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Forgotten Math


I receive casualty reports from the DOD. Of late there have been many. IEDs in Afghanistan are taking their toll. I seemed to have missed the reporting in the media of these events. Back during the Bush days, each new casualty led to an increase in the large casualty clock. “Today two soldiers were killed in XXXX bringing the total to 1,245.”

Anybody out there have an opinion on why all is silent today?


Leslie Swearingen 9 years ago

It is not all silent. I hear on MSNBC of the death of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, but no total. Perhaps the daily broadcasting of the total was meant to inflame the people who were calming down after 9/11 much the same way that the bloody shirt was waved in Congress to provoke the war with Mexico.

jehovah_bob 9 years ago

The death toll doesn't sell anymore, nor does it outrage, but mostly it just doesn't sell.

As with all things painful and traumatic, we have become desensitized.

It's the American way.

Ronda Miller 9 years ago

With a son who just enlisted in the army, I am interested in this topic....when did we become disinterested.....is it the American way...or the Democrat's way? (Now that should get this blog moving)... ;)

Ronda Miller 9 years ago


"The death toll doesn't sell anymore, nor does it outrage, but mostly it just doesn't sell." this was the statement I took to mean disinterested....If it doesn't sell....

jehovah_bob 9 years ago

Disinterested maybe, but I think there's only so much you can hear day in and day out before you just go numb . . . desensitized. If people aren't listening, then why report on it?

Someone commented on another story something like, news isn't about information anymore, it's about selling papers. Though everyone is concerned about the war and the toll it takes, at least deep down inside, most people just don't want to listen to it anymore. It's not easy to hear about it every day, and Americans like things to be easy.

And it's funny you should mention "the Democrat's way", because I thought it was those hippy liberals that started the casualty clock as a focus of outrage against the Bush administration putting us in an "unjust" war.

George Lippencott 9 years ago

It is interesting that the our "desensitivity" seems to relate to the change in administration.

FYI: The DOD has been releasing casualty notifications in the same manner since I started receiving them way back at the start of Iraq

Ronda Miller 9 years ago

jehovah, I agree with much of what you say about selling papers....if people stop reacting to news (desensitization or disinterest) then the journalists stop writing about it....on the other hand, it is up to the journalists to keep it the forefront of our minds.

george, thanks for keeping this in our minds and questioning what the difference might be. What has happened to the outrage now that Obama is President?

Katara 9 years ago

I was told there was going to be no math involved.

jonas_opines 9 years ago

"Back during the Bush days, each new casualty led to an increase in the large casualty clock. “Today two soldiers were killed in XXXX bringing the total to 1,245.”"

What you actually mean is, back in the early part of the Iraq War. The silence started a lot farther back that the change of administration, largely when the doomcrying about the Economy displaced it.

So the greater question, then, is why is it that you're just now going on about it? Is it because the administration changed? Nah, it couldn't be that, could it?

George Lippencott 9 years ago

Actually, the casualty toll has been very low for a year or more. I could opine that as the "surge" in Iraq worked (or the insurgents laid low waiting for us to pull out) the numbers dropped. Now that we are engaging in Afghanistan, the toll is rising rapidly. Those are facts.

I can understand the loss of interest by the press when the numbers dropped. I am not sure why the interest has not returned as the toll has with the "surge" in Afghanistan

jonas_opines 9 years ago

Because we have problems here, and Afghanistan is such old old news.

Alia Ahmed 9 years ago

I am interested and senstive to our military deaths and have been interested during the last administration and the current administration. I'm interested whether I have a son or daughter serving in the military or not. I'm sure for all the Democats who've served or had children, parents, spouses or siblings who've served our country and many who've made the ultimate sacrifice, they would be dismayed that the state of partisan politics in our country has declined to the point of accusing someone of the opposing political party of being disinterested in American casualties in this war or previous wars. Patriotism is not owned by a particular political party, though Limbaugh and Cheney (neither who have served in the military) would lead us to believe otherwise. How sad that some of you believe Democrats don't care about our military men and women. I know I am insulted and saddened by that accusation.

