News

This:

The Pentagon says there were no U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan in March — the first zero-fatality month there since January 2007.

To put that into further context: this is the first month without U.S. combat deaths since March, 2003 — almost eleven full years. [via]

Grandreview

I won’t repeat the line that’s echoing in my head — the one John Kerry said of a different conflict.  But I’m thinking it.

One more thing:  US casualties do not write the whole story.  Iraq and Afghanistan are hardly free of conflict.  As we listen to the usual suspects talk war at every turn of events, it’s not a bad thing to think about the last time we listened to their advice.

But I’m not going to go too far down that road in this post either.  This is a moment to be glad no one got the news this month, to hope that record will continue, and to spare a thought for all those who received that awful word over the last decade and more.

Image:  Matthew Brady, Grand Review of the Armies, 1865.  Thought of using this image, but couldn’t bring myself to do so.  NSF those who’ve lost folks — or maybe any of us.

52 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Been seeing this on Twitter and wondering when it would appear here.

  2. 2
    raven says:

    Unass that motherfucker.

  3. 3
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Baud: Now you know. #unhelpfulrejoinders

  4. 4
    Tom Levenson says:

    @raven: ? Don’t follow…

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    John doesn’t pay you enough.

  6. 6
    Long Tooth says:

    It would have been in keeping with your good words had you posted that photo of the dead at Gettysburg, only with Sherman’s immortal admonition posted in subtitle: “War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it”.

  7. 7
    Roger Moore says:

    @Tom Levenson:
    I think he means we should GTFO of Afghanistan.

  8. 8
    raven says:

    @Tom Levenson: Army talk. Leave that place.

  9. 9
    Chris says:

    US casualties do not write the whole story.

    Quoted for all too often forgotten truth. But I was happy to read the news today all the same.

  10. 10
    Roger Moore says:

    @Long Tooth:
    Given that the chickenhawks keep demanding more wars, perhaps this Sherman quote is more apropos:

    it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated … that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.

  11. 11
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Roger Moore: true of most of them, but Cheney did shoot his friend in the face

  12. 12
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Tom Levenson: Unass–pronounced un-ass, as in, get your ass out of…

  13. 13
    Betty Cracker says:

    @raven: Yep.

  14. 14
    Long Tooth says:

    @Roger Moore: ‘My’ Sherman quote was taken from a letter from Sherman in response to an appeal from the mayor and city council of Atlanta that he repeal his order that civilians evacuate that southern military industrial center while the evacuating was good. It was late summer, 1864, an can be easily Googled. On par with Lincoln’s 2nd inaugural, I contend it is a must read for any-and-all comprehending patriots.

  15. 15
    Ash Can says:

    Why do you hate the troops?

  16. 16
    the Conster says:

    Tom, have you seen the guy who stands in Dewey Square every morning through all this cold, handing out flyers and talking to everyone who will listen about getting out of Afghanistan? “We’ve been there 13 years, what are we doing there” etc. I’ve talked to him a few times as I’m crossing Surface Road. For his and their and all of our sake, this travesty needs to end. He needs to find another cause to devote his mornings to, because he’s right.

  17. 17
    J R in WV says:

    Thanks for not using the Gettysburg photo. It was too true to life. Not safe for anyone.

    Proud to be a dirty hippy with regard to most war. I do think going into Afghanistan briefly to successfully deal with the training camps, Osama and his cohorts was appropriate. But not to go nation building where the people don’t want anything built.

    Fuck ’em if they don’t want a doctor… They sure can’t have a doctor and still be killing little girls who want to learn to read. Just fuck ’em…

  18. 18
    Spinoza Is My Co-pilot says:

    My son-in-law is being deployed there next week. Supposed to be home around Xmas.

    My daughter and SIL stayed with us last week (they are based in a different state) and we had a great time together. Way too short, though.

    I had earlier figured that he would be among the last American military there; you know, packing up and turning out the lights when they left (that sounded like the general plan for his crew).

    Now I’m thinking we will end up working out a SOFA with whoever gets elected there this month and we’ll still have thousands of our troops in Afghanistan for years hence.

  19. 19

    ‘How I wanna hear the anchor man talk about a county fair/
    And how we cleaned up the air…how everybody learned to care…”

    Eleven years. We’ve been at war for my child’s entire life since the biggest thing going on was using the potty and wearing Buzz Lightyear underwear.

  20. 20

    ‘How I wanna hear the anchor man talk about a county fair/
    And how we cleaned up the air…how everybody learned to care…”

    Eleven years. We’ve been at war for my child’s entire life since the biggest thing going on was using the potty and wearing Buzz Lightyear underwear.

