Iraq

No More Room

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Sadly poignant:

Congress already has run out of space on a memorial created last year to honor all of the U.S. service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a grim sign of the times, the "Wall of the Fallen," set up by House Republican leaders in June, is almost full. The mounting death toll from Iraq has forced U.S. House staffers to study how to reconfigure the display in the lobby of the Rayburn Building—the largest office building for members of Congress—to squeeze in more names.

According to the Defense Department, 3,736 U.S. service members died in the two wars by the end of April. New names are added to the display every few months, but none have been added since November. The last name listed is Lance Cpl. Luke Holler, 21-year-old Marine reservist from Bulverde, Texas, killed by an explosive device on Nov. 2.

In the current format, there is space for about 130 more names, but 506 Americans have died since mid-November. In April, 104 Americans were killed in the war's sixth-deadliest month.

(Via Rogier van Bakel.)

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  1. And in other news, the Freedom Wall at the WW II memorial contains 4048 gold stars. Each represent approximately 100 fallen service members.

    Years ago the Test Pilot Memorial at White Sands (?) was almost full too.

  2. I know exactly which walls we should list the fallen on: The walls facing the desk of every damn member of Congress who votes to continue this fiasco. Make them stare at the tally of their handiwork.

    And if anybody wants to list the names of Iraqi civilians on those walls as well, that’s fine with me.

  3. And in other news, the Freedom Wall at the WW II memorial contains 4048 gold stars. Each represent approximately 100 fallen service members.

    I think the point Radley was making had less to do with the number of deaths than the fact that the invasion of Iraq was not justified, and their deaths were therefore needless and tragic. Of course that applies less so to those who died in Afghanistan, which was a justified military action.

  4. Y’all might find it interesting to go back and take a look at those “ask the man in the street” stories from just before the invasion of Iraq, wherein random people were asked how many people we should be willing to sacrifice in a war with Iraq. A grim question to be faced with while walking from your car to your desk, certainly, but the answers are interesting.

  5. Thoreau,

    A M E N !!!

  6. As soon as the Congress passes the War Emergency Funding Bill, there will be plenty of money to expand the memorial.

  7. Y’all might find it interesting to go back and take a look at those “ask the man in the street” stories from just before the invasion of Iraq, wherein random people were asked how many people we should be willing to sacrifice in a war with Iraq.

    Y’all want to link some of them?

  8. I would willingly sacrifice the lives of each of you “Reasoniods” for Iraq. – Especially you, Thoreau and brotherben.

  9. The Republicans – and yes, this is a memorial set up the Republicans – actually thought that invading the oldest place in the world and “fixing” it was going to be a “splendid little war,” and wasn’t even going to cost enough dead and missing troops to require a big monument, or even to wait until it was over to know how big it needed to be.

    They wrere just so certain. Idiots.

  10. Ethan,

    You mean back when just about everyone believed that Iraq was passing germ bombs and suitcase nukes to Osama bin Laden?

  11. “oldest place in the world”?

  12. Yes, Quibbler, Mesopotamia is usually considered the cradle of civilization.

  13. then, perhaps, oldest civilization in the world, but not oldest place.

  14. 3,736 U.S. service members died in the two wars by the end of April

    and an undetermined, or undisclosed, number of Iraqi and Afghanistani civilians, too. If that matters.

  15. Correction:

    “If that matters.”

    should have been:

    –If that matters to a guy like Radley Balko.–

  16. It probably matters to Radley. To whom it DOESN’T matter is (a) anybody in Washington (you won’t be seeing any monuments to dead Iraqis any time soon) and (b) most Americans, who are utterly uncaring on the subject.

    God bless America.

  17. It probably matters to Radley.

    Historically he has been pretty quiet about that aspect of the war. He seems to like US soldiers a lot, though, and that may not be too compatible with giving a shit about enemy civilians. That is why I wonder sometimes.

  18. actually thought that invading the oldest place in the world

    They invaded Greenland?

  19. Just for perspective, over 250,000 Americans died in the second world war.

    Just for perspective, some 350,000 Soviets died in the battle of Berlin, while over 700,000 are estimated to have died in the battle of Stalingrad.

    You can say that Iraq is more pointless than any other war in history if you like, but it still has really modest casualties by the standards of modern warfare. That Americans are ‘appalled’ by fewer than 4,000 casualties says less about the war and more about their total lack of historical perspective.

    If people expect to fight any kind of global war and yet keep casualties in the three digit range, they are being really unrealistic.

  20. “really unrealistic”?

  21. Guy Montag,

    Well, if you’re going to play the casualty-comparing game, you should also note that more US troops have died in Iraq than civilians died in the 9/11 attacks.

    Now, comparing the number of Iraqi civilians “collaterally damaged” due to our activities there would be really sobering, unless you’re blood-drunk on national greatness conservatism, I guess.

