Home / The Dead: A Review of Americans Lost in Wars

The Dead: A Review of Americans Lost in Wars

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

They were going to look at war,
War, the blood-swollen god.
-Stephen Crane

There is no more sobering fact about war than men (and women) will die; more often than not they will be young; sometimes it would seem they are mere children. Men and women who are eighteen are in this precarious place teetering between adolescence and adulthood. Just as they have risen above MTV, video games, and hanging at the mall, just as they have secured the right to the keys to the car, a chance to go to college and be away from home, a chance at living a life leading to the adult world, someone is shoving a gun into their hands, dropping them on foreign soil, and asking them to kill people in their own age group who are wearing different uniforms and speaking other languages. This strikes me as something rather preposterous. No matter, it has been thrust upon countless numbers of our young Americans for generations now, and it seems as always it is something we must expect to continue.

In the great old television series M*A*S*H, we got a glimpse every week of what war does to our kids. It is oddly salient that what was ostensibly a comedy taught a whole generation, myself included, about how horrific war could be. The impact of war results in losses, many losses, much more than even the best doctors can bear. Blood is spilled, sometimes copiously, and who can forget Hawkeye, Trapper, and the rest of the surgeons leaving the OR and cleaning up, spattered with blood like clumsy butchers, but truthfully just overwhelmed by casualties and their own human frailty.

I’ll never forget an early episode that I think is a microcosm for the entire series set in a Korean mobile army hospital. Hawkeye, usually played with irascible good cheer by Alan Alda, has lost a patient and is feeling down and out until Colonel Blake (the under-appreciated McLean Stevenson) sets him straight about war and their place in it. He says that Rule Number One is that young men get wounded and die in war. Rule Number Two is that doctors can do nothing about Rule Number One. This sets Hawkeye straight and he can return to the operating table, knowing that his actions are but bandages pressed down on gushers of blood, but he is determined to forge ahead with the bandages.

At this point, I think it is essential to look at some numbers about those who spilled that blood. Statistics are always helpful in formulating a basis for comparison. If we look at the number of Americans we have lost in wars since 1900, they are astonishingly and overwhelmingly a call for recognition. We may hear vague words about “Support our troops,” but a look at these numbers is reason enough to go out and do something meaningful for the men and women who are in service to this country, no matter how we feel about politics and the president and anyone else. And we shouldn’t forget those who served in the past. Look at that old man in a wheelchair who stormed the beaches at Normandy, or the fellow with one leg who survived the Korean cold, or another who came back from Vietnam, or the first Gulf War, and, if nothing else, say “Thank You.”

The following numbers reflect only American casualties.


World War I
(1914-1918) 116,708 204, 002

World War II
(1939-1945) 407,316 671,846 78,000

Korean War
(1950-1953) 36,916 103,284 8,117

Vietnam War
(1961-1975) 58,193 153,363 1,833

Persian Gulf War
(1991) 299 467

(2001-present) 214* 479*

(2003-present) 1,954* 13,100*

*these numbers are approximate
-statistics obtained from NY Newsday

As we worry about the ravages of war abroad, Americans here in New York and elsewhere are facing the grim reality of a war at home. This is what people call a new kind of war. In World War One, the popular song “Over There” described a conflict that, while overwhelming and destructive, took place someplace else far away. While we were attacked at Pearl Harbor prior to our entry into World War Two, this was not the mainland United States and seemed “over there” for most people. Subsequent wars in Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf were also far and away, though the magic of television brought each of these wars to us intimately, marking a dramatic change in perspective, especially for young people.

Unfortunately, this current war, whether we consider it as just the actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the more expansive conflict of a War on Terror, seems precipitously close to home. We should have all been made aware of that on February 26, 1993, when the first attack at the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan took place. It surprises me even to this day that not more was made or done about that moment. It should have been a real slap in the face, a stark reminder that we were no longer safe at home. None of us! But that cold and snowy winter’s day seemed to be forgotten rather quickly until a beautiful late summer day on 9/11/2001 when the delusions of “over there” were irrevocably lost.

