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Wednesday

War or No War, Accidents Bite

Weather suspected in chopper crash that killed 31 Marines (CNN)

Thirty-one Marines were killed in a helicopter crash near Iraq's border with Jordan, bringing the number of U.S. troops killed Wednesday to 36 -- the deadliest day for U.S. forces since the start of the war in Iraq.

The cause of the chopper crash is still under investigation, although it appears to be weather-related, according to Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command.

"The weather was bad, we don't know of any enemy action, the investigation continues," he said.

Military officials said a search and rescue team was at the site and an investigation of the crash was under way. The crash came as insurgents targeted multinational troops, Iraqi security forces, government offices and polling places across the country.
I hate it when they throw in lines like the above "bringing the number of U.S. troops killed Wednesday to 36 -- the deadliest day for U.S. forces since the start of the war in Iraq." Sadly accidents are part of the military and they don't need to have war going on to happen.

On Dec 21st 1990 while the USS Saratoga was anchored off shore for crew liberty in Haifa, Israel the following accident occurred.
A welcome shore leave after four months at sea ended in tragedy for scores of American sailors being ferried back to the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga from the Haifa port late Friday night.

Disaster struck around midnight when the Israeli-owned launch Al Tuvia was waiting just 30 meters from the carrier while sailors aboard another, larger, ferry disembarked onto the ship.

Suddenly, for reasons still not clear, the smaller craft capsized.

Shocked crew members aboard the Saratoga watched in horror as dozens of their comrades were hurled into the cold winter waters of the Mediterranean, over one nautical mile from shore.

In the space of 15 - 20 seconds, the Al Tuvia sank, taking with it many more sailors who had been trapped on the lower deck.
21 sailors died in this accident but I didn't hear anyone say "the deadliest day for U.S. forces since the start of the USS Saratoga's deployment." These were my shipmates and friends. There was no war or terrorists responsible, it just happened.

Every year hundreds in the military die from non-hostile actions. Consider the following info.

Year

Accident

Illness

Homicide

Self-inflicted

Undetermined

Total








1980

1556

419

174

231

11

2391

1990

880

278

74

232

43

1507

2000

400

124

31

142

18

715


Helicopter accidents happen every year with or without a war going on. I mourn the deaths of our fallen soldiers and my prayers go out to their families and friends. Death is always harder on the living.

But I am frustrated when it seems that the article is saying, if not for this war these soldiers would be alive today. Maybe they would have, maybe not. Accidents do happen as indicated above and there is no disputing that the war has taken a large toll in both deaths and wounded. I just think there might be a better way to honor their sacrifice.

I don't know if I am expressing my feelings on this issue clearly, I suspect I am not and thus will end this post here.

Update: Wizbang had the kind of context in his brief report that I would have like to see.

1 comments:

Mark Trail said...

Correction: The Liberty Boat accident happened on December 24th, Christmas Eve (Local). I will never forget that night, I was there.