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May 27, 2004

From an email regarding perspective on casualties.

Looking back on the day that I left for my first tour in Vietnam, I can vividly remember my parents' fear that they would never see me again. With the passage of time, and with children of my own, I have come to realize that it is the fear of the unfamiliar that makes combat deaths so frightening to people, and particularly to parents. We are pretty blasé about letting our kids do wild things on playground equipment - because we did it and survived. We don't get too concerned about illnesses because we have all had them and recovered, and we believe that we have pretty good medical care available. We get a little nervous about the kids driving cars, but we're just as concerned about our insurance rates going up as we are about the likelihood of them getting injured or killed - because we've been there and survived.

But war, especially in a foreign country - now that's scary because it's unfamiliar to most Americans.

Maybe if we had more ex-servicemembers, male and female, in the population (as we did after World War II), it wouldn't seem like such a boogyman.

Unfortunately, if al Qaeda is successful, we might become all to familiar with combat deaths in this country in the future.

He could well be right.