Whatever one’s feelings are about the current war, the concern (for me anyway) comes back to lives lost. People die in wars and, just like old Colonel Blake said, there’s nothing much doctors or any of us can do about it. Yes, we can aspire to be like a Cindy Sheehan and hope to have an impact, but in the end the boots are on the ground over there and we have to wonder when we might feel the wrath of our far away enemies over here. War is always repugnant and this one, seemingly dragging on interminably, will be affecting us for a long time to come.

I will end on a personal note. The other day I took my four year old daughter to the local mall to look for a Halloween costume. A middle aged black woman came walking toward us, and she was wearing a shirt that read: My Son is in the United States Navy. I don’t know what came over me, but I stopped her and said, “Miss, I just want to thank you for what you’re son is doing.” As I shook her hand, she didn’t cry but looked down at my daughter, forcing a smiled marked by fragility and tenderness. She patted my arm and nodded but did not speak and went on her way. We went into the store and my daughter picked out her costume and danced all the way back to the car.

On the way home I turned on the car radio and first heard the news of a possible plot to bomb our New York City subways. The “war” obviously continues.

Copyright © Victor Lana 2005

Powered by

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His books 'A Death in Prague' (2002), 'Move' (2003), 'The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories' (2005), and 'Like a Passing Shadow' (2009) are available in print, online, and as e-books. His latest books 'If the Fates Allow: New York Christmas Stories,' 'Garden of Ghosts,' and 'Flashes in the Pan' are available exclusively on Amazon. He has won the National Arts Club Award for Poetry, but has concentrated on writing mostly fiction and non-fiction prose in recent years. He has worked as a faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with 'Blogcritics Magazine' since July 2005 and has written well over 500 articles; previously co-head sports editor, he now is a Culture and Society editor. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday where he figures a few ideas for new stories await him.
  • I apologize for mishandling the format for the statistics in the above post.

    The first number is for those killed, the second for those wounded, and the third for those missing in action.

  • victor, you’ve no idea how much your kindness meant to that navy mom…military moms are regularly approached by those in support of their children even if not the war, and they are greeted by those who think one mom can stop the war if only she wanted to and treat her and her child’s service with subsequent disrespect…
    it’s a painful reality for many of them…your kindness was reflected in her response…she didn’t need words…
    many military mothers would look upon your young child the way the navy mom did because they remember when their own were young, and some of them are no longer with us…some of them won’t walk again or breathe on their own anymore…some wake with night terrors disturbingly similar to those of a toddler, only the screeching has basis and emanates from the throat of a grown person…any young child that isn’t theirs is a harsh and precious reminder of their own…

    what makes all the brouhaha in the civilian world so difficult for military families isn’t so much the policy disagreements, the articles counting and recounting the dead and wounded, or even the protests…it’s how our world of deployments, rotations, and experiences doesn’t change no matter what civilians do or think or say…it’s as if there is an invisible wall separating those in the fray from those who talk about the fray, and no one willingly passes from one side to the next…support and kindness are always welcome by those with loved ones abroad, and it can sometimes look or sound unappreciative when they scurry away from the middle of a greeting in hopes of finding seclusion before the tears start…

