Ivins Us Losses Up From Last Year

Ivins: US Losses up from Last Year

Molly Ivins’s column today is all the refutation necessary to Dick Cheney’s strangely diffident speech Wednesday night. She writes:

‘ RECORD. We have already lost more American soldiers (488) in Iraq in 239 days of this year than we did in 287 days last year (482), when there was a war on and before our mission was accomplished.

The grind of the numbers is so relentless. Price of oil — pressing $50 a barrel. Poverty rate — increased again, third year in a row. Number of Americans without insurance — increased again, third year. Part of the “vibrant economy” Bush touts daily now. And the news from Iraq just keeps getting worse and worse.

Then, to liven things up, someone from Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith’s office is accused of passing classified information to the Israelis via the lobby group American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Be interesting to see whether Laurence A. Franklin, the alleged spy, gets as much publicity as Clinton’s former NSC adviser Sandy Berger did for allegedly taking notes on classified documents for his 9-11 Commission testimony. The Justice Department has announced no charges will be filed against Berger, and the matter is closed. ‘

I hadn’t known the statistic she cites at the beginning, and do find it troubling.

[I am told by sources I trust that the author of the message below has been confused by Pentagon reporting practices, resulting in some double-counting on his part. The Pentagon will announce one day that 5 soldiers were killed. Then the next day that 7 were. Then on the third day they might release some names, but they would be the names of the ones killed on the first day.)

Clive Astle writes from Australia:

‘ For better numbers on US casualties in Iraq than used by Molly Ivin visit Global Secuirty’s casualties page.

Molly appears to have omitted counting the number killed but unidentified pending notification of kin. Total US dead is reported at 1012 as at end of August (244 days of 2004 with 530 dead versus 482 dead in 2003’s 287 days despite end of official war and return of “sovereignty”).

Of at least equal concern is US casualties totalling 6987 as at end of August including a big jump of 1112 in the most recent month alone. Note that the wearing of bullet-proof vests means that many of these would have been deaths in earlier combats such as Vietnam. The vests have reduced deaths but greatly increased total incapacitation wounds such as brain injuries and limb loss. (Note that Pentagon has been trying to “spin” the number of wounded by only reporting “hostile” wounded since 1 April 2004).

If you assume that the 6987 wounded cannot return to fight and nor can the 4416 reported non-battle injury evacuations, the US loses 21.47 soldiers per day to injury (and 36 per day in most recent month) on top of the 1.9 average deaths per day (total 23.37 per day equals 8530 per year that this continues, more if rates escalate as they are currently). Too many years at this rate and the US military is severely depleted, not to mention the increased vet costs and resultant family impact back home.

Note also that most recent deaths have not been in Najaf, implying there is a largely unreported but much more effective uprising elsewhere in Iraq (Al-Anbar district seems to be where most deaths are still occuring). ‘

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