Leslie Swearingen 9 years ago

Go to iCasualties.org to get a list of all US military deaths.

fantastic_hollaa 9 years ago

Jim Lehrer concludes his show every weeknight with an honor roll of those KIA.

Ronda Miller 9 years ago

Alia, more to the point is that journalists aren't reporting it under the Democrat administration perhaps.....some of our journalists have tended to lean in different directions. Something that wasn't done in previous years/decades as I was growing up, I never new how the nightly news face voted...these days it is too obvious. And who has the power?

Leslie Swearingen 9 years ago

Yes he does, and since my Father was killed in the Korean War, it is painful for me to watch. The memory of the two officers coming to our little house to tell my Grandmother she had lost her darling boy, and her scream stays with me still, though it was many years ago now. The survivors of D Day must feel the same way.

UfoPilot 9 years ago

Partisanship plain and simple. The Media roots for the Democrats and they are in power, therefore they play down news that reflects badly on the democrats.

jonas_opines 9 years ago

Yargh!! Teh Librul medya!! Yargh!!

Alia Ahmed 9 years ago

Perhaps I just pay more attention but I've read and heard of numerous personal stories of service members who've recently been killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq. This past week an 18 year old man from Miller, Mo named Matthew Wilson was killed by IED along with two of his fellow service members. I heard it on the news before I read this blog. I did a search of his name and have found articles about his and his comrades deaths in the LA Times, a news station in New York, the paper in the south as well as pages and pages of other links, including the very liberal site, DailyKos. http://www.google.com/search?q=matthew+wilson+miller+missouri+killed&hl=en&rlz=1T4ADBS_enUS225US225&start=10&sa=N http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/6/6/20105/36788/445/738932 There were numerous stories about the oldest American service member to die in Iraq a couple of weeks ago.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/05/15/iraq.oldest.soldier.dies/ http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1T4ADBS_enUS225US225&q=60+year+old+dies+in+combat&aq=f&oq=&aqi=

It was the previous administration whose policy forbid that the flag-draped caskets of our fallen heroes be shown to the public upon their return to their homeland. That policy was recently overturned by the present administration. The truth obviously lies in the eyes and ears of the beholder. Regardless, the myth of the liberal MSM has been discounted as a political ploy and not factual. As another frequent poster on these forums likes to point out, if a lie is repeated enough, people start to believe it. That has certainly been the case with the myth of the liberal media. Look at the publisher of this paper and other major papers, they are overwhelmingly conservative. Publishers and editors determine news content and placement and write the headlines, not individual reporters.
http://www.consortiumnews.com/2002/123102a.html http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2447

George Lippencott 9 years ago

Logan72 (Alia Ahmed) says… " How sad that some of you believe Democrats don't care about our military men and women. I know I am insulted and saddened by that accusation."

Because some of us seved in Vietnam and got spit on by people posing as Democrats.

Alia Ahmed 9 years ago

First of all George, thank you for serving in the military.

It doesn't seem right to condemn an entire political party because of what a few radical citizens did to you no matter how dispicable, right? Isn't that what people who are pro-life say, don't judge all of us because of a few, misguided violent followers?

I have always taken the position that I can respect and honor our military men and women and disagree publicly about our government's policies. You know that freedom of speech amendment.......

John Kerry served in Vietnam (no matter what the Swift Boat revisionists have to say about it) and is a Democrat. The Kennedys are a strong Democratic family and several of their sons served in the military. I think you disrespect the many Democrats (most who are not well known or famous) and their families who have served our country faithfully by saying Democrats don't care about the military. Opposing unnecessary wars and keeping our service members out of harm's way whenever possible seems extremely patriotic and demonstrates care and concern for them.

George Lippencott 9 years ago


Didn't a guy name Kerry run for president under the banner of the Democratic party. He called me a "baby killer" and threw his medals, (similar to mine) over a fence. I do not recall an appology.

Yes, I realize that not all Democrats feel that way. That said, the Democratic party is the home of many of those who oppose war. (That is not bad) Sometimes they confuse the war and the warrior.

