Thursday, October 21, 2010

Solemn Army Gunner

In the fourth position of the Korean War Veterans Memorial stands a depiction of an African American U.S. Army BAR Gunner. Having no idea what a BAR gunner was, I had to look it up. BAR is the acronym for the Browning Automatic Rifle, which was designed to be carried by advancing infantrymen, slung over the shoulder and fired from the hip, otherwise known as "walking fire."

After reading about BAR, it made me think about how technology has so drastically changed warfare. While even one death during war is one too many, imagine what the military casualties would have been in recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan had the military not had the weaponry and advanced protective gear we have now. More than 35,000 U.S. military members were killed during the Korean War in just three years. Since the start of the War of Terror in 2001 on battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq, we've lost nearly 6,000 U.S. military members. That's a significant difference. On the flip side, while advances in technology keeps our service members safer, weapon and warfare advances inevitably create more destruction, cost more civilian lives. I guess the bottom line when it comes to war is that no one really wins, because someone always ends up getting hurt.

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