Friday, October 28, 2005

Fallen Hero Number 2,000

Before I start, I would like to point out that I’ve been away from my blog lately because I have been working very hard to build up my web store business, For the past month, I’ve been importing from between 20 and 40 new products each day, as well as fixing up some of the details of the web site, and my database from which I’m building the web site. It’s been no small task. As much as marketers of “Get Rich On eBay / The Internet” schemes would like one to believe, it takes a lot of work to get something like this going.

So now, this artificial landmark of 2,000 soldiers killed in Iraq is as good a reason as any to come out of my cave and add to the rhetoric. The mainstream media is simply using the arbitrary statistic as an excuse to sensationalize the news and sell newspa… uh, advertising attached to news, er uh… news serving as a vehicle for advertising revenue. So, in effect, the MSM and their advertisers are capitalizing off of the death of one particular soldier, who happens to be in the slot enumerated by a particularly round number in our base-ten number system, while unfortunately demeaning that soldier into a uncelebrated wasteland of statistics.

I thought I might least find out the name and story of that one particular soldier. Even the New York Times couldn’t get that right. Michelle Malkin reports on a story ran by the NYT titled “2,000 Dead: As Iraq Tour Stretches On, A Grim Mark” about Marine Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr. Michelle tells about a letter received from Cpl. Starr’s uncle Timothy Lickness giving the unreported story. The letter contained an excerpt from a letter to Cpl. Starr’s girlfriend, intended to be delivered in the event of his death, which described his reasons for re-enlisting for the third time, his reasons for fighting for freedom, and for bringing freedom to the Iraqi people.

But there’s still more that’s not being told about the NYT article. Marine Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr died on May 30, 2005. Five months before the October 26 NYT article. Marine Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr was not, in fact, the 2,000th soldier to die in Iraq. In other words, the NYT cherry-picked their own set of soldiers to hold up as their poster-child against the war in Iraq. The NYT used Marine Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr’s death to sell newspapers.

I remember delivering the NYT that day. I delivered 18 of them to the liberal residents of Boulder, Colorado, home of Ward Churchill. The NYT was particularly difficult to fold that day. The paper carrier crew commented that there was a lot of reporting on the 2,000-soldier landmark. I looked inside the NYT to see what was adding all the extra bulk, expecting to find a big section on the war, perhaps listing all 2,000 names. The extra bulk was a special auto advertising section.

Back to the quest for the 2,000th soldier’s name and story. One of my first stops in my search for hero number 2,000 was Cao’s Blog. Cao (pronounced “Key”) is from a military family, and is always a good source of responsible facts and views from the military point of view. Cao wrote on 10/26/’05 that Staff Sergeant George Alexander, Jr. was the 2,000th soldier killed in Iraq. A link on the Michelle Malkin article led me to a Fallen Heroes Memorial web site. A search on that site led to Staff Sergeant Alexander’s story. Here’s what Fallen Heroes had to say:
Army Staff Sgt. George T. Alexander, Jr.
34, of Clanton, Alabama.Alexander died at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, of injuries sustained in Samarra, Iraq, on October 17, 2005 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Bradley Fighting Vehicle. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Georgia. Died on October 22, 2005.

To put the sacrifice in perspective Cao offers some additional historical war statistics.

2,403: Americans killed at Pearl Harbor
2,976: Americans lost on 9/11
9,386: American soldiers killed taking Normandy
12,500: American soldiers killed taking Okinawa in WW2
24,000: American soldiers on both sides killed at the battle of Antietam during the Civil War
54,246: American troops killed in Korea
58,198: American soldiers killed in Vietnam
116,516: American soldiers killed in World War 1
133,811: Confederate troops killed in the Civil War
295,000: American soldiers killed in World War 2
364,511: Union Soldiers killed during the Civil War

Not to mention the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War 2.

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