Sunday, February 29, 2004
The next couple of months will tell us whether this is good luck, or a trend that can be sustained. As TigerHawk wrote last week, and the New York Times wrote this morning(!), the massive troop rotation now going on puts American soldiers at risk. Tens of thousands of soldiers are on the move, and we are trading out most of our battle-hardened veterans for greener troops who do not yet know the territory. In short, there are a lot of targets for the insurgents to hit, and they may be, on average, less streetwise.
In any case, the Times article is interesting in at least two respects. First, it describes our great efforts to train the new soldiers to contend with the Iraqi insurgency. If these efforts are successful, perhaps the casualties will remain down for good. Second, it fails to mention that American casualties generally are way down. Why? That would seem a relevant point.
Finally, I have a question for my elite, if small, readership: what will be the impact of 130,000 returning veterans on the Presidential election? Is it not likely that small-town newspapers around the country will feature stories about how they have been reunited with their families and their employers, at least in the case of the reserves? What will they say when interviewed? Will it change the tenor of the press coverage of the war? How will they react to the anti-war left, and the hawkish right? I, for one, have no idea, but hope that we hear from our returning soldiers in detail.