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Almost 900 U.S. Kids Have Lost a Parent to Iraq War, Scripps Finds

Will U.S. Military now address needs of America's orphans of war?


Dateline: December, 2004

America's sons and daughters traditionally fight our Nation's wars. In Iraq, however, an unprecedented number of those sons and daughters are also moms and dads. As the casualty reports continue to mount, a Scripps Howard News Service report finds that almost 900 U.S. children have lost at least one parent to the Iraq war.

Largely due the military's increasing reliance on reserve troops in combat roles, U.S. soldiers in the Iraq war tend to be older and have more children than soldiers in past wars.

According to Scripps' article, "Children of the Fallen," at least 60 children had a parent killed in Iraq in November, alone. At least half of the children who have lost a parent in Iraq are under the age of ten, More than 40 U.S. troops killed in action have died without ever seeing their newborn children, and six female soldiers, with a total of 10 children, have died in Iraq.

While no similar data from past wars is available, "military experts" told Scripps reporters that an unprecedented number of U.S. children have lost a parent or have been left orphans as a result of combat in Iraq.

A New Challenge for Military Family Services

"This is a new state of affairs we have to confront," Charles Moskos, a military sociologist and professor at Northwestern University, told Scripps reporters. "As much as we are concerned about veterans' programs, we now have to be concerned about orphan programs."

For years, we have seen the U.S. government extend excellent humanitarian support to Vietnamese, Afghan and now Iraqi children orphaned by war. Will that same government now make the same effort for the orphans if its own fallen heroes?

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