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September 8, 2004

Caught Off Guard

anvil

Although the milestone of 1000 Iraq War battlefield deaths had been approaching, who would have expected that a sudden one-day 14 person loss, coupled with a next-day 7 person loss would accelerate its arrival.

The NYTimes, which is usually “money in the bank” for trumpeting such things, did mention the event in it’s lead story this morning, but in the context of an update about the war, and only in the subhead. The LA Times, perhaps because it prints later, did catch the relevance of the milepost, and featured it in the right column lead. However, the story had only half the width of the one in the far left column, titled: “Cheney Warns of Risk if Rivals Win.”

The most telling reaction to the milestone, however, involved the administration. Bush had no reaction — not officially or unofficially. Left to speak for the government, Rumsfeld made reference only to the number, not the event. The number of deaths, he observed, was actually “relatively small” given the risks.

My first reaction was, if my son or daughter had been one of those thousand, I’m not sure that would have provided much comfort.

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