Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Reader comment of the day: Gourley on the meaning of a death in combat

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on October 25, 2010. Jim Gourley, in a response to the post on the Adrian Lewis book, parses the loss of a ...

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on October 25, 2010.

Jim Gourley, in a response to the post on the Adrian Lewis book, parses the loss of a soldier:

Someone dies in combat. At Brigade level, he's a social security number and a status that gets tracked to Landstuhl. At Division, he's a storyboard. At Corps, he's a statistic. At Platoon and Company, he's a gaping wound in the soul of a hundred men. To his family, it's the end of the world."

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on October 25, 2010.

Jim Gourley, in a response to the post on the Adrian Lewis book, parses the loss of a soldier:

Someone dies in combat. At Brigade level, he’s a social security number and a status that gets tracked to Landstuhl. At Division, he’s a storyboard. At Corps, he’s a statistic. At Platoon and Company, he’s a gaping wound in the soul of a hundred men. To his family, it’s the end of the world."

Someday I hope to see a printout of those words posted on a cubicle wall, or over a urinal, in a division or corps headquarters.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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