The noun life when denoting "a way or manner of living" (MW) or "living things considered together" is used in singular, but when it means "the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body" (also MW ibid.) shouldn't it be a count noun that appears in plural when referring to a plurality of lost lives?
Why do people say the loss of American life then? It's apparent that life here means "a vital or living being" or such a quality, which is not to be confused with "This American Life", where life supposedly takes the meaning of "a way or manner of living".
Biden "expressed sorrow at the tragic loss of American life."
In July 2006, when CBS and the New York Times asked, "Do you think the result of the war with Iraq was worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq, or not?"
“I would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success,” he said.
It occurred to me to ask this question when watching a Henry Kissinger talk (Yes, I know English wasn't Kissinger's first language.) where he apparently said,
What we face now is whether the United States not just will withdraw its forces, which we achieved, and not just will stop the end of the loss of American life, but whether it will deliberately destroy an ally by withholding aid from it in its moment of extremity.
Very interestingly, when The New York Times printed a transcription of this news conference, they changed it to lives.
What we face now is whether the United States not just will withdrdaw [sic] its forces, which we achieved, and not just will stop the end of the loss of American lives, but whether it will deliberately destroy an ally by withholding aid from it in its moment of extremity.