    for those of us living this life, civilain comments are a curiosity whether they’re supportive or not…we read about people stressing over a 1,000 mile household move when we’ve moved cross-country and across the world several times…it’s almost humorous to hear a woman lament about her husband’s month long business trip when for us, 6 month deployments with extensions are the norm…we’re almost irriated when he goes TAD (temporary assigned duty) for a month because this isn’t enough time to get in all our chick-flicks, rearrange the entire house that was half-thrown together from the move last year , and throw out all his old clothes and the dead appliances already piling up in the storage room…we’re used to celebrating holidays weeks, sometimes months in advance because our loved own won’t be home for christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries…
    and then there’s the war thrown in on top of that…for the spouses and parents, this isn’t the first war since 1990…we’ve been sending our loved ones off to conflicts and dangers all over the place even since then, the bulk of civilians seemingly unaware…my own husband “visited” eight other countries on his way to and from iraq, the return voyage extended by problems in liberia…right this minute, i can only tell you he’s in africa somewhere and not because i’m forbidden to tell you, it’s because i don’t know anything more specific than that…his last phone call last week was made up of familiar crackling and a most disconcerting 6-second delay…the papers are talking about the operation there as if it were a game of some kind…in reality, my biggest concerns for him are that he’s surrounded by unknown contaminants, can’t trust the safety of the only food he’s being offered, and he’s out of cigarettes…
    for parents it’s a slightly different world because they don’t have the same resources and access available to spouses…as if our imaginations don’t torture us enough no matter how many times we turn the tv off, the waiting game for parents is exponentially more difficult…
    the civilian papers talk about our world with an alarming and unsettling detachment even when addressing the needs of the wounded and their families like my friend tonia and her injured marine husband…those whose loved ones on their way or who aren’t home yet are going through something the papers never talk about…we still get mail that’s been postmarked 20 times before reaching our mailboxes…we still get crackling half-minute phone calls in the middle of the night that will carry us around on cloud nine for a week or more — just ask, we’ll tell you how great his or her voice sounded even though we could only make out “i’m fine” and “love you” through 30 seconds of static and a sharp noise that we tell ourselves wasn’t the sound of bombs going off right before the phone call abruptly ended …
    we’ve filled out thousands of customs forms to send as many packages of homemade goodies and toothpaste and gameboys, written thousands of emails and letters, waited countless times in line at a “family day” for the chance to see our loved ones on videophone for our rationed few minutes…
    we’ve been given dates of return and made all the preparations only to be told the date is postponed, again, and then again…it’s so hard for spouses to have to tell their kids the dates have changed, to call their spouse’s family to say the same…
    it’s harder still for those who find out their loved one is thousands of miles away and in surgery with no prognosis yet available, and then the ensuing months and years of caring for someone who can no longer care for themselves…it’s devastating when the spouse or parent answers the door they hoped they’d never have to open and in the coming week find themselves in receipt of a flag instead of the person they hoped to welcome home — and then the mail comes with letters written by the loved one no longer in their lives…
    protests and political bickering don’t change these realities…support for the war or oppostion to it is an aside to those whose primary function in life is getting by until their loved one returns regardless of the shape they’re in, or doesn’t return alive…

    my point is that it’s about so much more than lives lost…it’s about lives, period…lots of them, all of them, american, iraqi, dutch, british, spanish, italian, and more…servicemembers, spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends, neighbors…every one of these lives has been touched and some turned upside down or torn completely apart by the conflicts in the middle east and around the world…from my perspective, it’s a wonder there are any “civilains” left…

    the reality of this particular war is that it won’t end until there is resolution with all parties…as long as the countries and groups involved (by opposition or support) focus only on their own or only on the war itself without regard for the human prices being paid, resolution will never come…
    your greeting of that navy mom, victor, may seem like a very small step in the process of resolution, but that’s how all the great conflicts have been overcome — step by step, one by one, with someone different from ourselves whose experiences are very different from our own…when we as a country and a world choose to focus our energy and resources on the step by step processs, then there will be resolution…

  • Diana,

    Your reaction has been an affirmation. I wasn’t sure at the time if I was out of line, out of place, you know being a stranger. Yet she looked almost lost walking there, solemn in her way, and her shirt was so bold and I just did it.

    Now, I’m really glad I did. My daughter, by the way, asked me who that lady was. And I said, “She’s the Mommy of a very brave man.”

    My daughter wanted to know if he was like Spiderman. And I said, “No, honey, he’s a real super hero.”

    My daughter laughed. She liked that answer a lot.

    Thanks again, Diana!

  • MCH

    And of course, there are people like Bobby (RJ) Elliott and Dave Nalle – who support the invasion of Iraq, but refuse(d) to even try to enlist – who will counter with the lame argument that there were “more people killed in car accidents during the same period of time.”

  • MCH, we’ve gone over this before. I didn’t support the invasion of Iraq, and I’m too old to enlist in the military, not to mention that we’ve got a volunteer force and no one is under any compulsion to enlist, plus it’s a free country not Starship Troopers, so we all have the right to hold opinions about war even if we haven’t fought in one. If you think war only impacts those who fight, then you’re naive as well as being a mindless troll.


  • MATT


  • MCH

    Dave (I had other priorities during Desert Storm) Nalle;

    I notice you conveniently ignored addressing your phoney comparison of traffic fatalities to combat deaths.

  • Victor, I’m a little confused as to what this post is about.

