In the UK’s war/occupation in Afghanistan, 142 military personnel have been killed. That’s tiny. There have been plenty of wars when that many soldiers died in a week or a day. For the British army, it’s been a remarkably harmless war.
Yet each casualty seems to garner more publicity than any other cause of death – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard on the news, in a very serious tone, ’2 UK soldiers were killed in Afghanistan’. 2? Really? Of the 150,000 people who died today, of the hundreds who died violently, these two are a news story? Did they die in a strange or unexpected way? Is their death so improbable that we can be pleasantly surprised at such an unlikely occurence? No, they died fighting a war.
So there seems to be a phenomenon of greatly increased public sensitivity to military deaths, even as the actual number thereof falls. Although I may mock this slightly, I think it’s actually a very good thing.