On Thursday, George Will referred to the Afghanistan War as
longest war.” While the Afghanistan War will likely last at
least a decade, if one uses October, 2001 as the start month, it
is not yet nine years old. Looking at years, and American
fatalities, the least fatal year was 2003, when 48 Americans
died. In 2010, 192 Americans have already died. Therefore, there
have been nine calendar years of 48 casualties or more in
Afghanistan. The Philippine
War of 1899-1913 also saw similar combat casualties to those
of Afghanistan, and the American-Indian Wars could arguably be
the longest war in American History.
If 48 fatalities per year is a sufficient condition for being at
war, then Afghanistan is not yet the longest war. According to
National Archives, Americans suffered 52 fatalities in
Vietnam in 1962, and suffered more fatalities each and every year
until the war’s end in 1975. If one goes by the Paris-Peace
Accords in 1973 to measure the war’s end, that would still
indicate 12 calendar years of more than 48 fatalities. In seven
of those calendar years, America lost more lives than it has in
the entire Afghan War to date.
About the Author
Brian O’Connell is the Collegiate Network fellow at The American Spectator and former editor-in-chief of the Stanford Review.
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