Predict the Number of Troops Killed in the Next Year!

01/10/2007 05:07 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

How many U.S. troops will be killed in Iraq in the next year?

Submit your best estimate here.

The Bush administration won't dare go public with such hard and somber calculations about expected casualties--which would help weigh the costs of this renewed war effort. So I figure conscientious HuffPo readers will step into that breach.

I'll keep track--our memories are long--and we'll notify the "winner" one year from today.

I'm not sure, however, what you'll win, or even if you could call it a victory. But Americans like to play to win, we've been told. And it doesn't take much of a sacrifice to ponder the possibility of someone else's death.

After all, why should the White House chickenhawks be the only party that gets to war-game with U.S. troops as their pawns? You can do it, too. The only difference is that you won't be calling the real shots and spilling the real blood. Sort of like playing Monopoly with fake money.

Call this exercise "prospective benchmarking." BushCo used to depend on Arthur Andersen for offshore accounting practices that would hide future losses, but that firm is no longer available. It's up to us, in other words, to keep running tabs on expenditures that flow in the red.

If you're squeamish, or if it seems too macabre or snide, then maybe you can somehow claim exemption from your duties and responsibilities as a vigilant citizen of this country. As this escalation goes forward, we all need to be concentrating our minds on the deaths to come and, as it were, on counting the body bags in advance.

Our collective prognostications might just serve as a public declaration that the Commander-in-Chief cannot make Iraq into a crapshoot with our kids.

So submit your estimate here. Put a number to it. On January 10, 2008, how many additional men and women in the U.S. services, do you think, will be dead for this cause?

How many?