Here's some context: The Defense Department reports that from 1983 to 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly 2-to-1.—John Hinderaker, writing for the Orlando Sentinel. As he writes earlier in the piece, we as a body of citizens are now engaged in a great experiment: trying to fight a war while ignoring the strategic picture or larger context, and focusing only on our casualties. As to how it will end, only time will tell.
That's right: All through the years when hardly anyone was paying attention, soldiers, sailors and Marines were dying in accidents, training and otherwise, at nearly twice the rate of combat deaths in Iraq from the start of the war in 2003 to the present.
Somehow, though, when there was no political hay to be made, there was no great outcry, or gleeful reporting, or erecting of crosses in the president's hometown about this much higher death rate. In fact, one is hard-pressed to find any contemporary expression of concern by reporters, politicians or political activists about the 18,006 American service members who died accidentally in service of their country from 1983 to 1996.