The Cost of Waiting

On June 3, I wrote in this space about the tragedy of the "let’s wait for the Petraeus report!" approach:

The real reason for the delay, of course, is that it lets our “leaders” weasel out of making a tough decision for awhile, and hope that Events will somehow bail them out in the meantime.

I call this “pathetic” because (a) everyone knows what the conclusion will be in the end, delay or no, and (b) each day the decision is delayed, U.S. soldiers are dying for a cause that their leaders have already given up on.

Well, General Petraeus finally came before Congress last week, on September 10 and 11.

So how many soldiers died while our political class was twiddling its thumbs waiting for Petraeus? Here’s the complete list of confirmed U.S. military fatalities in Iraq for the period between June 4 and September 9 (courtesy of, with causes and dates of death: 

That’s 271 more soldiers who gave their lives while Washington waited for Petraeus. So if you were wondering what the cost in blood would be for punting this debate into the fall — now you know.