Battle Fatigue

2007 Toll A Record For U.S. In Iraq | washingtonpost.com

The statistics in this article are encouraging, but hardly indicative of any comfortable end to hostilities in Iraq. What Lt. Col Dale Kuehl says of the cost at which the current scenario has been achieved expresses the fundamental problem of cost that nobody wishes to address.

“I am confident that we have established a much more secure environment for the people we have been tasked to protect,” Kuehl added. “However, a part of me is afraid to believe what we have accomplished, knowing what it has cost to get us to today.”

Is any price for victory a fair price to pay? What remains elusive in popular discourse on this military intervention remains its cost. The absence of this discussion is an absolute travesty for it is the price that determines whether a military campaign is a victory or not. Vietnam was not a military defeat because military progress was not made. Rather, it was a loss because the price paid for the meager victories on the battlefield were so staggeringly large.

There is an awfully dear lot that hinges on the ability of the American populace to weigh the gains against the losses (both mortal and financial) that have been incurred by the United States. Do people avoid the analysis because they lack the ability to carry it out, or because they do not acknowledge the costs involved?

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