Wednesday, October 26, 2005

On the trail of dead

Okay, so every American death hurts. Every Iraqi death hurts, for that matter, and every Coalition death (is there still a coalition?), but of course the American deaths hit really close to home. No one loss ranks above any other.

But the the 2,000th one is, in its own way, fairly significant.

I'm just wondering, are we still winning? I realize that there isn't any kind of calculus that can convert human lives and political actions and the growth of democracy and the spread of terrorism into figures that can easily be added, divided, squared and compared with a "greater than" or "less than," but just by basic logic and reckoning, are we still winning? Would someone more knowledgeable than I please sit down and figure out exactly what has to happen in Iraq, politically and culturally and socially, to be worth the loss of 2,000 sons and daughters and moms and dads and best friends, 2,000 people who will never go on to raise children or kiss their wives in the morning or start businesses or knock over liquor stores or read magazines or try to bake bread but not have enough flour? How many bedtime stories are worth an elementary school, and how many embarrassing drunken karaoke nights will we trade for a constitution, and how many clumsily-worded love letters equal a free election? Will 2,000 be enough? Can we afford it? Are we in a position that we can win this?

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