Can Bush ‘Buck’ 4,000-Troop Toll?
“It Didn’t Work” was the title of William F. Buckley’s 2006 National Review article conceding political defeat in Iraq. Was he right? It’s possible. It is unnerving to find such stark ambivalence in the conservative movement about the war, even from the father of modern conservatism. However, I refuse to parade the deaths of 4,000 troops as some sort of trophy of America’s defeat.
I think any fair-minded person should conclude, as Buckley did, that the effort didn’t accomplish what it set out to do, to the extent that we can even define exactly what the goals were in the first place. That said, the media does not get a pass. In a sort of bizarre, moribund way, the press has reveled in treating the number 4,000 as a “milestone.” Whatever your political position may be, the stories about the deaths of 4,000 troops are a distortion of the reality in Iraq. There are better ways to analyze the real problems of the current conflict.
Let’s address the canard first, for the sake of perspective. Just like the number 3,000 before it, 4,000 has become a media obsession. The exaggeration of this relatively miniscule number uses the troops’ deaths as a political tool to engender antipathy. This ultimately creates many of the conditions on the ground that end up killing soldiers.
Yes, the number is miniscule