Sunday, August 26, 2007

American Wars: Death Tolls

Death Toll of US Troops in Major Wars of the Last 100 Years

World War I116,708
World War II131,028,000
Iraq3,278 and counting

This is not to underplay the dealth of over 3,000 of our finest. But it is worth putting that toll in perspective - American troop casualties are still a lot smaller than in previous wars, and indeed despite the negativism of the media, the mission's in better shape. Iraq has a democratically elected government, as inept as Washington, for starters, and a people who seem committed to democracy, judging by the turnout at the last election. That's more than we could say about Korea or Vietnam.


Anonymous said...

"Our finest"...? Last time I checked, you are from India.....and get your facts checked.....the death toll as of right now is 3700+ and counting.....since you are not the one getting shot at....its pretty easy to come up with a comment like "the mission is in better shape"....democraticly elected government?...yeah, a government that sanctions sectarian killing!.....well, I guess if India can claim itself as a 'secular democracy' after 'Gujrat'....any plaudit is legit for the Iraqi government.

Karthik Narayanaswamy said...

Yes, "our finest"! I have lived in the US for over 9 years now, studied and worked hard, paid taxes, been involved with community development, rooted for my favorite sports teams ... and neither a xenophobe American nor a nostalgic Indian, nor even an American government with its labyrinths of visas and other requirements, can deny
my comaraderie with this community.

Incidentally your views on citizenship are so 20th century. As Alvin Toffler predicted, the notion of "citizenship" is dissolving, something even governments are realizing; hence the embracing of previously unthinkable concepts like dual-citizenship. So an embrace of the US is not a rejection of my roots!

Is Iraq perfect? Is India a model secular democracy? Surely not. But framing things such is silly, and underestimates the chaos that goes into forming order. Anti-Americanism be damned, I happen to think the American form of government is a model for the world. But even this exemplary system evolved from some rather horrendous events, like the rape and butchering of native Americans, slavery and later segregation, and even now, there are many structural problems that need addressing. But if people want to come to the US, it's a function of the patience and incremental progress of politicians and the electorate through the distateful years.

But at the risk of simplifying too much, there are ideals of what America can achieve. Despite skeptics at home, the US repelled the Commie march into South Korea. The result - South Korea produces 10 times as much GDP per capita as their Northern relatives, and leads in research, education and quality of life. And they can good ol' villified Uncle Sam to thank, and our finest who took a few bullets to get them there!