Monday, August 29, 2005

Three Missiles That Missed

The radio reporter’s voice was tense with excitement. “Today,” he gushed, “the US Navy faced its most serious attack since the onset of hostilities. Three missiles were fired at American Navel vessels anchored in the Gulf of Aqaba.” Then in a recognizably disappointed undertone, “All missed!” He then went on to explain the gravity of this attack and described the horrific damage done to the empty warehouse and deserted street where the misguided missiles landed.

The inept, bumbling murders with which our military is now engaged are hardly worthy to be called enemy combatants. Their miserable attempt at war – while painful to those precious heroes who suffer - pale in comparison to the damage done to our countrymen by drunk drivers, slips down stairwells, or falls from kitchen stools. I don’t dismiss the danger of drunk drivers and celebrate the nationwide efforts to crack down on them this Labor Day holiday, but they hardly seem capable of bringing Western Civilization to its knees.

Consider these statistics from some wars in which we faced truly powerful opponents. At the battle of Verdun; the defense of the city lasted from February 21 – July of 1916. French casualties totaled about 315,000, while the Germans lost 280,000, killed or wounded. The city was all but destroyed. At the Battle of the Somme, between July and November of the same year; over 600,000 Germans, 400,000 Brits and 200,000 French became casualties. Total Casualties in WWI.

The Allies: Dead- Wounded

Belgium: 14,000 - 44,700
British Empire: 908,400 - 2,090,200
France: 1,384,000 - 4,266,000
Greece: 5,000 - 21,000
Italy: 650,000 - 947,000
Portugal: 7,200 - 13,800
Romania: 335,700 - 120,000
Russian: 1,700,000 - 4,950,000
Serbia and Montenegro: 48,000 - 143,000
United States: 116,516 - 234,428

The Central Powers

Austria-Hungary: 1,200,000 - 3,620,000
Bulgaria: 87,000 - 152,400
Germany: 1,773,000 - 4,216,000
Ottoman Empire: 325,000 - 400,000

Total Casualties in WWII

The Allies: Dead - Wounded

Australia: 23,365 - 39,803
Belgium: 7,760 - 14,500
Canada: 37,476 - 53,174
China: 2,200,000 - 1,762,000
France: 210,671 - 390,000
Great Britain: 329,208 - 348,403
Poland: 320,000 - 530,000
Soviet Union: 7,500,000 - 5,000,000
United States: 405,399 - 671,278

The Axis

Austria: 380,000 - 350,117
Bulgaria: 10,000 - 21,878
Finland: 82,000 - 50,000
Germany: 3,500,000 - 7,250,000
Hungary: 140,000 - 89,313
Italy: 77,494 - 120,000
Japan: 1,219,000 - 295,247
Romania: 300,000 - ?

These figures are all military casualties and are from The World Book Encyclopedia 1994. The encyclopedia also sites the following on Civilian casualties: “No one knows how many civilians died as a direct result of World War II. Bombing raids destroyed many of the records needed to estimate those deaths. In addition, millions of people died in fires, of diseases, and of other causes after such essential services as fire fighting and health care broke down in war-torn areas. The Soviet Union and China suffered the highest toll of civilian deaths during World War II. About 19 million Soviet civilians and as many as 10 million Chinese civilians died.”

On the first two days of the Normandy invasion there were 10,360 allied casualties, that’s 216 per hour. Of the 15, 500 American Airborne troopers whose sacrifice made the success of D-day possible 6,000 – that’s more than one in three – were killed or seriously wounded. On February 19th 1945, 250,000 American troops on 900 ships attacked the 23,000 Japanese defenders of Iwo Jima By the end of March 5,391 American Marines were dead and 17,400 were wounded. Only 216 of the Japanese survived the battle. In the battle for the tiny island of Okinawa, between April 1st and June 21st, 1945, kamikaze suicide bombers sank 30 ships and seriously damaged 350 others. By the end of the battle for Okinawa, 12,520 American troops had been killed 37,000 wounded and 110,000 Japanese were dead.

