These faces never change. For more than 10 years, they've been bringing dead soldiers from Afghanistan to Arlington National Cemetery, accompanied by family members with these expressions.
This is the family of Gary Stouffer, who came home from Afghanistan with anxiety disorders, PTSD, and physical disabilities, only to be killed when a train in Texas hit a parade float on which he was riding.
This is the week when most news organizations cover a slow news week by running lists of top stories of the year. But a continuing war in Afghanistan isn't one of them.
Here, for example, are some of the ones that did make top-10 lists in its place.
General Petreaus had an affair (The Hill)
A guy in Miami chewed on a guy's face (Yahoo!)
There was better food at airports (USA Today)
The potential of a fiscal cliff (Pew)
Felix Baumgartner's jump from space (Google)
At year's end, then, here are some war facts:
-- There are still 68,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. Despite suggestions the troops would be removed by 2014, there is not yet a specific plan to remove them.
-- 309 U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan this year. The 14 killed in December was the lowest monthly loss since April 2009.
-- One in five 1 in 5 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are diagnosed with PTSD. And veterans account for 20 percent of U.S. suicides, according to George Washington University.
-- 10 percent of Gulf War II veterans are unemployed, almost double the rate of Gulf War I veterans.
And veterans account for 20 percent of U.S. suicides, according to George Washington University.
Is that all veterans or just Iraq and Afghanistan veterans?
Other war facts ignored by Bob:
U.S. dead in Afghanistan under Bush in 8 years....630
U.S. dead if Afghanistan under Obama in 4 years....1,544
Coalition dead under Bush....1,049
Coalition dead under Obama....2,203
U.S. wounded under Bush....2,635
U.S. wounded under Obama........15,039
Which makes Obama at least 8 times more of a disaster for the life and limbs of soldiers than Bush ever was.
May God have mercy on his soul.
Perhaps the rise in casualties is matched by the number of soldiers deployed to Afghanistan? CNN's chart makes this look so.
Also, the In Focus photoblog at The Atlantic has a monthly post of the War in Afghanistan. Hard to forget with a monthly reminder - a shame more news sources don't do this kind of reoccurring story.
georges what do you mean 'Other war facts ignored by Bob' perhaps you meant to say 'other war facts' since it was a story on news this year. But thanks, georges, for letting us know your political leanings.
I'm sure somewhere on the interwebs someone can find a current version of this report on troop's killed start around page 7 for numbers over the years, but read the whole thing if you actually care about details.
Very interesting numbers.
With a quick look at active military... Looks like Self Inflicted has remained pretty steady as a number, at a glance, rising as a percent over time. Death of active military by Homicide has went down in numbers from around 100 per year to around 50 per year. With Active Military going from around 2 Million to 1.4 million over the same time, rising to around 2.1-2.2 during mid to late 1980's.
Covers Korean War (32K dead from hostile acts) and that other Asian War (47K Hostile Deaths) we call it the 'Vietnam Conflict'.