Mr Obama seems to be reaching out to the current gereration of warriors. However, it really did not help when one of his minnions decided to make combat wounded warriors use their personal; insurance to pay for VA care for their war wounds. Yes, he did back off but once again we seem to have strange perceptions within the Democratic party.

George Lippencott 9 years ago

An additional thought. My comment is

"Because some of us seved in Vietnam and got spit on by people posing as Democrats."

That did not paint all Democrats only those who did it (if in fact they were members). Is there some guilt here?

sinverguenza 9 years ago

justbegintowrite (Ronda Miller) says…

"is it the American way…or the Democrat's way?"

Ronda! I'm calling you out. You say sh*t like this and then want to play the victim, "Oh, the liberals, they're so mean to me!"

You've taken an issue that has more to do with the poor state of journalism and the disconnect of American civilians/soldiers and turned it into a Rep/Dem issue. It's baloney and you know it. Good luck to your son and family during his service, though.

George -

I've never heard of the "casualty clock" and therefore I can't say why the fatalities aren't being added to the toll. But as I mentioned to Ronda, the lack of talk about our soldiers dying has more to do with journalists and the lack (or perceived lack) of interest from the American people. Or maybe it has to do with the energy companies who are making a pretty penny off the war who happen to own all of our major media outlets (there's my liberal spin for you).

Last week (?) was the anniversary of D-Day and I heard portions of Roosevelt's speeches/prayers on NPR, and it really called to mind how little the two wars we're in affect the people of America on a daily basis. We've been asked to give up nothing. The only thing we were ever asked to do was go shopping, and hell, look where that got us.

At any rate, I catch the names of soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan/Iraq every Sunday on Stephanapolous (sure I butchered that). Luckily, I've only had to watch one name I personally knew scroll on by.

And Ronda, the outrage is still here. The difference between now and then is that the majority of American people are worried about feeding their families and making the mortgage payment. Also, a majority of Americans were outraged because of the way the war was illegally authorized and poorly conducted. We can't do anything about the authorization of war now (unless we want to impeach everyone for lying) and many of us feel better about how Iraq is going - because it's going better. The surge and other tactics have worked probably as well as they could.

The outrage at what happened and the lives lost is NOT gone. It is here and alive. But we (the American people) are at a kind of "We are here" point. The only choice is to move forward. And in my not-so-humble opinion, moving forward is going relatively well.

sinverguenza 9 years ago

Oh, and one other thing, Ronda.

Check this out:


Turns out, both Democrats and Republicans have failed to "support our troops" and what it really comes down to is how you define "support."

sinverguenza 9 years ago

Moderate (George Lippencott) says…

“Because some of us seved in Vietnam and got spit on by people posing as Democrats.”

That did not paint all Democrats only those who did it (if in fact they were members). Is there some guilt here?"

You think there wasn't a single "Republican" in the bunch that spit on you? It wasn't about party lines, it was about being for or against an extremely trying war (as all wars are).

One time a little person was really mean to me. That doesn't give me to right to label all little people as mean. One time a dog bit me. That doesn't mean all dogs will bite me.

If you define the Democratic party by the fact that some "Democrats" (IF they even claimed to be so) dishonored your service, then you're using the wrong dictionary.

And your unfounded comments about Sen. Kerry are pretty downright disrespectful of his service, I might add. The shoe can be on the other foot at any moment, and you'd do well to recognize that Sen. Kerry hasn't decried the Republican party as a bunch of scoundrels and bad Americans despite the fact that his service was greatly dishonored. I think you can learn a lesson from him.

Sen. Kerry did not call you a baby killer. Would you like proof or would you prefer for Rush Limbaugh to do your thinking for you?

http://mediamatters.org/research/200408270003 http://mediamatters.org/research/200408270003

Alia Ahmed 9 years ago

George, I don't have any reason to fill guilty. I've never spit on anyone or ever been disrespectful to any service member, no matter their political party. I've had many family members serve in the armed services and I've honored their commitment regardless of their political party affiliation.

