By Karl Gotthardt
Nine U.S. soldiers paid the ultimate price during Operation Enduring Freedom this week. Seven were killed in action in Afghanistan, while two died of other causes in support of Enduring Freedom. As the country hails its announced departure from Iraq, the death of the Libyan dictator Muammed Gaddafi and the probable end of the NATO mission, there are still U.S. soldiers with their NATO allies in harms way in Afghanistan.
The war in Iraq has also extracted a heavy price. 4408 soldiers have been killed in Iraq and another 31,921 have been injured. Add to that the countless number of soldiers who have to deal with post traumatic stress disorder and broken families after nine years, it becomes readily apparent that the Iraq venture had a major impact on the military and its families. Veterans Affairs will have its hands full over the years to come.
This week also saw another GOP Presidential debate, which by all accounts was combative, with most candidates attacking Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan. Rick Perry got personal with Mitt Romney when he accused him of hiring illegal immigrants, a charge rejected by Romney. Newt Gingrich was the adult in the room that day and by all accounts the winner of this last debate. Whether it gets him any traction among voters remains to be seen.
President Obama went on another bus tour to sell his Jobs Bill, which has now been rejected twice in the Senate. Both Obama and Joe Biden are using fear tactics to try and sell the bill to voters. Vice President Biden went so far as to pi
tch the bill to fourth grade students. It makes one shake his head. Over $150 Billion have been allocated during the last stimulus to hire teachers and fire fighters. Harry Reid joined the Administration choir by stating that private sector jobs are doing just fine, but that it was public sector jobs that needed propping. Go figure.
In World news, Thursday was a major turning point in Libya, when the brutal dictator Muammed Gaddafi was captured and subsequently killed. The killing is being questioned by the UN, Amnesty International and the US Administration. The official Libyan line is that Gaddafi was caught in a crossfire. Images and videos that have made it around the world appear to be telling a different story. The videos seem to indicate that mob rule prevailed and that Gaddafi was brutally beaten, shot at close range and then dragged around. It’s a good thing that it wasn’t NATO soldiers doing this. You can rest assured that the main stream media would have been all over this story.
On Friday President Obama declared that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the year. He made reference to fulfilling a campaign promise and his success in capturing Bin Laden. This puts an end to the nine year old war. The move is seen as a diplomatic failure by the administration, which was unable to negotiate immunity for U.S. troops that were destined to remain for security. It was previously expected that up to 15,000 troops would remain in Iraq.
While there are a lot of distractions, which take the focus off Afghanistan, let us not forget that there are still troops at risk. Below are the latest figures on Operation Enduring Freedom. Let’s remember the seven soldiers that gave their life this week.
Op Enduring Freedom Total Deaths KIA Non Hostile WIA
Afghanistan Only 1700 1419 281 14534
Other Locations 102 12 90
DoD Civ Casualties 3 1 2
Worldwide Total 1805 1432 373 14534
Accumulated 2011 Casualties
KIA Non Combat Deaths WIA
322 80 4418