In Afghanistan, through 2011, about 1,780 U.S. servicemen and women (according to CNN) have died during this conflict, and according to the Pentagon over 14,000 U.S. troops have been wounded. Through modern medical practices and logistical operations more soldiers are able to stay alive from wounds and traumatic events that would have invariably killed them in previous military affairs. Being wounded is something that can easily have lifetime consequences, for instance, amputation and brain trauma are wounds that most definitely will affect your quality and the duration of your lifespan. Yet we often only hear or read about just fatalities as opposed to the much greater percentage of wounded soldiers which is a great disservice to all Americans.
I do believe that if our headlines combined both fatalities and the wounded in their totals, that the impact and gravity of these foreign wars in the eyes of your average American would be much more appreciated and therefore would be assimilated at a more telling level. Dying at a young age for your country is a tragedy and a great lost for our communities and our families. Yet those that are wounded, who are still among the living, are in fact living lives of what appears to be a lesser world, in which their sacrifice is underappreciated and the seriousness of their condition(s) apparently unfathomable by the public at large. For these young men and women, the impact of the war will be with them until the day that they depart from this world.
Therefore it behooves us to take the necessary steps to not only reduce fatalities for our soldiers but to also greatly reduce the amount of wounded soldiers. The easiest way to reduce those numbers is, quite obviously, to avoid the conflict of war in the first place. Secondly, while we can applaud noble efforts in the defense of our country, in the appropriate defense of other countries, and of supporting what is right, a war of aggression is seldom justified. Our wars should be for legitimate self-defense, limited in scope, and efficient to the primary purpose at hand.
Additionally, each war has at least two sides. The USA is the strongest and most powerful military force in the world, for every one soldier that is wounded or killed on our side, the impact of the other side is exponentially higher. Costofwar.org estimates that through 2011 as many as 19,013 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan. How many more have been wounded, displaced, disenfranchised, unemployed, or suffered mental health problems is not known, but the numbers must be staggering. The cost in human suffering for those that are so unfortunate to have been born in Afghanistan is massive and an unnecessary human tragedy.
Wars have consequences which are long reaching and the subsequent ramifications of these wars are seldom pondered or addressed. We owe each soldier a valid reason as to our actions, we owe it also to our country, our Founders, our God, and our conscience. The dead, the dying, and the wounded are the results of our actions, whether those actions truly be in the right or the wrong.