...was a term that my great-grandfather, Poppie, used to tell me; I never quite understood what he meant, or maybe I just did not want to understand it. It was an old WWI saying when a soldier or sailor or airman was lost and presumed dead. Poppie used to say it this way: Stay with me awhile longer, soon I'll be Among The Missing. If I had known what he had meant, I would have spent more time with him. Even into his nineties, he was a very good friend, and interesting guy to talk to, and a lovable family member if ever there was one (even though only by marriage - my great-grandmother's second husband). I don't want to rant about my great-grandfather though, at least not more than what I have just done; I want to write about something else, something I heard today that brought that saying to mind.
Right now, there are approximately 3,063 American servicemen and servicewomen who have been counted among the missing in Iraq, their deaths having been confirmed. There maybe others who are considered among the missing but not confirmed dead. It is more than the numbers of Americans who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Back when the war in Iraq started, our president told us it would quite possibly be a long war with many sacrifices - by which of course he meant injuries to, and deaths of, our troops. Everyone rallied round him then; and even if mistaken as to the reasons for the invasion, the reason for the continuance of the war seems valid if you think about it logically. Despite logic, the left in this country has shoved that number (our losses) into our souls all the way to the hilt. People like Rosie O’Donnell scream for Bush’s removal from office by impeachment, of course forgetting that if such was done it would leave the current vice president as president - in which case she would scream for his impeachment too or so one would guess. Yet, big mouths like, in my opinion, Rosie are the perfect example, in my opinion, of fools, or better still of people who blast their blowholes only without regard to the ultimate consequences. Rosie screams and her ratings go up among the ultra liberal leftists who support her type, thereby helping her gain more popularity and money. She therefore keeps blowing harder and harder, and more and more drivel seemingly comes out of her pie-hole. That drivel ultimately affects even those who watch her for entertainment only, and I think it badly skews their political convictions, and even their way of thinking. Just as she does not think of the consequences of her foul mouthing everyone with whom she does not agree, Rosie screams for an impeachment of President Bush, somehow not realizing it would put someone she possibly hates more than Bush into office. In doing so, she - like many other big mouthed leftists who clamor for quick fixes without regard to the final outcome - has used the number of dead Americans in Iraq as a battle standard.
The far leftists have pounded away at our military losses so much, over and over again, that even once staunch supporters of the war efforts in Iraq have shied away from that support. Senators and Representatives in Congress have turned against a war effort that has changed into a fight against terrorism in its own part of the world. What the big mouths leftists do not see, is that if we fail there, then there is much more of a chance that the war will be brought here as it was on 9/11. Terrorists will be emboldened by what they will perceive as our weaknesses, number one among them being a lack of unity of purpose to destroy terrorism. Attacks here likely will come again, sooner than later. Sure they will probably come regardless of if we continue the fight in Iraq; but my bet is they will come here sooner and with greater force of purpose, and more often once the terrorists can lick their wounds, regroup, and aim their sights at the US mainland. History would prove me correct in my estimation of what will likely take place. Yet regardless of the likely outcome that our retreating from Iraq would have, people with big mouths on the left such as Rosie, Oprah, Phil what’s his name (that guy with the white hair), John Edwards, Al Gore, leftist reporters, and all the rest go on demanding immediate and/or timed withdrawals, or hammer away at the fact that in over three (3) years of war we have lost just over 3,000 of our brave men and women who served with pride.
