The Wall Street Journal summarizes the costly human waste that even worthy wars can bring:
As their Chinook was about to land, Afghan and U.S. officials said, a lone insurgent shot it out of the sky with a rocket-propelled grenade, or RPG, in the deadliest attack endured by the American military in a decade of war in Afghanistan. Thirty American troops, including 22 SEALs, died in the crash, as did a civilian interpreter and seven Afghan commandos.
Each of the dead was the son or daughter of a family who raised a child willing and able to defend freedom at the most demanding level possible. And while we say a prayer for each of these brave souls, it’s hard not to feel an extra tinge of anger that none of the 39 highly trained professionals killed had a fighting chance against a lone shooter with perhaps no more skill than is sufficient to operate a video game controller.
Whether it’s an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) killing and maiming members of a military convoy or an RPG ambush on SEAL Team Six (the outfit who killed Osama bin Laden), these kinds of deaths defy one’s sense of proportionality. Rudyard Kipling saw his own share of disproportionate death as a writer in India during Britain’s Imperial rule, with similar misgivings (from the poem “Arithmetic on the Frontier”):
A scrimmage in a Border Station-
A canter down some dark defile
Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail.
The Crammer’s boast, the Squadron’s pride,
Shot like a rabbit in a ride!