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More Combat Deaths in Afghanistan Than in Iraq

The Associated Press:

American and allied combat deaths in Afghanistan in May passed the monthly toll in Iraq for the first time. Defense Secretary Robert Gates used the statistical comparison to dramatize his point to NATO defense ministers that they need to do more to get Afghanistan moving in a better direction. He wants more allied combat troops, more trainers and more public commitment.
More positively, the May death totals point to security improvements in Iraq that few thought likely a year ago. But the deterioration in Afghanistan suggests a troubling additional possibility: a widening of the war to Pakistan, where the Taliban and al-Qaida have found haven.
By the Pentagon's count, 15 U.S. and two allied troops were killed in action in Iraq last month, a total of 17. In Afghanistan it was 19, including 14 Americans and five coalition troops. One month does not make a trend, but in this case the statistics are so out of whack with perceptions of the two wars that Gates could use them to drive home his point about Afghanistan.

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John in Michigan, USA on :

"One month does not make a trend" Very true. A more realistic comparison would be casualties per soldier in country. By that measure, I suspect Afghanistan coalition casualties have been higher than Iraq coalition casualties for some time now, and that this is, arguably, a trend. I will try to find data.

Joe Noory on :

Serves us right for depending on a coalition that has some nations in it who are more interest in their public image than anything else.

Zyme on :

Arguably a more difficult terrain will create more casualties than what you seem to call populistic allies.

Joe Noory on :

Why more now than two years ago? This is a consequence of coalition partners wanting to show themselves to be there, and then leaving the risk to a handful of the parties. I realize that publicly they're trying to be polite, knowing just how little criticism some of these governments seem to be able to bear, but you can hardly even call this partnering.

David on :

Even south Korea government has some thin political skill than washington and Nato. Why did they agreed talk with Taliban and their citians were free when they were about to be kill all if they didn't agree for that peace. So washington and Nato are not fighting in Afganistan for human right or defend their nations but they are fighting for their political arrogances and for these people know less in politics may thinks that they are superpower while they supporting superpowerless and wars criminal of 21st century, if south Korea government made peace with Taliban even Nato can do so even if washington wanted to compare her empire to be more strong than the former soviet union who left that nation. In Iraq this will tell to people in world that once before whole people in world live in Iraq but due to planed of built of babel tower the HOLY CREATOR confused the nations and created the nationalism against them so that they should not be destroy all by satan idealism of evil.

Pat Patterson on :

I don't think that this comment is the David that usually comments here. I might disagree with David's logic but this entry appears demented.

Fred on :

Joe, typically nations are mostly interested in their own benefite (actually most often in the benefite of those making the decisions) speaking of which: In which way would it be benefitial to the coalition nations in question to invest more in Afghanistan (as opposed to simply pulling out)?

Joe Noory on :

Actually, many Europeans seem to get pretty perky and excited about American deaths. Just google "9/11 in Paris".

Fred on :

Most certainly there are extreme positions in Europe. But then again you find those people most anywhere including the United States. I'm not sure how your post pertains to the overall topic but allow me to ask a question here. How much of your rather continous outrage concerning all things European is actually fuelled by hurt feelings/pride? I freely admit this is a very subjectiv impression but I sometimes can help to think you and many of your fellow-posters feel betrayed by the current foreign politics of several european states and essentially come her to poke fun, ridicule and taunt at every opportunity thereby doing exactly the same thing you critisised in European (media). On another matter I googled - I found some crazy american chick with some sort of Navy banner in front of the Eifel tower, telling me the third (fourth?, fifth? god knows) World war was upon us. The rest was everything from real estate agents to workshops. No relation whatsoever to the topic at hand. Admittedly I only looked over the first side of search results since my time is limited but still. Eta: There was a youtube video from a self-styled hippie, whos views of the "War on Terror" are none too favourable but I was under the distint impression that this gentleman is in fact a citizen of the US, which only goes to show that opinions on current US politcs aren't uniform on your side of the atlantic either, are they?

Kevin Sampson on :

‘How much of your rather continous outrage concerning all things European is actually fuelled by hurt feelings/pride?’ Not a bit of it. My own continuous outrage is fueled by the fact that we (America) persist in shackling ourselves to NATO (at considerable expense) and hence Europe, despite the fact that this provides little or no benefit to us, as far as I can see.

