Wednesday, September 08, 2004


The American death toll in Iraq hits 1000, which John Kerry described as a "tragic milestone." It's a milestone that I'm sure, sadly, many hope will hang around George Bush's neck and pull him down come November - then the sacrifice will not be in vain.

Agence France-Presse for a change does something radical and actually asks the American soldiers themselves what they think:

"The deaths of 1,000 American troops in Iraq since the 2003 invasion to topple Saddam Hussein has only strengthened US resolve to restore security to the strife-torn country, soldiers said.

"Dismissing parallels with the 1961-75 war in Vietnam, officers lashed out at the media for playing the grim-reaper over the mounting casualty toll and failing to appreciate the sacrifices made by each soldier."
Captain Gregory Wingard, 39, at the 1st Infantry Division's Camp Warhorse near Baquba, north of Baghdad:

"It sucks. The newspapers glorify it. Everyday, reporting the numbers going up and up, trying to push a point... Sad as it is for those 1,000 families and their friends, they're nothing to the number of Iraqis that get killed trying to defend their own families... We are winning the hearts and minds... It's nothing like Vietnam."
Sergeant Kimberly Snow, 35, from Ohio:

"There's one word you have to push back at them. Gettysburg: 63,000 killed in a single day."
National Guard Major Tony Quinn, from North Carolina:

"If 1,000 died today, that'd be pretty significant, but its just another number."
Captain Michael Adams, 37, from Oregon:

"Every single soldier knows the risk. You do the best you can with your day and don't think about it. If I was to get killed tomorrow by an IED, I would not regret coming over here... Six months ago people were afraid of their own shadow. Now I've seen kids playing in the park, farmers are out working. Now they can have a chance at rebuilding their country."
Specialist Robert Bybee, 21, deployed in Tikrit:

"Obviously when you loose people, its a tragic time. But you don't loose morale. It strengthens your resolve."
To the American soldiers - thank you. As John Kerry pointed out, you make 90% of the troops on the ground and you take 90% of the casualties. Although these numbers are not quite right, it's true that you do most of the heavy lifting.

To the other soldiers in the Coalition of the Willing - also thank you. John Kerry has kindly described you as "500 troops here or there" and the value of your contribution and assistance to the Coalition in Iraq as "the phoniest thing I've ever heard." Don't mind him; you're there - France, Germany, Russia and Muslim countries are not, however much John Kerry dreams that would be the case.


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