  22. ‘”really unrealistic”?’

    Oh you’re a fun one.

    😉

  23. Wow, Quibbler, you just think you’re soooooooooooooo unique, don’t you?

  24. I would willingly sacrifice the lives of each of you “Reasoniods” for Iraq. – Especially you, Thoreau and brotherben.

    And what would you accomplish by “sacrificing” me?

  25. The relatively low fatalities in our “global war” in Iraq have more to do with medical technology than any operational cleverness. The surge, by bringing troops out of the relative security of places like the Green Zone, is likely to result in a higher rate of casualties. I noticed, as I was googling through the headlines this morning, that the number of troops in the surge seems to have surged from 21,500 to 30,000.

    The high survival rate of severely wounded soldiers will mean high costs related to Operation Tar Baby will continue for decades.

  26. Isn’t every place the oldest place in the world?

  27. Yes, your blog has some very worthy commenters, Mr. Balko.

  28. I thought that Del Boca Vista was the oldest place in the world, demographically speaking.

  29. We’re gonna be in the pool, we’re gonnna be in the clubhouse…

  30. “Well, if you’re going to play the casualty-comparing game, you should also note that more US troops have died in Iraq than civilians died in the 9/11 attacks.”

    Then one should note that less than 4,000 people died at Pearl Harbor.

    And so, by that logic, the 250,000 casualties that the US suffered in WW2 were over 245,000 too many.

    And yes I know that mentioning WW2 is horribly passe, but in the past 6 years I have heard not one anti-war argument that couldn’t have been used with equal force in 1941.

    Therefore, I must conclude that WW2 was a useless act of American imperialism.

    Right?

  31. Maybe Radley needs to take a page from Ron Bailey and put a ‘disclosure statement’ at the end of any post mentioning US casualties in Iraq, stating that Iraqi civilian deaths aren’t a good thing either.

    Will that shut Dave up? Probably not, but it can’t hurt.

  32. joe

    No, I do not think myself “soooooooo” unique. I knew what you meant–although “oldest civilization in the world” still does not arguably apply to Mesopotamia–but I am a quibbler, after all.

    I might, however, question you as to what difference it makes that Iraq is so old. Frankly, just being “the oldest place in the world” doesn’t mean a damn thing. But, I’m just quibbling.

  33. I would willingly sacrifice the lives of each of you “Reasoniods” for Iraq. – Especially you, Thoreau and brotherben.

    And this is why it is so important that government power must be limited – sometimes people like JohnD get their hands on it.

  34. And yes I know that mentioning WW2 is horribly passe, but in the past 6 years I have heard not one anti-war argument that couldn’t have been used with equal force in 1941.

    One minor difference is that the Japanese actually, you know, attacked us.

  35. You’ve been arguing politics for 6 years, and no one has mentioned to you that Iraq didn’t post a military threat to us, while Japan and Germany did? Who have you been having these argument with, grey squirrels?

    Quibbler,

    I can’t believe you whiffed on “so unique.” Anyway, the point of bringing up the extend of the area’s history is to draw attention to the foolishness of those who thought that a short war and a short occupation would straighten their politics out.

  36. And yes I know that mentioning WW2 is horribly passe, but in the past 6 years I have heard not one anti-war argument that couldn’t have been used with equal force in 1941.

    One minor difference is that the Japanese actually, you know, attacked us.

    A second difference is that it is now four years since we occupied the capital and deposed the leadership. So it is not 1941.

    How many Americans died in combat with the Germans or the Japanese in 1949?

  37. “””I think the point Radley was making had less to do with the number of deaths than the fact that the invasion of Iraq was not justified,”””

    I don’t think it’s that Iraq was not justified, but more about our governments inability to “size” up the conflict which we are engaged. Somewhat, along the lines of the Pentagon retiring Gen Shininski for telling Congress we need a few hundred thousand troops to fight the war. Our government has constantly underestimated what is required of this job. Either that, or we grossly over estimating our ability.

    Fail to plan, plan to fail

  38. justthisguy,

    Yet, given the supposedly tiny casualty count, there’s still too many to fit on the memorial set up by pro-war Congressmen.

    Did a similar thing happen to a monument set up by pro-war Congressmen in world war two? Did they run out of space because they didn’t foresee how many American casualties there would be?

  39. joe

    I didn’t really “whiff.” At least, I don’t think I did. What does that mean?

    But anyway, I don’t think the point that just because they’re old bears any relation to how difficult they may be to “straighten out.” The Ottoman Turks did a damn fine job of keeping all of the Middle East (and even those idiot Greeks) in line for centuries.

    Just a quibble.

  40. “”Therefore, I must conclude that WW2 was a useless act of American imperialism.

    Right?”””

