Best Defense

Reading a casualty report: U.S. fighting in Afghanistan as long as they can remember

Reading this casualty report yesterday (Tuesday), it occurred to me that we have been fighting in Afghanistan for about as long as our soldiers there can remember. They were 12, 10, maybe even 7 years old when the fighting began. The four soldiers killed on Sunday west of Kandahar were from a specially trained team ...

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Reading this casualty report yesterday (Tuesday), it occurred to me that we have been fighting in Afghanistan for about as long as our soldiers there can remember. They were 12, 10, maybe even 7 years old when the fighting began.

The four soldiers killed on Sunday west of Kandahar were from a specially trained team that engages Afghan women, reported Drew Brooks of the Fayetteville Observer. One of them, Lt. Jennifer Moreno, 25, was saluted by the commander of the 75th Rangers as "a talented member of our team who lost her life while serving her country in one of the most dangerous environments in the world. Her bravery and self-sacrifice were in keeping with the highest traditions of the 75th Ranger Regiment."

This is the first statement I can remember from the Rangers about a female soldier, but I haven’t gone looking closely at their statements, so I might have missed some.

On the other hand, I have read every single damn casualty statement released from the Pentagon for the last 12 years. I am not sure how long I will continue to do it. But I still feel like I shouldn’t stop. Or maybe I can’t.

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. @tomricks1
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