The World Book goes on to say that, “aerial bombing during WW II rained destruction on civilian as well as military targets. Many cities lay in ruins by the end of the war, especially in Germany and Japan. Bombs wrecked houses, factories, and transportation and communication systems. Land battles also spread destruction over vast areas. After the war, millions of starving and homeless people wandered among the ruins of Europe and Asia.” In other words, entire continents were laid waste by the monsters we fought and beat in WWII.

[I could point out that all this destruction was repaired by the generosity of the American People, but that should go without saying!]

My point - The barbarians we are now combating are in no way comparable to the giants we have met and matched in the past. This “war on terror”, while tragic, does not compare to the earth shaking conflicts of our father’s. Bin Laden’s band is a miserable little spider, poisonous perhaps – but no Shelob. The only significance they have has been given them by America’s enemies within; media types seeking bygone “glory” and politicians trying to derail America’s rediscovery of values so they can regain their control over the electorate. The terrorists can’t hit their targets – their missiles go astray and it’s up to the NPR to give them virulence. Without the constant scream of the press these Al-quida insects would remain less significant than so many rickety stepping stools.


Reach Upward said...

In the wars mentioned, most U.S. citizens were directly impacted. Such was the case in many countries. The sheer size of those events boggles the mind. Today many U.S. citizens don't really know anybody that is directly involved in the war effort. Polls show that support for the war is low among that population, but is much higher among the population of those that personally know someone involved. While our heroes work to keep us safe by exterminating the nefarious arachnids you mentioned, many beneficiaries today fail to appreciate their service simply because it doesn't hit them close to home.

RealFruitBeverage said...

I think we have to remember something; the cause of some threats start off small. Are these "terrorist" trained soilders? No. Will they be? Possible. It takes a lot to develop a person to be as good a soilder as the ones in the US military. As the "movement" I'll call it, gains strength and support there is an increase in the likelyhood that these individuals become closer to well trained soilders. A lot of the reason why they look so incompetent by military standards is the US military is the best trained, best equiped fighting force in the world. We would make anyone look like a chump.

With that being said I don't consider these killers as "bumbling murders". In fact they are very good at what they want to do; filling the life of normal citizens with fear. If you notice, the new string of bombings are targeted at the civilian population. These killers are a great danger not to the US military but to the notion of hope. To a people who never new the promise of freedom it is easier to install the idea that it will be buisness as usual, back to the days of oppression. That's when the gaints of evil awake when the people give up all hope for freedom. It is without hope that the forces of evil flurish. It is then that the path of evil becomes the hope that people long forgot.

Are these monsters on the same magnitude as the enimies of our fathers? No. But I garantee they will be if we choose to let them. The nature of this kind of evil has shown itself. It's the same evil that killed millions of jews, killed millions of africans, I don't know how many kurds, and who knows what else. I think we need to pursue these men with the resolve of those in WWII. In older days I might say I would not rest till I knew that all the bones of my enemy were crushed to powder and spread to the winds. But we're not in older days so I'll say the victory of the free world (lead by the USA) in this conflict has the same consquence as the victory of the free world back then, the salvation of millions and millions of lives.

Wether it be a gnat or Mothra, the consquences of victory and defeat are the same.

Anyways realfruitbeverage out. Sparta Lives!

Ares said...

It was very interesting that as I sat in my AP American History class, the teacher (who has a reputation for being very liberal) stated that the civility of Americans "depends on which side of the bomb you are on." At which point someone far smarter than I told her that our weapons are more precise, limiting collateral damage. Then my teacher said, "well, I'm sure that the mother of the two year old who was killed by an American bomb is saying 'Thank goodness it was minimized, or my neighbors would have gotten it too.'" As I have thought about what she said, I have come to realize that the addage "freedom isn't free" has many more meanings than just the loss of the lives of soldiers. To her (my teacher) I would just say that she should be glad she has her freedom, be glad that it is not her that is losing a loved one, but sacrifices of all shapes, sizes, and kinds must be made and no one has given more here than the American Soldier!

Anonymous said...

Vegimatic Here,

The effect the terrorists are having are being magnified from within, not from them.

When it is more important to protect the rights of non-citizens than citizens we really have a problem with our identity as a soverin nation.

About Health Blog said...

Bin Laden’s band is a miserable little spider, poisonous perhaps – but no Shelob.