Okay, this is simple enough for even John Kerry and Howard Dean supporters to understand: American service members are safer serving in Iraq than they are in the US.
The US mortality rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is 834 deaths per 100,000 of population per year. There have been 200,000 (average) US troops in Iraq for 18 months. The death rate for 200,000 Americans should be 1,668 per year, meaning that since the start of the war, statistically you'd expect 2,502 Americans to have died.
So how many Americans have died in Iraq? 934 in 18 months.
I know the agony of losing a child. I can only imagine the agony of losing a father or mother or husband or wife. Every death of an American service member is a loss of human being who stands out from his peers as one willing to work hard for little money for possibility of dying. We honor those who've served and, to a greater degree, those who've been crippled or killed into the bargain. But we must remain reasonable.
A reasoned mind says that the liberation of a country long oppressed is a just cause. Reason dictates that there is a threshold one must monitor in terms of cost for carrying out such liberation. A death rate below the liberator's national average, though, is far below that threshold.