Jewish World Review Sept. 13, 2004 / 27 Elul, 5764

Tucker Carlson

Tucker Carlson
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Who are our soldiers in Iraq? | The tally of American troops killed in Iraq reached 1,000 this week. That's a depressing number -- a horrible number -- enough to remind those of us with short attention spans that, on the other side of the world, a war is still raging and we're in it.

Over the next seven weeks, you'll hear a lot of speculation about how those deaths will affect the presidential race. We'll talk about that later in the show. But for now, it's worth considering who those 1,000 people were.

For starters, they were adults. The average soldier serving in Iraq is older and more likely to be married and a parent than was his counterpart during the Vietnam war. He's better educated, too, certain to have a high school diploma and probably some college. He's not rich, but not poor, either. Michael Moore had it wrong, it turns out. Most American combat casualties haven't been from the ghetto. They've been middle class, and disproportionately white.

In death we're all equal, so ultimately none of this matters. But it does tell you one thing: Our troops have options. They're not in uniform because they have to be. They didn't join because no one else would take them. They could have succeeded in the civilian world. They chose instead to defend the rest of us.

This doesn't make their deaths any less sad. But it does make their sacrifice voluntary, and more honorable.

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JWR contributor Tucker Carlson is a journalist, college instructor, public speaker and host and managing editor of the PBS show "Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered." His first book is "Politicians, Partisans, and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News."(Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) Comment by clicking here.

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© 2004, Tucker Carlson