Friday, August 29, 2003

In the 118 days between May 1 and August 26, there were 63 American battlefield deaths in Iraq.

About two weeks ago, the left-wing press recognized that this did not sound as dramatic as they wished. So they started totaling all military deaths in Iraq, including those from accidents, which happen in military life every day, everywhere.

This brought the total up by another 78. They're more comfortable with that total number, 141. But the true battlefield number is 63.

This is significant, because in the first stage of the war, from March 19 until April 30, 112 Americans died in combat, and 29 in various accidents. In those first 42 days, that meant almost 3 combat deaths per day. In the 118 days since then, there has been about one combat death every other day — 63 in 118 days. (The accidental deaths have been fairly consistent: 29 in 42 days early on, and after May 1, 78 in 118 days.)...

The nine Democratic candidates for the presidency in 2004 are already campaigning bitterly on this and other "bad news" issues in Iraq...

President Bush, largely silent just now, and biding his time, has powerful arguments waiting in rebuttal. He welcomes the strategic error of the Democrats in attacking him on the issue of war — where he is far stronger than they — rather than on domestic issues, where they have advantages.

For one thing, terrorist attacks all around the world dropped sharply in 2002 and even more so far during 2003.

Second, there has been no further terrorist attack in America in almost two full years. There have been multiple threats, and any day another tragedy may yet occur. But the nation is not where it was prior to September 11, 2001.

Afghanistan is no longer an open, free training ground for al Qaeda. Iraq is no longer threatening Iran and Kuwait. Also, no longer sending funds to Palestinian homicide bombers. Iran, Syria, and even Saudi Arabia are being more careful, now that they are closely watched. These are large steps forward for the Middle East. More must be done.

Since March thousands of terrorists from around the world have flocked to Iraq to wreak death on Americans. They are still pouring in, drawn like moths to flame. They hope to kill Americans. Instead, they themselves are being killed in droves. In early August, for instance, in an American sweep north of Baghdad, while eight Americans were being killed, more than 300 Fedayeen who engaged them died in combat.

Every terrorist who rushes to Baghdad to kill Americans is one less who is attacking Americans at home. The American strategy is to fight them in Iraq, and other places outside the U.S., rather than to sit and wait for them to come to harm us in New York, Washington, or Los Angeles.

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