No life greater than another

WC Editorial Board

News outlets across the world announced an attack on Saturday that marked the 2,000th U.S. military member to die in Afghanistan during the 11 year conflict, known as Operation 

Enduring Freedom. The details surrounding this story are murky at best; however, this didn’t stop the spread of the story.

According to the U.S. reports on the event, the exact circumstances surrounding the attack are “unclear,” but it appeared that a U.S. soldier and contractor were killed by a member of Afghan security services in the eastern area of Afghanistan late Saturday night. Some reports, including a report by the Brookings Institute, claim this may not have truly been the 2,000 death in Afghanistan.

The Washington Post ran a storyentitled, “Afghan inside attack puts U.S. troop deaths at 2,000.” The story was complete with a picture of flag drapped casket, but was incomplete when it came to facts. Ironically, the Post quoted the Brooking’s Institute report, “According to the Afghanistan index kept by the Washington-based research center Brookings Institution, about 40% of the American deaths were caused by improvised explosive devices” but failed to mention the report sites 2,058 soldiers have died since August 22, 2012.

In the number of reports that account for the “2,000th”  man to die in Operation Enduring Freedom, few sources reported the other causalities of Sunday’s events: two Afghan soldiers.

It is easy to forget there are two sides to every war. After all, who wants to read about the two Afghan soldiers who were killed by the same Afghan who shamelessly killed the American soldier?

But, there is a problem that reaches far beyond the media ignoring reports of enemy casualties. Death happens every day, and the media needs to pick which stories to report and which stories warrant the most column inches.

The deaths in Afghanistan were not the only killings to take place over the weekend: Twenty-six people were killed in Iraq after an attack just north of Baghdad. In Syria, a suicide bomber killed himself and at least four other people on Sunday.

Stateside, in Florida, two people were killed after a shooter attacked a VFW lodge, and a downtown shootout in Idaho left one man dead. 

And finally, in Kenya, a grenade attack on an Anglican church took the life of one child. 

We live in a day and age that marks the 2,000th life lost is more important than the 1,999th life lost, and, for that matter worth more than the life of a Kenyan child.

The life of a soldier should be honored and remembered, but it important to remember that every life that is lost matters to someone.

It is impossible to ask the media to report every death equally, but it is important, as the consumers of media, for people to keep in mind that no life is greater than another.