Instapundit links to RedState, who has some interesting numbers. Here is the breakdown of how many people died in the military during the first terms of the last four Presidents:
George W. Bush . . . . . 5187 (2001-2004)
Bill Clinton . . . . . . . . . 4302 (1993-1996)
George H.W. Bush . . . . 6223 (1989-1992)
Ronald Reagan . . . . . . 9163 (1981-1984)
Not statistically that different, is it? Take away the 2500 or so that we’ve lost in the two theaters of battle, Iraq and Afghanistan (which leaves training accidents, diseases and other causes), and Bush’s numbers drop to 2687, or half of what Clinton lost in an era of relative peace. What does this mean? I think that all it means is that you can’t say that more soldiers are dying now than in past presidencies. All you are changing is the circumstance, and given the threat that certain countries in that region of the world, it’s not a bad circumstance.
Note that the size of the military was far greater in the 1980s, before significant downsizing by Clinton, which makes the numbers for Reagan and H.W. Bush smaller by proportion.