Foreign Policy Blogs

U.S. Endures Deadly Month

U.S. troops in Afghanistan

As this last day of the month unfolds I think we can be forgiven for being a bit distracted as a country. An earthquake hit the East Coast, and while not unprecedented, it was certainly jarring for many people. And then Hurricane Irene battered and drenched the coast with millions of people still feeling the after-effects of the storm. But even if we have good reason to be distracted by events here at home, we would be remiss if we failed to note that this month has been the deadliest month ever for U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan. As CNN International reports:

Sixty-six American troops have died this month, topping July 2010 when 65 troops died, according to a CNN tally. Almost half of the August troop deaths took place on August 6, when insurgents shot down a U.S. helicopter in the eastern central province of Wardak. The Taliban claimed militants downed the helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade. Thirty U.S. service members — including 17 Navy SEALs — were killed in that attack, the single largest loss of life for U.S. troops since the Afghan war began in late 2001. In contrast, 36 U.S. service members were killed in all of July. Prior to the August attack, the most U.S. troops killed in a single month this year was 47 in June.

And it’s not just Afghanistan, the New York Times reminds us in this report that there have been very deadly days this month in Iraq as well.

One recent criticism of the U.S. role in the post-9/11 world faults the U.S. for fighting wars almost outside the public view and for not enlisting the public in a sense of shared purpose and shared sacrifice. I’m not sure I would go that far, but as this deadly month ends, it’s fitting to reflect on the sacrifices that have been made… and those yet to be.

Image Credit: – U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle Davis



Joel Davis

Joel Davis is the Director of Online Services at the International Studies Association in Tucson, Arizona. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona, where he received his B.A. in Political Science and Master's degree in International Relations. He has lived in the UK, Italy and Eritrea, and his travels have taken him to Canada, Brazil, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and Greece.

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Areas of Focus:
State Department; Diplomacy; US Aid; and Alliances.

Contact Joel by e-mail at [email protected]

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