I take this from William Rivers Pitt's column today:
By William Rivers Pitt
Tuesday 25 March 2008
White House press secretary Tony Snow, the third man to hold that post in the Bush administration since 2001, began the June 15, 2006, noon press briefing with a few prepared remarks before opening the floor to questions from the assembled crowd of reporters. The first to speak noted, "American deaths in Iraq have reached 2,500," before asking, "Is there any response or reaction from the president on that?"
"It's a number," replied Snow, "and every time there's one of these 500 benchmarks people want something."
As of that June day in 2006, the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq had reached "one of these 500 benchmarks" for a fifth time since the 2003 invasion. Snow's unabashed dismissal of the grim reality that number represented was as vile as it was predictable, a perfect illustration of the administration's cold indifference and demented priorities. It's a number. It's a benchmark. People want something. Next question.
On Monday, that benchmark was reached for an eighth time. Four US soldiers were killed late Sunday when their vehicle was bombed in south Baghdad, bringing the total number of American troops lost in Iraq to 4,000. It's a number. It's a benchmark. People want something. Next question.