By the way, I was a high school kid from 1968-1972 when most of the protests about the Vietnam War were being held so not really on the front lines or (back lines) of any protests. I've written a tributes to my father who served in WWII and my cousin who served in Vietnam and hold no animosity toward service members for doing their duty. I did attend peaceful vigils prior to the most recent invasion into Iraq. I didn't spit on anybody and didn't blame service members for being called to serve in that war.

In terms of what John Kerry said or did with his medals, there have been many returning service members who had regrets about what they saw and did in battle. Isn't he entitled to free speech like other Americans? Have there never been any Republican service members who've recoiled or regretted participating in a war or certain actions taken during the war? Not understanding, invalidating their concerns and failing to help service members deal with the horrors of war has contributed to the highest rates of suicide among that population.

Often the stigma of appearing weak has kept service members from seeking help. On one hand it seems you want service members to be valued and honored for the sacrifices and the duties they perform and on the other hand, there is a message that they shouldn't "whine" or bring up troubling events and memories.


George Lippencott 9 years ago

Yes he did regardless of your site. I was alive back then!

Of course he is entitled to his beliefs. The issue was about casualty reporting, remember.

Somebody took it to party. Somebody argued the Democrats support the troops and referenced Kerry. I took a cheap shot!

Personally, I think there was a problem in the Democratic Party as the Vietnam War progressed. Remember, the leadership was Democratic. We therefore turned (many of us) to blaming the military and by extension the troops. It is so much easier when it is a Republican war.

Mr. Kerry had tried in the long term tradition of the Jacksonian wing of the Democratic Party to serve his country as did President Kennedy. Upon returning from his war he discovered a different climate and went with the flow. There are consequences.

How about we get away from parties and back to why we are not reporting the casualties the way we were during the earlier phases of the Iraq war.

It is fascinating that we now can show the casualties at Dover but apparently have not chosen to do so in the main stream media.

When addressing the media there is a question as to whether something is news worthy. There is a point made that the media has turned to focus on the economy because the people are and therefore the war is less news worthy. Of course, I see articles about the war in the paper every day. We just seem to place less emphasis on the casualties. Apparently there is no loss of interest in the war itself. (I personally do not draw a distinction between Iraq and Afghanistan – they are both wars).

Back to my question! Why?

Alia Ahmed 9 years ago


I haven't noticed a difference in coverage except the stories about the media being able to show photos and video's of returning service members' caskets at Dover.

If you assertion is correct about there being less coverage, is there something people could do to change that? Should we write the national media and demand more coverage? Could you, I and other bloggers take the time to recognize these service members? Would the LJW be willing to post a list of casualties on a weekly basis if they don't do so already? I don't read the print version so I don't see everything that is printed in the LJW. I used to get the KC Star on Sundays when I lived in Kansas City and had a section with the list of military deaths on Sundays. I don't know if they still do. George, do you feel like the decreased level of coverage is at the national level or local level. Why do you think it is happening?





George Lippencott 9 years ago

Oops, I may not have been clear again. Coverage of the war is plentiful. Coverage of the specific casualty count is less then during the surge (and before).

I personally believe we are collectively doing as much as I can recall in my lifetime to recognize the service of those fighting our current wars. That is not my question - see above.

George Lippencott 9 years ago

The following is what I am writing about. For several years it went on daily on many of the main stream media outlets.

“Today two soldiers were killed in XXXX bringing the total to 1,245.”

Alia Ahmed 9 years ago

George, Sorry I took the discussion in another direction. I did catch that you and others did mention the actual casualty count, When I read an account of a service member's death, I try to really pay attention to their name and remember that this was someone's son or daughter, husband or wife, brother or sister, father or mother.

George Lippencott 9 years ago

They are! From my humble experience the worst thing you can do is try to diminish the consequences of their deaths. We sent them there. If we don't know why, we never should have done it. If we had a reason then they deserve acknowledgement for sacrifice toward that reason. Once there we become captive to our own actions.

The way we did the casualty count paid no attention to what was accomplished by their deaths. It essentially cheapened their sacrifice. "There went two more for no good reason"!

I am glad we have moved away from the count and are now more focused on the person - to the extent we are. My casualty numbers suggest that Afghanistan has been costly in more senior personnel including woman. I have not seen that in the main stream media.

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