This week combat deaths suffered by American servicemembers in Afganistan passed the 2,000 mark. In my opinion this is an underreported event that reflects the estrangement of 99% of Americans who have no involvement in American military affairs or national security. Over the past few weeks I have conducted an informal poll asking people randomly how many deaths the US military has suffered in Afganistan....fewer than 10% of the respondents could get a correct answer within plus or minus 10%....troubling, I think so.
The story is made grim by the fact that many of the dead US servicemembers were killed in cold blood by the very Afgan soldiers and police they are supporting and training. NATO even has a name for these killings...."green on blue" killings. Last year there were 21 such attacks in which 35 were killed. Already this year 24 such attacks have occured with 28 killed. NATO has not reported the number wounded in such attacks.
Perhaps more widely reporting these troubling and grim statistics and recognizing that there are loved ones left behind would cause more Americans to ask why we are still in Afganistan, who will be the last US soldier to die there, and why he or she died there.