The second little bonbon is the fact that come June 7 the Afghanistan war will enter the bloody annals of our wars as the longest one. On that date it will have been 104 months that we have been fighting there. Every day USA Today prints a little box entitled "U.S. Death Toll." Here is the one from today:
As of Thursday, 4,391 U.S. service members and 13 Department civilians had been reported Killed in the Iraq war. In and around Afghanistan, 996 U.S. servicemembers and two Defense Department civilians had been reported killed. Latest death identified in Afghanistan:
Army National Guard Sgt. Edwin Rivera, 28, Waterford, Conn.; died Tuesday at National Naval Center in Bethesda, Md., of wounds suffered May 20 when his unit was attacked at Contingency Outpost Xio Haq by enemy forces using indirect fire; 102nd Infantry.In its stark matter-of-factness, a notice like this is, to me, chilling. Somebody's son, husband, brother has been blown away before he's 30 . . . and for what? Defending his country? For freedom? For American ideals? Please. Don't make me laugh. He's dead because it was his bad luck to have his life line intersect with the political aims of politicians whose sons, brothers, spouses are never going to be in his situation.
I'm sure the Rivera family is going to have a real special Memorial Day this year.
*For those interested, the book list at The American Empire Project provides abundant documentation.