More and more the media insists on repeating the number of soldiers killed in Iraq and emphasizing that more soldiers died in the War on Terror, than died during the attacks of September 11th. The message is meant to be that since more have died fighting the War on Terror, than died in the 9/11 attacks, that the War makes no sense.
On December 7th 1941, over 2400 people were killed. The United States lost nearly 300,000 men in WW2. Over a 100 times as many. If the reason for either war was to even out a balance sheet, so that it only made sense for as long as we had taken less casualties than we did in the original attack, our part in WW2 would have ended after a few months.
But it's the left's premise that is based on a fundamental incomprehension of war. The number of casualties you suffer in the opening attack are not the reason for the war. They are a wake up call that the enemy is here and the war has begun. The casualties of Pearl Harbor and the World Trade Center occurred because the United States ignored growing threats. The casualties of the wars that began after them, were taken in fighting and defeating that threat.
3000 or 2400 dead is not the maximum total of casualties Japan or Al Queda was capable of inflicting upon us. It was the amount they inflicted upon us in that given attack. If we do not fight back, then the amount of casualties they can inflict upon us has no celling beyond our total population.
That is the nature of war. You either push back the enemy or sit there and take it. In the War on Terror, over a period of nearly half a decade, we took casualties equivalent to a single day in September. That is the difference between pushing back the enemy and sitting there and taking it. You either break the enemy or the enemy breaks you.
The left has spent a lot of time demonstrating that they're already broken and demanding that our government negotiate terms of surrender with the Palestinian terrorists, with Iran, with everyone in the world who hates us and wants to kill us. Their balance sheet argument underlies their inability to understand that the War on Terror is not a bloodsport, nor an act of vengeance or a balancing of the books, but a strategic campaign against an enemy force that is meant to destroy or contain it to prevent further attacks within our own borders.
That is the meaning and purpose of war. That is why we fight.