[*] 2000

There is bound to be some circus on Wednesday over this number, and I want you to compare it to some other numbers:

In WWII, 16.3 million men and women fought for the US forces, and over 300,000 died in 4 years. On average, that means about 205 died per day in that military operation. Using that average, 2000 died between August 1 and August 10, 1942. Should the US have halted its action because 2000 soldiers died in battle?

In Vietnam, 58020 US deaths were confirmed between 1961 and 1975. That war was not won, but on-average 23 solders died every 2 days. 2000 were killed every 173 days.

In Iraq, 2000 soldiers have died in combat. On average, that means 4 soldiers are killed every 5 days. In contrast, a low-ball Brookings institute number is that over 48,000 enemy combatants have been killed in the same period. Enemy deaths outnumber US armed forces by at least 24 to 1. And the insurgent forces -- to be sure, the ones who oppose both the U.S. forces and the democratic government just ratified yesterday in Iraq -- are getting desperate.

Most importantly, FARS reports that in 2004, more than 17,000 adults age 20-44 died in motor vehicle accidents. We don't stop driving because driving is, apparently, dangerous.

You can be frantic about war, but our rate of fatalities in this war has been microscopic. The sacrifice has been great, but the sacrifice is meaningless if we abandon the goal. It took us 4 years to rebuild Western Germany after WWII -- with intense guerilla fighting breaking out even 2 years after Hitler's death and the surrender of the Nazis. In 2 years, we have a new constitution in Iraq, and the people there accepted it overwhelmingly.

There have been 2000 US military deaths in Iraq. Let us not forget them by standing down too soon.