Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Saturday | March 29, 2003

The silliness of counting Iraqi casualties

I'm starting to see a disturbing trend -- the willingness of Centcom generals to say "we hold 45 percent of Iraq", and "300 Iraqis were killed in the latest engagement".

Let's be clear -- it doesn't matter. None of that matters. The Iraqis may lose soldiers to every one of ours. 20. 30. It doesn't matter.

In Vietnam, the US lost nearly 60,000 men. They killed nearly 700,000 VC and NVA.

Guerilla defenders can take far more casualties than we can. The American public doesn't suffer casualties lightly, nor should it.

In Iraq, we are starting to see suicide charges against heavy armor. 150 Iraqis may die, but taking out an M1 Abrams and killing 2-3 GI's is considered a fair trade. We had our first suicide car bomb attack yesterday, and there will be more.

We may control 99 percent of the country, but the cities are the only thing that matters. And physically occupying them will only be so useful.

The Iraqis may lose 200,000 combatants over the next year, and it will do the US occupiers little good if we lose 1,000. With numbers like this, the Iraqis would win. This isn't a football game. We can't keep score the traditional way. We tried that in Vietnam for all the good it did us.

And given the rumblings out of Iran and Syria, it looks as though the nightmare scenario may actually play out. The US dodged a bullet when it convinced Turkey to stay out of Iraqi Kurdistan. But nothing else seems to be going according to plan.

Posted March 29, 2003 08:36 AM | Comments (155)


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