  21. 21

    Republicans love soldiers until they become disabled Veterans, just as they love Fetuses until they become babies. They will screw over disabled vets every chance they get just as they will screw over actual born babies once they have exited the womb. Case in point, they are trying to eviscerate the US Postal Service when it is the single largest employer of US Veterans in the US. Republicans are plain evil. Pure and simple.

  22. 22
    Comrade Jake says:

    “THAT’S BECAUSE WE’RE KILLING PEOPLE WITH DRONES IN PAKISTAN!!!” – Greenwald

  23. 23
    Roger Moore says:

    @Litlebritdiftrnt:
    Republicans love soldiers until they have to pay them.

  24. 24
    Ash Can says:

    @Litlebritdiftrnt: They don’t care about soldiers or fetuses either. They care about war porn and punishing women who have sex.

  25. 25
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @raven: What raven said.

  26. 26

    @Roger Moore: Not strictly true, they will throw billions of dollars at defense so long as it is paying soldiers to bomb the shit out of brown people. When it comes to taking care of the crippled wounded warriors then it is a waste of money, Now I can understand why they are checking this shit because a lot of the disability claims are due to Sleep Apnea which has absolutely nothing to do with combat injuries and more to do with denying the wife of 20 odd years of her share of his retirement, but they are basically evil. There is no disputing that.

  27. 27
    EthylEster says:

    @J R in WV:

    Thanks for not using the Gettysburg photo. It was too true to life. Not safe for anyone.

    I have to disagree. Hiding images that show the horror or war only makes it easier to have another war. War is real. Isn’t that what true-to-life means?

  28. 28
    raven says:

    @EthylEster: I think the civil war is over.

  29. 29
    Cervantes says:

    @Long Tooth:

    ‘My’ Sherman quote was taken from a letter from Sherman in response to an appeal from the mayor and city council of Atlanta that he repeal his order that civilians evacuate that southern military industrial center while the evacuating was good. It was late summer, 1864, an can be easily Googled. On par with Lincoln’s 2nd inaugural, I contend it is a must read for any-and-all comprehending patriots.

    Could not agree more.

  30. 30
    JPL says:

    @raven: Written by a fine GA person. Are you sure?

  31. 31

    Cheney devoted much of his speech to defending the National Security Agency and its massive collection programs. There is the belief, he said, “that we have created in the National Security Agency this monster bureaucracy that’s reading everybody’s mail, listening to everybody’s phone calls, infringing upon our civil liberties and civil rights. Hogwash.” He claimed that there has not been a single case of NSA abusing its authority. (Cheney must have missed this and this.) And he asserted that if these programs had been in place, “it probably would’ve allowed us to stop 9/11.” Not surprisingly, he blamed the NSA’s current woes on Obama: “We don’t have a president who can stand up and defend the program. Nobody believes him—for good reason. Look what he did with health care.”

    More here.

    There is a very excellent, detailed and accessible history of why these two-bit criminal ratfuck soulless motherfuckers must never, ever be allowed to hold the reins of power ever again for any reason. It’s title is “look the fuck around you.”

  32. 32
    raven says:

    @JPL: Take a look at Michelle Nunn’s Facebook page.

  33. 33
    Roger Moore says:

    @Litlebritdiftrnt:
    They don’t want to pay the soldiers, only to buy the bombs and especially the airplanes to drop them from. There are plenty of soldiers who are on food stamps, and the Republicans still think they’re overpaid.

  34. 34
    Poopyman says:

    @Long Tooth: That is an amazing letter, and I thank you for pointing it out.

    “Amazing” may not be the right adjective. Thoughtful, thought-provoking, just-plain-provoking. The man knew war and knew how to wage it to win it.

  35. 35
    Hawes says:

    I’m not sure Afghanistan was a “war of choice” at first. Staying there was, and screwing up Tora Bora remains criminally negligent, but taking out the Taliban and going after Al Qaeda weren’t really optional in the fall of 2001.

  36. 36
    JPL says:

    @raven: Did you happen to see the Koch ad highlighting her support of Obamacare and higher taxes? It aired during the local news.

  37. 37

    Ack! What I get for not reading this site regularly

    Cheney said “it’s crucial” to have candidates with muscular foreign policies and for Republicans to “take back the Senate and take back the White House so we can deal with what has been developing” around the world…

    Mmm, no thanks. Just finishing up here, Dick, you can leave now. Please.

