- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 4, 2001

A month into the Afghanistan campaign, Americans are fighting their way into winter. A month into the Kosovo campaign, they were fighting into spring.
In the Persian Gulf war, it was just plain hot.
The United States attacked Afghanistan in response to terrorists who killed Americans at home. It went to war against Iraq to free Kuwait and protect the region and its supply of oil.
Kosovo was about ethnic killing and regional instability.
These major military campaigns over a decade that also took Americans into harm's way in places such as Bosnia and Somalia, are different in their motivations, goals, size, terrain and much more.
But there are some similarities, too the stateside goodbyes to sailors and soldiers, the knowledge each day's choreography of military machinery will bring danger, the certainty that innocents abroad will die.
Also common at least to the Afghanistan and Kosovo conflicts is that, about a month into each one, nagging questions arose about whether all that bombing was doing much good.
NATO planes bombed through several weeks of severe weather before they could target Serbian troops and their artillery. Even during the air war that proceeded swiftly against Iraq after months of buildup, fears existed that allies would die in great numbers in the coming ground war.
A look at elements of three wars, in their first month, by the numbers:
The bombing: The number of combat and bombing flights over Afghanistan, increasing lately, has averaged just over 60 a day. Allies flew 500 missions a day over Yugoslavia and 1,500 a day during the Gulf war.
The other side: U.S. forces are up against 45,000 to 50,000 Taliban fighters. The United States and its allies faced about 40,000 armed Serbs in Kosovo and roughly 500,000 Iraqi soldiers.
U.S. casualties: About a month into the Gulf war, U.S. officials said 16 Americans had been killed in combat and 33 in noncombat operations. Thirty were missing in action and eight were prisoners of war. No Americans died in that period over Kosovo; three were taken prisoner. No U.S. soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan but two Army Rangers supporting a commando raid died in a helicopter crash in Pakistan and a third soldier was killed in a forklift accident in the Persian Gulf.
Civilian casualties: Reliable numbers are impossible in the midst of fighting. More than 400 civilian deaths from NATO air strikes were confirmed independently a month into the Kosovo campaign, which was fought to stop the killing and dislocation of civilians by Serbian forces. Iraq claimed 1,600 civilians dead at this point of the Gulf war. The United States, which lost more than 4,600 people in the terrorist attacks, has acknowledged mistaken bombings of some civilian areas while disputing Taliban claims of 1,500 civilian dead.
U.S. losses: About a month into the Gulf war, 17 aircraft. In the Yugoslavia campaign, Americans lost one stealth bomber, one Apache helicopter and one unmanned reconnaissance plane in that time. In the Afghan war, America lost a helicopter and an unmanned Predator spy plane Friday bad weather was blamed as well as the helicopter that crashed in Pakistan, and an additional unmanned aircraft that went down before airstrikes started.
Opposing losses: A month into the Gulf war, allies had destroyed 72 Iraqi planes and damaged or sunk as many ships, taken more than 1,200 prisoners and prompted 142 Iraqi planes to flee to Iran. Serbian officials said they had lost 2,000 troops, and suffered damage to their military equipment and petroleum supplies. In this conflict, the Pentagon claimed control of the Afghan sky within days but has refused to estimate Taliban troops killed or the range of targets damaged or destroyed.

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