This past Thursday, on July 7, 2011, U.S. war deaths in Afghanistan hit a grim milestone. On that day, the thousandth American soldier died serving in Afghanistan under the presidency of Barack Obama. According to the web database icasualties.org, there have been 1,002 troop deaths in Afghanistan under President Obama so far.
As the foreign policy advocacy group Just Foreign Policy notes, not only have the vast majority of troop deaths in Afghanistan now occurred under Obama’s watch — 2/3 of U.S. soldiers have fallen under the current president — but these deaths are occurring at an accelerated rate, given that the Obama administration has only managed the war for a quarter of its duration:
On July 7, 2011, U.S. troop deaths from the war in Afghanistan since President Obama took office reached 1,000. That means that nearly two-thirds of the U.S. fatalities in the war in Afghanistan have occurred during the Obama administration, which has managed the war for a mere quarter of its duration.
These Americans are not merely statistics. Each fallen soldier leaves behind loved ones and a community devastated by their loss. Take the case of 28-year old Army Staff Seargant Josh Throckmorton, who was killed this past Tuesday. Throckmorton served both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in his death he will leave behind a wife and three children. Local news station WOODTV covered the community’s mourning. Watch their report:
These deaths don’t even take into account suffering among the Afghan population, which is logistically difficult for the media to cover. However, these deaths are riling the country, as raucous protests continue to take place over the killings of civilians.
As we pass this grim new milestone, the fate of the war remains unclear. Obama’s troop drawdown is expected to leave twice as many American soldiers in Afghanistan by the end of 2012 than when he started his presidency, while a large majority of Americans want the war to end.