US Soldier Shot, wounded in Tikrit
On Sunday, a guerrilla in Tikrit managed to shoot and wound a US soldier while he was on foot patrol. He is in stable condition.
Alaskan journalist Dahr Jamail has a column today from Baghdad questioning the accuracy and fullness of US military reports of casualties. He says that the rate of casualties has increased since Saddam’s arrest; that the US military admits that the number of attacks is back up to 25 a day, and that the US authorities and the press play down the seriousness of many wounds received. He gives an example of undercounting: He maintains that eyewitnesses saw five US soldiers medically evacuated by land and two by helicopter last Thursday after a roadside bombing, whereas the military reported two dead and only 3 wounded.
The US military doesn’t always report woundings unless a soldier is also killed that day. I think this is wrong, and they should report all casualties. Also, I have repeatedly said that I think their report of “attacks” against Coalition forces is low, perhaps because of some technical way that they define what an “attack” is. It is possible, to give the US military the benefit of the doubt, that some of the medevacs were only in shock and not actually wounded. I’d hate to think they are cooking the numbers of wounded, which would be a real slap in the face of the wounded troops.
Jamail’s larger point, that US troops are getting their legs blown off, and their faces blown off, and that many of the wounded will never be right again, is well taken. It is also true that the US authorities and the press seldom display to the public what all this really means for the Vets. If you take everyone wounded during the war and since in hostile action, add in everyone who’s had a nervous breakdown and had to be shipped back, everyone who has fallen so seriously ill they had to be sent home, and everyone who has had a serious work-related accident or committed suicide, the numbers are breathtaking. UPI is reporting nearly 11,000 medical evacuations. This number is not entirely meaningful, since it includes some number of persons who would have gotten ill had they never gone to Iraq (130,000 individuals have a certain rate of natural disease and even death). But the number of wounded and war-related ill is certainly in the thousands. This war has not been without cost, or at small cost, as the Neoconservatives are still pretending to themselves.
For those who care about our disabled Vets, please think about contributing to them at: Disabled American Veterans.