The personal thoughts and comments of Gene, "The Aggie."

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Saturday, May 31, 2008


Bill Steigerwald at Front Page Magazine interviewed Victor Davis Hanson, one of my favorite writers of history and commentary.

Just this last week I was able to share this same point with my future daughter-in-law-to-be as we "solved" all of the world's problems at the kitchen table. I think I've had this discussion with our own daughter earlier.

Anyway, future daughter-in-law-to-be did not remember any of the facts of military history until they were forcibly reminded. Now I'm no historian of any kind. It's just a casual hobby in my latter years.

She is not stupid. She is bright and intelligent. I'm glad she's going to join the Aggie clan soon. However, in this area of history, she is ignorant.

Try this "re-constructed" conversation on for size:

Future Daughter-in-law (FD): "But we've lost SO
in this war!"

Aggie (Ag): Oh? How many did we lose on June 6th, 1944?

FD: "Huh?!
Oh. World War II? D-Day??? I don't know, but we lost a lot."

Ag: "Yep. I recently read about 2,500." (I don't expect that was the right number, but that is the number IIRC.)

"How about at Gettysburg?"

FD: "Uhhh. The Civil War??"

Ag: "Yep. How about 30,000 in ONE DAY!"

Just imagine, nowdays, our military sending out THIRTY THOUSAND "We regret to inform you of . . . " letters for one day's action. Politicians would scream, wail and weep. Not for the dead but for their own jobs. Perhaps their own lives.

We had enough trouble dealing with the loss of almost 3,000 in one day on September 11th, 2001. Do WE have the guts to deal with true national tragedy? Politically, we've blamed Bush and crew, and every one else except the perpetrators for that act of mass murder.

Then, I read Hanson's comment at Front Page:

" . . . in six years we’ve lost about the same amount of soldiers we lost in two or three days in a major campaign in World War II. During an eight-year period of the Clinton administration, when the military was two or three times larger and not nearly as adept in its training, I think we lost almost twice as many as we’ve lost in Iraq in peacetime accidents. I think in the eight years of the Clinton administration we lost over 7,000 dead in accidents. So if you look at the rate of casualties this month, for example, we’re averaging about less than one a day. It was always pretty much a standard figure that we would lose three soldiers a day in the military in the 1980s and 1990s – it was well over a thousand a year. It’s not happening in the military in general and it’s not happening in Iraq. It doesn’t mean it’s not tragic we are losing people, but given the stakes, I’m always amazed at how well the military does.


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