When does the price become unbearable?

A new thing in American history

Donald Sensing notes that today’s military is both all-volunteer and mostly married. He notes a Rand Corp. study that observes

About half of the enlisted personnel considering whether to reenlist after the first term are married. By the end of the second term, this fraction is closer to three-quarters.

Mr. Sensing notes that the intense around-the-clock media coverage keeps us informed of each attack and American death almost as it happens, and that this saturation can greatly affect the personal feelings and attitudes of those with family or friends in the armed forces. When one death is front-page news, will the military be able to effectively prosecute this war?

Of course, every single death is unbearable for those that know and love the individual. Words about the greater good must sound pretty empty.

But what if aversion to death had kept us from doing the right things at Tarawa (noted in Mr. Sensing’s post) or Normandy? Or Gettysburg? Our history is punctuated with events that cost America dearly in lives lost. More often than not, those events are the defining moments of American greatness and our willingness to stand against oppression and terror.

Mr. Sensing also notes the differences in killed and wounded rates for the 82nd Airborne Division during Normandy in 1944 and Panama in 1989.

The fatality rate [in Panama] was much, much lower, but the overall casualty rate was much higher. My basis of comparison was the number of wounded/killed per “soldier combat day.” One soldier in combat for one day equals one SCD (works like man-hours). The division?s soldiers in combat in World War II suffered fewer wounded and killed per SCD than the division suffered per SCD in Panama. But medical care today is so much better that the number of KIA was proportionately much less.

Check it out.