  38. 38
    efgoldman says:

    @raven:

    I think the civil war is over.

    Mostly, yes. But the guerrilla acts that folllowed come back again and again. I despair of the South ever really, totally giving up the struggle.

  39. 39
    raven says:

    @JPL: Yep

  40. 40
    Cervantes says:

    @BruceFromOhio: Thanks.

    Andy Kroll and David Corn:

    He claimed that there has not been a single case of NSA abusing its authority. (Cheney must have missed this and this.) And he asserted that if these programs had been in place, “it probably would’ve allowed us to stop 9/11.” Not surprisingly, he blamed the NSA’s current woes on Obama: “We don’t have a president who can stand up and defend the program. Nobody believes him—for good reason. Look what he did with health care.”

    Just as some sharks must die if they stop moving, so must some people die if they stop lying.

    (PS: I do apologize for maligning sharks with guilt by association.)

  41. 41
    Cervantes says:

    @Poopyman: A slightly better transcription of Sherman’s missive is here.

  42. 42
    Chris says:

    @BruceFromOhio:

    I really do love their belief that government is inherently, inevitably, physically incapable of running anything more complex than an ice cream truck without completely fucking it up and/or abusing it in their quest to destroy the poor hapless Average Joe… except when it comes to police and military matters, when the government suddenly becomes not only competent, but superhumanly efficient and righteous to the point that questioning anything is an act of unpatriotism. (“Not one abuse! NOT ONE!”)

    We can’t have the government delivering your mail! It’s too evil and too incompetent to be trusted with that kind of power! But, you know, they should totally have the power of life and death.

  43. 43
    mike with a mic says:

    I wore the uniform from 2000-2004 and then contracted for a bit. I find the “no US casualties” to mean nothing. Many in uniform, well we don’t admit they died at war or if they do. Many more on the private side die and just don’t count.

  44. 44
    Tractarian says:

    This is a moment to be glad no one got the news this month, to hope that record will continue, and to spare a thought for all those who received that awful word over the last decade and more.

    Amen brotha.

  45. 45
    Ruckus says:

    Tom
    I’m glad you at least posted a link to the second pic. People really do need to see that. Some won’t be swayed and some don’t need to be, but many don’t seem to think about war as being about death, death that hits all sides. Some of the pics from Vietnam were horrible but then war is horrible. Even for many that come home physically unscathed, they can never un-see what they’ve experienced. And they don’t forget, they hopefully learn to just live with it.
    Someone one once said “War isn’t hell, war is war and of the two I’d take hell.”

  46. 46
    Ruckus says:

    @Chris:
    What I like is that they can’t even see the inconsistencies. You point them out, as you have done and they just scream that you are a liberal or a commie, or a socialist. Or of course all three at once. None of which are as bad as someone with their head stuck that far up their ass.

  47. 47

    @Ruckus: From the bit I can find, that was Hawkeye in a M*A*S*H episode, and the rest of the quote is damned appropriate.

    There are no innocent bystanders in Hell. War is chock full of them – little kids, cripples, old ladies. In fact, except for some of the brass, almost everybody involved is an innocent bystander.

  48. 48
    Long Tooth says:

    @BruceFromOhio: My favorite MASH dialogue was spoken by a GI who believed himself to be Jesus. He was asked (I paraphrase), “Does God answer all prayers”? His answer, “yes”. “Then explain cruelty, explain war”. “Sometimes the answer is no”.

  49. 49
    RSA says:

    I won’t repeat the line that’s echoing in my head — the one John Kerry said of a different conflict. But I’m thinking it.

    Me, I’m reminded of this for some reason.

    He fell in October, 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front.

  50. 50
    Ruckus says:

    @BruceFromOhio:
    It’s possible the origin is MASH, I’ve only seen the entire series a couple dozen times. I seem to recall though that it was a WWII quote from somewhere. But I’ve been wrong before.
    Funny side note. Was in the navy when MASH the movie came out. I understood that most army bases refused to show it. Some of the lifers on the base I was stationed at didn’t want it shown but the base commander was supposed to have said something along the line “It’s a film about the army. Who cares if they make fun of the army? Don’t they deserve it?”

  51. 51
    Ruckus says:

    @Long Tooth:
    The answer is always no. Sometimes things just go your way.

    The twists people go to to find an acceptable answer for their beliefs astounds me.

  52. 52
    Long Tooth says:

    @Ruckus: I understand your point, and it’s likely a true one. But there is a life force (imagine it as you will) and it’s mysterious.

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