Eschaton has a post on the redefinition of the term casualty in relation to Iraq as well as Rumsfelds comment regarding the troops as fungible. I really have nothing to add to the substance of his post. While I was reading it though, Ceili's Muse's particularly haunting version of "Green Fields of France" by Eric Bogle came on my playlist. This is one of the best laments to the tragedy of WWI and war in general that I know. The juxtoposition to hearing this song and with reading about Iraq and casualties and fungibleness of troops struck very close to home, especially this part:
And I can't help but wonder now Willie McBride
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause?
Did you really believe them that this war would end war?
But the suffering, the sorrow, some the glory, the shame -
The killing and dying - it was all done in vain.
For Willie McBride, it's all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again.
Now I believe that there are times when force is necessary, but I believe the compact that we make with those that choose to serve in the military is that force will be used sparingly, truthfully and as a last resort.