Yesterday, amid all of the Mission Accomplished "nostalgia" and reports on the April death toll in Iraq hitting a new (recent) high of 50, one particular fatality in Afghanistan nearly escaped attention.
He was an Army Ranger on his seventh tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. I did an item about it over at Editor & Publisher which did get widely linked, but I will now bring it to you here.
Meanwhile, let's keep in mind that as of May 1, according to the Pentagon, at least 425 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan since late 2001. Of those, the military reports 292 were killed by hostile action.
It's not nearly as notorious as the Bush pronouncement on Iraq, but on the same day five years ago, Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld declared mission accomplished in Afghanistan, noting only "pockets of resistence" remaining." CNN headed its Web account this way: "Major combat in Afghanistan has ended, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday. President Bush plans to make a similar announcement about Iraq later Thursday, the White House has announced."
Now here's the latest casualty in Afghanistan:
An Army Ranger from Ramona, Ca., was killed there on Tuesday--on his seventh tour of duty in that country or in Iraq.
Sgt. 1st Class David L. McDowell, 30, died Tuesday in Bastion, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered in a firefight when enemy forces attacked using small arms fires, according to the Pentagon.
His father was also an Army ranger.
McDowell had been deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq seven times in the past six years. He was a recipient of two Bronze stars and a Purple Heart. His most recent tour in Afghanistan began on March 29.
He is survived by his wife, his high school sweetheart, Joleen; son, Joshua, 11; daughter, Erin, 3; his parents; and two sisters.
Greg Mitchell's new book is So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits--and the President -- Failed on Iraq..It has been hailed by Bill Moyers, Glenn Greenwald, Paul Rieckhoff and others.