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It's Time To Count the Casualties

Paul Retter, a concerned Norwalk resident, recently sent this letter to President Obama, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, and U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Joseph Lieberman:

Dear President Obama,

It's time, please, to give the Pentagon the order to immediately begin to count and report on civilian casualties and deaths.

Given the greatness of our nation and what America stands for in terms of freedom and justice around the world, it's our responsibility to do this, especially because our nation has launched yet another military effort with the stated objective being to protect embattled civilians.

This count is the one critical metric that measures the heart of our success given the mission's stated objective.

The counts need to be taken, and the entire chain of command must be held accountable, just as they are for the lives of our brave soldiers who've answered our nation's call to service.

Today, more than ever before, any military operation results in civilian casualties. The proportion of civilian to military has been growing steadily since World War II. The best way to correct this trend is to track it, to study it and to work to reverse it. Only by making the effort to count, categorize, review the causes of, and adjust future tactics accordingly, will we be able to know if we are achieving ourstated objective, or if (instead) we are part of the problem.

Collateral damage is not acceptable when the "collateral" is the reason we are taking the action in the first place. Moreover, collateral damage not only prevents us from achieving the success we are immediately pursuing, but more ominously, it also creates tremendous and incalculable dangers to future world security by sowing a multitude of seeds for terrorism through the hurt, pain, suffering, loss of life and resulting anguish and anger that it causes.

Any dedicated person, or group of people, that undertakes an endeavor will keep track of key metrics, be it in sport, business or play.

Thus, this is it is not only appropriate for our military, but more significantly it is the duty and responsibility of a great nation like the United States of America to count civilian casualties and deaths, and to report on them openly.

This won't be easy, but that doesn't excuse our responsibility. As difficult as it may be, it's time to give the order so the Pentagon can learn how to do it and do it well.

By doing so, we will speed the success of all our missions, provide immeasurable more help to the people we are taking actions to protect, and significantly improve the advancement of peace and stability around the globe.

Respectfully,Paul Retter

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