    You begin with a lament about pointless deaths, then switch to gratitude for “our boys”, then you switch to the entirely bogus argument about “the war at home” (to the best of my knowledge, the United States has no significant experience of a war on it’s territory), then you switch to gratitude.

    This may make sense in a country which believes so many different but false justifications for this war but, from the more lucid European perspective, seems simply confused and confusing…

  • SFC Ski

    Alienboy, we did have a very long and bloody civil war. THere was also that little incident four years ago. Just because we weren’t stupid enough to have to major wars on our own soil in the 20th Century doesn’t mean we don’t know anything about wars.

    Diana, I am right there with you.

    Hey, civillians, just go back to watching Survivor or Paris Hilton, or whatever you do. We’ll let you know when we’re finished.

  • sfc ski, allow me to clarify that i’m not holding it against civilians that they’re not in the immediate grapevine nor would i dismiss their support and concern for our loved ones…it’s a volunteer force, after all…while i admire those with both children and spouses in the service, i for one am happy my son and daughter are not in africa with their father and have chosen to follow in my artistic footsteps instead…i’m as glad that my husband will be transferred to 1stcivdiv in less than a year…
    my intention was to shine light on that which civilians may not have been privy to before, not to compare or pit “us” against “them”…eventually, in some way, it’s all “us”…
    i know there are some civilians i would sooner pop in the mouth than look at (some of them joined the service), but i wouldn’t lump them all together anymore than i would lump army soldiers with marines…
    semper gumby!

  • SFC Ski: Technically, the United States didn’t have a Civil War as it fought the Confederate States but, letting that slide, it’s still not the same thing as a war in the sense that we normally mean it.

  • alienboy,

    With all due respect, I think you are truly from another planet. The USA had major wars fought on our soil. The Civil War was by far the worst, with approximately 360,000 Union soldiers dead and 258,000 Confederate soldiers lost. If they don’t have calculators on Uranus, that comes out to 618,000 Americans dead (the wounded bring the casualties well over one million).

    If that’s not the “same thing as we normally mean it” (and I’m taking that is up Uranus over there), then I don’t know what the hell is.

    Also, the purpose of this post was to elucidate the enormous loss of American blood during wars since 1900 fought on foreign soil. It is also meant to forge some kind of appreciation for the sacrifice. It doesn’t mean I like war or that I’m pro-war, which I am not.

    Unfortunately, your “more lucid European perspective” seems rather cloudy to me. Something must have been lost in hyper-space.

    Happy trails back to your planet, Alien!

  • The casualty numbers, provided by Victor Lana, just how good the War in Iraq is being fought.

  • MCH


    Until you’ve served, please don’t pretend to know what war is about. OK?

  • The continuing Iraq struggle is for bettering the World. Agree???

    And I am enlisting the day after my Graduation Ceremony.

  • MCH

    Then save the military lectures until your discharge.

    – MCH, USN ’70-74

  • It is funny how you still abbreviated your name in that last bit.

  • “The casualty numbers, provided by Victor Lana, just how good the War in Iraq is being fought.”

    contributors to the lower number of dead (comparable to wars other than the persian gulf war) would be major changes in the rules of engagement, our technology combined with their lack of it, and major advances in first aid and battlefield surgery…

    these advances, specifically surgical advances, haven’t always saved lives so much as they have spared them…”saved” makes it sound like something wonderful has happened…
    for those who have lost a leg or an arm, there is still life and this is wonderful…for those who are without two or more appendages, brain injured, brain damaged, brain dead, and/or paralyzed, “saved” is a relative term…

    the casuality and wounded index is located here…causes of death are included…only some of the wounds of the living are listed

  • It’s quite strange how people can play around with numbers. Someone can say, “Numbers don’t lie.” But I would say that we can make numbers into what we want them to be.

    I never thought when I posted these stats that anyone would think that they are supportive of the Iraq War. On the contrary, I was hoping to give resonance to ALL those lost, that war has been and always will be devastating because YOUNG PEOPLE die!

    My grandfather once told me that in his war (WWI) that they (Americans) lost 40,000+ in one battle. One battle! Yet, comparing the Doughboys to our current troops is like comparing a medieval Knight to a Doughboy. It just doesn’t compute.

