaths now stand at 2,497.

How will the 2,500 figure be treated by newspapers, TV, and radio? Will it be considered as important a story as the 2,000 mark passed last year? I doubtit. Time marches on, and reporters as a group just don’t seem to care as much about Iraq as they used to. I’m guessing they won’t even notice it until after the fact.

Conservatives point out that US troop deaths in the Iraq war are so much smaller than in Vietnam that a comparison of the two wars is not apt. What they miss is that Vietnam happened in the context of WWII and Korea. It’s not surprising that back then the US underestimated a small nation using guerilla tactics. But Iraq is happening in the context of Vietnam. And each of the 2,500 US deaths in Iraq happened with the example of Vietnam hanging over us. Each one tells us that we have not learned from our mistakes.