It sickens me no end because if you asked these same folks what they thought of John F. Kennedy they would probably tell you he was a great president. If you asked them what they though of Lyndon Baines Johnson, they would probably say he was at least a good president. Yet the war of those two caused us to lose many more people, in much shorter time that has the war in Iraq. Yet the ultra leftist continue to parade that '3,000 plus troops lost' statistic as some sort of holy standard to show their cause is just. While three thousand lives is nothing to belittle, and I will not do so because each one of them was an American who is dearly and sorely missed, I must point out that so few losses in 3 years of out and out warfare is minimal. It is a number to sober one’s outlook about war. It is a number to which we must give due consideration in deciding whether or not to continue the fight. Yet it is not the only thing we need to consider, nor should we ever for a moment lose sight of the big picture because of it. The big picture is: If we lose our enemies grow stronger. They are not doing so now because we are killing them off in large numbers. Sure they kill and kill, but we kill more of them, many more of them, just by numbers we are destined to win. So the perceived magic number of our losses is not something by which to solely judge our performance in Iraq if we judge with level heads. It is, of course, a great number to use to rile people up if you want to inflame their emotions. It is great at doing just that because the tally has now reached more than those killed on 9/11. We should realize though, we are not fighting only as revenge for 9/11, so counting tit for tat does not work here. We are fighting to protect freedom, to protect the United States of America, and to protect lives in the long run. We are fighting an enemy who has avowed to wipe us out, and to wipe out our allies. It would be worth losing more than we have lost to protect what we have, and what we hold dear, and I do not say that lightly because each time we lose more, we lose our own people - and my own son will soon be old enough to go to the fight if he decides to do so.
Still though, no mater what a level headed person on the left or right will say, the ultra leftists, especially those with the big mouths who can easily influence people through the media, will play up our losses to support their cause and to defeat their political opponents. It is their nature to do so, or so it seems. They just miss the damned truth that 3,000 lives lost in a 3 plus year war do not indicate that we are losing! Rather it indicates, at the very least, we are maintaining our own, and in a better light that we are defeating our enemies - for surely we have killed many times more than 3,000 of them.
If you ever want to consider what are truly huge war losses, then consider how many soldiers the Russians lost at Stalingrad and Leningrad. Stalingrad is considered to be the most bloody battle in history. The Russian losses were over 1 million in one battle alone (in less than one year). What would Rosie say about that? Would it be worth it, or would the Russians be better off doing the Goose Step or being put into concentration camps! If you want to consider just American losses, then consider how many soldiers we were losing monthly during the height of our loses in Vietnam, or in Korea. Go back a little further and think about how many we lost just in one battle such as the Battle of The Bulge in WWII (and those losses were extremely small compared to allied losses at Stalingrad). Think of how many we lost in the brief time we were involved in WWI. Look to the Civil War between our own states, and do not even look at battlefield losses but only at prisoner of war losses. Look at Camp Douglas or Andersonville prisons in the Civil War. There were about 6,000 Confederate troops who died at the Union prison Camp Douglas in about 3 years time. Most probably died related to poor prison conditions. There were almost 13,000 Union troops who lost their lives in the Confederate prison of Andersonville in just one year. Yes I wrote that correctly, in just one year almost 13,000 Union Troops were lost at Andersonville Prison during the Civil War (which only opened as a prison in 1864). That is, on average, over 1,000 per month. Those folks are terrible losses. Sure losing even one soldier or sailor or airman is not a good thing, but if the losses are kept at a minimum while we pound away at and destroy our enemies, enemies who would destroy us including our children without remorse, then that means we are winning – and it means our enemies are less likely to destroy us as they have avowed to do. Winning war is not pretty, it is war after all. Yet we are winning, and winning is a necessity. So why are such facts kept among the missing - I just do not understand.
One last thing before I close; please understand that I do not belittle the loss of even one life of our brave men and service women, nor do I belittle the sacrifices others have made who have received terrible wounds. Then again, I cannot and will not belittle the threat that our current enemies pose to us, and that is what we should concentrate upon, that is what the big mouths on the left seem to missing. For some reason beyond belief they prefer to see our own president as our enemy instead of the terrorists who would annihilate us. Although hard to imagine, I think we should be willing to sacrifice an awful lot more than we already have in order to stop them; it surely seems to be better than the alternative our enemies have in store for us, just look back to 9/11. One can only hope that the United States of America never winds up – Among The Missing.
All the best,