    Diana is right to categorize the essentials of the battlefield at the time of engagement. The modern technology that is in place now changes the playing field. We can’t justify this war by saying more people died in other wars. That is simply ludicrous.

  • Shark

    re: Grande to MCH:

    Hey Grande, folks abbreviate their names because there are people like you on the internet.

  • Shark

    For some reason, the following is one of the saddest and/or most pathetic things I’ve ever read:

    “In the great old television series M*A*S*H, we got a glimpse every week of what war does to our kids. It is oddly salient that what was ostensibly a comedy taught a whole generation, myself included, about how horrific war could be.”


    And on one count, I’m with Alienboy:

    your essay sorta didn’t know where it was going; sounds like it was all a CLUMSY set-up for the Personal Anecdote at the end.[?]

    And needless to say, an essay attempting to mourn and/or honor the war dead is not helped by a reference to a mid-70s TV sit-com.


  • Shark,

    Perhaps you don’t understand the significance of M*A*S*H and the impact it had on people like me in the 70s. The show had many lighter moments, but the subtext was always anti-war and we knew it.

    It was actually (and series creator Larry Gelbart confirms this in interviews) meant to be a extended commentary on the war in Vietnam, as was Altman’s film before it. Since the war was raging in Vietnam at the time, they decided the setting would be Korea.

    The saddest and most pathetic thing I’ve read recently are your comments on this post.

  • Victor, if you want to disagree with me, go right ahead and do it, we are all grown up here, Anthony Grande excluded of course, I can take it. You don’t need to use this kind of bs language “With all due respect, I think you are truly from another planet.”

    As for “The USA had major wars fought on our soil.” Name them then! I said that what you call the Civil War was between the Confederate States, who left the Union legally, and the rest of the Union States. So technically it wasn’t a civil war by definition. For example, when Texans start fighting Arizonians within the USA, that will be a civil war. Nevertheless, it was a pretty savage war with many deaths, although there were only two brief invasions of Union territory, so my point, that the USA has not really known war within its borders is still fairly solid.

    I also pointed out that you start off lamenting “pointless deaths” and then express appreciation for what the soldiers did. If they were pointless deaths, how are they appreciable sacrifices? I didn’t say anything at all as to whether you “like war or that I’m pro-war”.

    So, in summary, my mild observation that your post was confused and confusing still stands.

  • Maurice


    I understand and appreciate your post. I read it as a lament of the reality of war. It is possible for us to both regret the tragic loss of life and yet be proud of and support those sacrificing.


    You are the only one on this thread to use the phrase ‘pointless deaths’.

  • Alien,

    My point that you’re truly from another planet must be amended: another galaxy is more like it. This is not BS language; it is the truth, MY TRUTH, (based on your wacky interpretation of what I wrote). Anyone who reads my posts or comments here knows I don’t lower myself to BS language.

    You are still confused and don’t understand “war” in the sense that it is a conflict. Who is fighting whom is rather a moot point. I am certain that the Kurds, though citizens of Iraq, believed that they were in a “war” situation while being gassed by Saddam. I’d say the same would hold true for German Jews gassed by the Nazis.

    Also, as Maurice noted, I never used the words you attribute to me. Perhaps more careful reading of this post and others in the future will be in order.

  • Victor, dear oh dear, we have got our intellectual knickers in a twist haven’t we?

    If your truth is that I am not of this earth, I think that says all there is to say about your clarity of thought. If you were trying to be funny, you failed, so I thought you were trying to undermine my point of view by attacking me. Whichever it was, it was bs, plain and simple.

    My point was, and remains, that the USA has not really known war in its own territory, which is simply a fact, one I fail to see the difficulty in accepting. Given the rambling nature of your responses to date, in addition to the vagueness of your original post, maybe it is futile to expect better. I hope not.

    Finally, I didn’t attribute the phrase “pointless deaths” to you, as both “Maurice” and yourself presumed; perhaps a little of your own advice “more careful reading of this post and others in the future will be in order” would be helpful…

  • Maurice

    I’ve said it before:

    If we had an ignore button we would not lose real contributing members.

    I miss dietdoc.

