Bookworm notes that San Francisco has lost its first native son to die in Iraq.
The war claimed another life, that of Army Spc. 4 Christopher D. Rose. His death is noteworthy, not only because it's a tragedy every time an American soldier dies, but because he is San Francisco's first Iraq tragedy since the war's start more than three years ago:
The parents of Army Spc. 4 Christopher D. Rose slowly placed the medals he earned in Iraq on top of his casket one by one: two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, a Good Conduct Medal.
It was part of a day meant to honor the life of the 21—year—old soldier who became San Francisco's first war casualty in Iraq when he stepped on an improvised explosive device on June 29 in Baghdad.
[From the San Francisco Chronicle]
Spc. Rose's death highlights something unusual about this War. San Francisco is a fairly small city (it has fewer than 800,000 people), but it is still the fourth largest city in California and the 14th largest in the U.S. It's striking that, more than three years into the War, San Francisco has only suffered one casuality. By contrast, during World War II, San Francisco alone lost over a thousand men to the war. In Vietnam, San Francisco lost over 160 men.
From these numbers, I'm willing to hazard two conclusions: First, as noted above, modern warfare (including modern medical techniques) means a greatly reduced number of casualties overall. And second, at least one major urban area, unsurprisingly, is contributing very little to the current war effort. Even with the low number of casualties, the 14th largest city in America must have a very small presence in the troops to explain that the first casualty occurs more than three years into a large scale war.
In any event, my sincere condolences to Spc. Rose's family. The article shows that he was an impressive young man, from a loving family, and his death his a loss neither our country nor his family can afford.
Statistically, San Francisco should have had 6 to 7 causalties by now, based on raw population percentages. Few young people grow up in SF, and local sentiments do not affirm the value of national service, for the most part. Spc. Rose was obviously an extraordinary man. His loss is our loss. We are all in debt to his parents, who have my deep sympathy.
Thomas Lifson 7 12 06