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Exclusive: Army Sgt. Questions Why American Flags Lowered For VA Tech Students, But Not Troops

flaghmast.jpg Last week, President Bush commemorated the Virginia Tech massacre in his radio address, at the White House correspondents dinner, and in a speech at the college’s convocation. He also ordered that American flags be flown at half-staff for one week.

Today in a “rare opinion article” obtained by ThinkProgress HERE, Army Sgt. Jim Wilt commended the President’s honoring of the Virginia Tech students, but wondered why he — and the American public — don’t pay as much attention to the U.S. troops who die in Iraq every day:

Following the deaths of 32 Virginia Tech students, the President of the United States ordered that all American flags be flown at half-staff for one week. …

But I find it ironic that the flags were flown at half-staff for the young men and women who were killed at VT yet it is never lowered for the death of a U.S. servicemember.

Is the life of Sgt. Alexander Van Aalten, a member of our very own task force, killed April 20 in Helmand province not valued the same as these 32 students? Surely his death was as violent as the students.

Aalten’s death lacked the shock factor of the Virginia massacre. It is a daily occurrence these days to see X number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan scrolling across the ticker at the bottom of the TV screen. People have come to expect casualty counts in the nightly news; they don’t expect to see 32 students killed.

Six U.S. soldiers died on the day of the Virginia Tech shooting. In total, 3312 U.S. troops have died in the Iraq war and 337 in Afghanistan.

Last week, University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole also pointed out that Iraqis have to deal with these types of tragic massacres on a daily basis.