  • Alien,

    As my last (sigh) comment to your confounding and disturbing responses, the idea of you being an “alien” comes from your moniker. I didn’t designate you as other worldly; you have yourself.

    As of now, any future comments from you here (and I’m afraid elsewhere) will be ignored by yours truly.

    I’m turning my Universal Translator off.
    Now, go be a good Gorn and go home.

  • Victor, snooty, snippy and superficial, how I’ll miss you.

    Maybe you’re the real alien? You don’t understand history or war and you know what a gorn is. Neither of these apply to me.

  • alienboy said:
    Nevertheless, it was a pretty savage war with many deaths, although there were only two brief invasions of Union territory, so my point, that the USA has not really known war within its borders is still fairly solid.

    so the war we haven’t really known was pretty savage with many deaths…
    there is nothing solid about this point…

  • Diana, I’m sorry but you have got mixed up, which is not surprising given the amount of waffling going on.

    The point was that the USA has only had a limited experience of war within its borders. One war, regardless of its brutality, doesn’t add up to a lot of experience with war.

  • speaking of waffling, you began with “to the best of my knowledge, the United States has no significant experience of a war on it’s territory”…

    when the civil war was pointed out to you, you noted “Nevertheless, it was a pretty savage war…”

    then you went on to say “…the USA has not really known war in its own territory…”

    per your comment: “Technically, the United States didn’t have a Civil War as it fought the Confederate States but, letting that slide, it’s still not the same thing as a war in the sense that we normally mean it.”
    i wondered if you might define “we” and “war”…
    also, i wondered what your thoughts are on the revolutionary war and the war of 1812…

  • hang on, just fixing the italic tag you left open…

  • Diana, by “we” I simply meant, as one usually does, the current users of the word as usually intended. Doesn’t everyone?

    A war, as we normally understand it, is when one country declares war on another. If you want to use a different definition, let me know.

    I think it’s debatable as to whether the Revolutionary War can be counted as a war by the USA but I guess you could include it if you like.

    The 1812 War was also mostly conducted outside the USA, although there was a limited British counterinvasion.

    There’s a useful Military History of the United States here at Wikipedia should anybody want a quick link to more detail.

    So I still fail to see what the objection might be to the straightforward assertion I made, that the USA has limited experience of war within its own borders…

  • alienboy,
    no, not everyone says “we” unless they know they are speaking for everyone…you don’t speak for me or those in disagreement with you…your “we” would be more accurately stated as “I” or “some of us”…

    per wikipedia, the same site whose information undermines your assertion, the definition of “war” is:
    “a state of widespread conflict between states, organisations, or relatively large groups of people, which is characterised by the use of lethal violence between combatants or upon civilians”…

    if you want to use a different site to substantiate your assertions, let me know…

  • Diana, you’re really getting overwrought now. I didn’t say I spoke for you or anybody else.

    Yes, the wikipedia definition is fine, it starts off saying that war is a “state of widespread conflict between states”, which is the way I was usung it.

    So, what exactly IS wrong with my assertion that the USA does have a relatively limited exposure to war within its boundaries?

  • relative to what?

  • the experience of many other nations, probably the vast majority…

  • “Diana, you’re really getting overwrought now. I didn’t say I spoke for you or anybody else.”

    interestingly, you’ve assigned an emotion to someone you say you’re not speaking for and then say you’re not speaking for me or anyone else in the next sentence…

  • can you name the nations that make up the “vast majority” — i assume you mean the majority of the countries in the world who have warred — with more experience of war on their own turf than the united states?
    and will that be the number of wars per country or the number of wars with respect to the number of years any given country has been a sovereign nation?

  • Diana, to say you are overwrought is an assessment. To describe you thus is not to speak for you.

    I believe it to be quite blatantly obvious that, with the slightest knowledge of history, which is all I have, it takes but a moment’s consideration to be absolutely certain that nigh on every country in the world has a greater experience of war within its national boundaries than the USA, on any basis you care to consider it.

    What exactly is your point?

  • question asked: “What exactly is your point?

    question answered: “…with the slightest knowledge of history, which is all I have…

    in some cases, ignorance is the only excuse…

  • in that case, I forgive your ignorance in repeatedly failing to engage with the issue and preferring snarkiness. Shame really.