    I might note that WWII was to defeat enemy states. The purpose of the Iraq war is to “create a democracy”

    There is no comparision, that I’ve seen, between Iraq and WWII that has withstood scruitny. Maybe with the exception that troops die when they go to work.

  41. “The Ottoman Turks did a damn fine job of keeping all of the Middle East (and even those idiot Greeks) in line for centuries.”

    Please tell me you’re kidding.

  42. Mad Max

    I never said I agreed with their methods.

    It’s just that I quibble with the assumption that an old place cannot be controlled.

    Any society, old or new, can be controlled and pacified–if you really want to….

  43. Quibbler,

    There are not shades of uniqueness. Something can’t be “so unique,” it’s either unique, or it isn’t. What kind of Quibbler are you, anyway?!?

    “The Ottoman Turks did a damn fine job of keeping all of the Middle East (and even those idiot Greeks) in line for centuries.”

    But the architects of this war didn’t plan to “keep the Middle East in line for centuries” via the constant application of military force, like the Turks. They intended to “fix” their political culture, and turn Iraq into Shining Beacon of Democracy that would Transform the Middle East.

    They thought such an action would have few casualties, and take “months, not years.”

    I repeat: Idiots.

  44. joe

    You’re the one who started the “soooooo unique”!

    But, I agree. It was much easier for the Romans and the Persians and the Ottomans to maintain peace in this region: their goal was total domination, in perpetuity. They succeeded for a time. Trying to instill a desirable regime without the promise/threat of long-term force is foolhardy. Either direct, or watch; you can’t do both.

    FWIW, I take neither side.

  45. ‘You’re the one who started the “soooooo unique”!’

    That’s it, I’m not throwing you any more Quibbler softballs, if you’re just going to let them go by and give me a confused stare like that.

  46. I would willingly sacrifice the lives of each of you “Reasoniods” for Iraq. – Especially you, Thoreau and brotherben.

    Spoken like a true chickenhawk.

    I don’t think it’s that Iraq was not justified, but more about our governments inability to “size” up the conflict which we are engaged.

    Can’t it be both? I suppose your interpretation is as valid as my own.

  47. And yes I know that mentioning WW2 is horribly passe, but in the past 6 years I have heard not one anti-war argument that couldn’t have been used with equal force in 1941.

    Besides crimethink’s point that we were actually attacked by Japan, I’ll add that Germany and Italy declared war on us.

    In the past 6 years I have not heard one pro-war comparison to WW2 that wasn’t either woefully ignorant or downright disingenuous.

  48. All of the best World War Two comparisons come from the anti-war side.

    The “not one step back” orders, and insistence that the only thing necessary is a more Will, regadless of the conditions on the ground, is a reflection of Stalingrad, Moscow, and El Alamein.

    Afghanistan is North Africa – it would take just a fraction of the troops devoted to the Big Fight to achieve a decisive victory there, and free up pretty much the whole expeditionary force for other operations, but since the Big Fight is always, always, always just around the corner from victory (right up until it’s a just a hair from complete disaster), the campaign will never get enough forces to achieve anything but a stalemate.

  49. 3,736 US troops have died. The Iraqi death total since 2006 is estimated at 655,000.

  50. I think the point Radley was making had less to do with the number of deaths than the fact that the invasion of Iraq was not justified, and their deaths were therefore needless and tragic. Of course that applies less so to those who died in Afghanistan, which was a justified military action.

    So, where is YOUR memorial to all of those dead German and English (others) civilians?

    No, his “point” is that he does not like a particular war and it is just fine of people live in terror and slavery as long as we are not involved in it.

    Where is the monument to Civil War civilians crimethink?

    Radley had a juvenile “point”, if that, that a monument was erected by a bunch of politicians before something was done. That is why the test pilot example of mine was added.

    WWII? The monument was bult long after a real number of deaths should have been tallied and that is still not accurate for that one even at this late date.

    All of you fucking body counters can kiss my ass. Fuck off and die.

  51. “””3,736 US troops have died. The Iraqi death total since 2006 is estimated at 655,000.”””

    Most the Iraqi death is that the hands of another Iraqis. Therefore I would expect the Iraqi death count to extremely larger than our own.

    Iraqis are in control of Iraq. We are playing largely a reactive role.

  52. If the Iraqis don’t like the Iraqi death toll, they really should stop killing each other.

  53. If the Iraqis don’t like the Iraqi death toll, they really should stop killing each other.

    Yes, the correct answer. Good show.

  54. If the Iraqis don’t like the Iraqi death toll, they really should stop killing each other.

    If you’re suggesting that there’s nothing we can do to stop them, I wholeheartedly agree. Considering that and the fact that they don’t want us there, when do we leave?

  55. Brave, brave Sir Guy Montag doesn’t want us counting bodies. Shall we just stuff them underneath the floorboards, like Ed Guine?

    If only we could all have the bravery of Sir Guy: the Bravery of Being Out of Range

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