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Georg Grosz

As of Friday, Dec. 4, 2009, at least 852 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to the Defense Department. The department last updated its figures Friday at 10 a.m. EST.

Of those, the military reports 660 were killed by hostile action.

Outside the Afghan region, the Defense Department reports 71 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, four were the result of hostile action. The military lists these other locations as Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba; Djibouti; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Jordan; Kenya; Kyrgyzstan; Philippines; Seychelles; Sudan; Tajikistan; Turkey; and Yemen.

There were also four CIA officer deaths and two military civilian deaths.

[Note the wide-ranging places of deaths.]

Having given his speech at West Point, President Obama went to Washington to oversee his “jobs conference” where he noted there wasn’t much money and wouldn’t be much forthcoming in the way of any national jobs programs. It was up to the private sector to sort that out. Then he went to visit Allentown Pa. to commiserate with those unemployed. However in a display of exuberance the newspapers reported unemployment figures were better, in November only 139,000 American’s pink-slipped, and with some number jiggling unemployment was said to have gone to 10% from the previous 10.2%. Whoopee. Things they said are improving and we’ve hit bottom and up is the only way to go now. We’ll see. What I seem to see are some other shoes waiting to descend, but then I’m full-time doom and gloom.

Good old boys being good in Afghanistan

Glossed over in Obama’s sober West Point talk – no Bushian “bring ’em on”, no Johnsonian “bring that coonskin home and tack it on the wall” – and glossed over in General McChrystal’s sparkling brand new COIN strategy (summarized as “be nice to the locals,” of which we’ve had previous variants) We-R-War brand re-marketing, is the simple reality that war doesn’t make people nicer, and sending 20-something farm boys, and urban slum dwellers to learn exotic new languages and customs has seldom panned out in anything except slaughters and massacres. I don’t think the current crop of economically pressed, over-used “volunteers” is going to prove distinctly different, whatever eloquent words Mr Obama uses to dispatch them. They’ve been trained primarily to kill and keep themselves from being killed. A nice disposition this does not usually manifest.

So Obama signed onto more war, snookered quite some time back by Bush/Cheney. The pundits have weighed in, and now it is merely a matter of time to see what transpires.

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