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How Quickly Our Heroic Troops Are Forgotten When They Die

The casualties of the imperial venture Afghanistan rarely make much news anymore.

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The president felt absolutely sure of one thing, though.  He told the Americans gathered at Bagram “without hesitation that there is no division on one thing, no hesitation on one thing -- and that is the uniformed support of our men and women who are serving in the armed services. Everybody, everybody is behind you, everybody back home is behind you."

Behind them?  Maybe.  But if so, we’re talking way, way behind.  Americans may support the troops to the skies, but they are taking no responsibility for the wars into which they are being endlessly recycled until, assumedly, they are used up, wounded, or killed. 

And by the way, don’t hold your breath for the day when some new Maya Lin begins to design an Iraq or Afghanistan Wall.  For America’s small town “heroes,” it’s surge and die.  A grim epitaph from Afghanistan, that proverbial graveyard of empires.

[Note: I first visited the subject of America’s rural and small-town dead in January 2007 in two pieces: “Surging from Kenai” and “America’s Forgotten Dead.” Last week, at his invaluable Informed Comment blog, Juan Cole, too, noted the lack of attention to American deaths in Afghanistan.  (“That six U.S. soldiers were killed in one day was generally not news on the so-called news networks, though of course the major print media reported it.”)  In addition, let me mention, as I do periodically, how eternally useful I find (a crew who never seem to sleep) and Paul Woodward’s the War in Context weblog when it comes to keeping an eagle eye on our world of war.]


Tom Engelhardt, editor of, is co-founder of the American Empire Project and author of The American Way of War: How Bush's Wars Became Obama's .
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