Fred on :

That is certainly a perfectly valid opinion ( even if not necessarily, in my opinion, a factual correct one ) in which case you should take it up with your executive branche.

Kevin Sampson on :

I do, every four years. In the mean time, what's factually incorrect about it?

Fred on :

What is the price tag of Nato exactly? Yes the US maintains a widespread (and rather costly I imagine) net of bases around the globe but let's get real here: this is mostly to further US geopolitical goals. Someone once described Germany's roll to the US as the world's biggest aircraft-carrier - with sausages. You need a steeping stone on the other side of the Atlantic to project your influence into the Middle East, a none hostile, stable, preferably technical advanced nation. Sure there are others that fit this bill in eastern europe and elsewhere. You could shift the bases and I doubt anyone would seriously complain apart from some village mayors but where would be the upside for the US? Only more costs. So what are the standing costs for Nato. Well there is all that brass in Brussel somewhere but that bill is diveded among member states. Probably the occasional manoeuver. Frankly I have no idea how much you have to fork over for such things but I can't imagine it's all that much. On the plus side there are about 10000-15000 Nato troops in Afghanistan not quite the fast legions you seem to expect but not completly useless either. On a compeltly unrelated (and unnecessary but god damnit, it feels good) note: Yeeeeeeha eat my dust Portugal!

Martin on :

Yeeeeeeha indeed!!!!

Kevin Sampson on :

As near as I can tell there are about 35 US military bases in Europe and, as you point out, they are costly. As you also point out, we need a stepping stone to the Mid-East. The operative word there is ‘A (singular) stepping stone’. Clearly we would not want to figuratively put all our eggs in one basket, or one base, but we do not, by any stretch of the imagination, require 35. However, your assertion that there would be no upside for the US, only more costs, is clearly based on the mistaken belief that all 35 of those bases would be moved. Sorry to disabuse you, Fred, but they won’t be. Many of them, probably most of them, would be closed, the remainder would move east, I would guess Poland, Croatia, maybe Montenegro. If you don’t think this would result in major cost savings, then you really need to reduce your recreational drug use. However, this is only half the picture. As long as we remain in NATO we are required to provide not only for our own defense, but also for yours. Do they still run REFORGER every year? Probably only as a computer simulation, but you can bet the OpPlan is still kept current somewhere and we are still required to maintain at least notional taskings of units to carry out that mission. If we could get our from under that alone it would probably buy us another F-22. Then there are the less tangible costs of staying in Europe. Protests against some aspect of the US occur somewhere in Europe virtually every day. European activists threaten, and occasionally attempt, to arrest US military and government personnel for various ‘crimes’. Harassment, and occasional violence, against US civilians and military personnel is not unknown. Now let’s look at the ‘plus side’. In 1973 every Western European nation except Portugal denied US aircraft permission to transit their airspace to re-supply Israel during the Yom Kippur War. When the US launched air raids on Libya in 1986 France and Spain again denied the strike aircraft permission to transit their airspace. As far as Afghanistan goes, the last comprehensive figures I could find were from 2005 when there where 7927 European NATO personnel in Afghanistan. As far as I know, no one on your side of the Atlantic has raised that ante until just recently, have they? So the 10 to 15 thousand you posit is rather generous. I did not say they were useless, however, their utility must be weighed against the various liabilities that accompany them. In my opinion, NATO is on the wrong side of that equation. PS If you want to complain about ‘factual correct’-ness, then include some no-shit facts. Except for your claim about the number of NATO troops in Afghanistan (which is problematic) your post above is wholly opinion and supposition.

Kevin Sampson on :

It isn't, which is why they will do neither and simply maintain the status quo. This allows them to maintain the pretence of participation in a NATO Article 5 mandated operation at minimal cost to themselves. By the way, bit of a transparent strawman there, don't you think?

Fred on :

By the way, bit of a transparent strawman there, don't you think? Uhhh maybe? Perhaps I'm only unusual thick today but I'm not quite certain what you are getting at. Spell it out for a tired man will you? What exactly is the defenition of a strawman in this context? And do you mean me or the foreign politics of the aforementioned nations?

Kevin Sampson on :

Sorry, wrong logical fallacy. Should have been false dichotomy.

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