By comparison with the death toll in Vietnam, the casualties suffered by NATO and other international forces in Afghanistan are really quite minuscule. As of the start of this week the number killed in Afghanistan was 1341, of which 802 were American and 11 Australian. In Vietnam, US deaths had reached 58,193 when the retreat was sounded. By that measure it is interesting that we are already seeing headlines like this in American newspapers:
The front-page Washington Post story describes how President Obama is caught between two important constituencies as he recalibrates his policy on Afghanistan — the generals who want more troops and the base of his own party, whose tolerance for a worsening conflict is quickly evaporating. Congressional Democrats, in particular, says the Post, have begun to question the wisdom of further reinforcements on top of the 62,000 US troops already deployed in Afghanistan, with an additional 6000 scheduled to arrive by year’s end. The criticism comes as international fatalities in Afghanistan have risen to historic highs after a presidential election undermined by Taliban violence and low voter turnout.