Wednesday, November 01, 2006

One Hundred Dead in October

We've heard this figure a lot lately. It's held up to us as proof positive that we're pursuing a fools errand in Iraq, and that we need to get out while we can.

Let me offer an alternative interpretation.

October represents the most that could be accomplished by terrorists in Iraq, and if that's the best they can do, we're making better progress than anyone gives us credit for.

I have two reasons for believing that terrorists gave their best shot in October. First, because October coincided roughly with the Islamic month of Ramadan. On certain nights during Ramadan, the so-called "Nights of Power" acts of jihad are thought to earn their perpetrators even greater heavenly rewards than they would normally. Anyone willing to die for the insurgency would want to do so during Ramadan if possible.

Second, the insurgency has made it clear that heightened activity was for the purpose of affecting our November elections. The more Americans who die before the election, the logic goes, the more likely Americans will be to elect a government that will pull our troops out. In this respect, the insurgents expect us to be just like Spain.

So if October offered the insurgents their best chance for getting their way here on earth and increasing their heavenly reward, then we can expect that October's activities represent an all-out effort.
That's pretty pitiful. Now one hundred deaths is nothing to be taken lightly, but for an all out, last-ditch effort by a lethal enemy, it's a pretty poor showing. Compare it to other end-game surges, like the Battle of the Bulge, and you begin to see what I mean.

Headlines trumpeting the "Bloodiest Month of the War" should read something more like "Last-ditch Offensive Falls Short."

1 comment:

Keith Miller said...

I walked through the cornfields at Antietam last September 17th. It was 144 years to the day since 87,000 U.S. soldiers fought another 40,000 Americans in what was then the bloodiest day of the Civil War. By the end of the day 23,000 (that's right 23,000 in little more than 10 hours) were killed or mortally wounded. It was 1862, and despite the overwhelming numerical superiority of Union troops, McClellan had achieved just a little better than a draw. It was considered a victory for the North, though there are no words to describe the depths of failure that Kerry would assign to such a sacrifice. There were indeed Kerrys of their time who, because of their under-value of America's worth, saw no justification for the sacrifice. They doubted a U.S. victory and would've had the Union withdraw and "save" what was left of the U.S. Lincoln would have none of that and he "stayed the course" despite nearly despairing over the sacrifices of that day and days worse to come...days we can't fathom today.

On September 17, 1862, we lost on average 38 lives a minute for 10 hours...one battle...one day. That staggering one-day blood payment represents just a fraction of the total costs for Kerry's freedom to insult those who again purchased his freedom in October with their "uneducated" blood. His words were no "botched joke." They represent a liberal (elite)dose of honesty.