Feelings about casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq

According to a recent AP report, the number of US soldiers killed in Afghanistan in January and February of 2010 is, well, one a day. That’s a 100 percent increase compared to the same time period last year. It’s a lot. And it’s going to get worse as more troops continue to surge in. The number of wounded during the same two months of both years has increased 350 percent from 85 to 381. The total number of wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq over the course of these wards so far is about 35,000. It’s a horrific number but the number doesn’t begin to convey the horror that the human wreckage of these conflicts, and their families, must live with. It tears them apart. And it’s a story that’s playing out too quietly and too tragically across the country.

The son of a family friend comes to mind. He was wounded in Iraq more than a year ago and has spent most of the time since in operating rooms and hospitals as doctors try to patch his limbs together with surgery and prosthetics. He will never know again most of the simple pleasures — hopping out of bed, taking a nice walk — most of us take for granted. It would be good for us to remember these men and women as we assess what we are doing in these places and what these conflicts are worth.