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zimv20
Aug 5, 2003, 02:16 AM
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/08/04/1059849347169.html


Death marches at double in Iraq but US public unaware

By_Julian Borger in Washington
August 5 2003

United States military casualties in Iraq are running at more than twice the number most Americans have been led to believe they are. The public is largely unaware of a high number of accidents, suicides and other non-combat deaths.

Since May 1, when President George Bush called an end to combat operations, 52 of his troops have been killed by hostile fire, according to Pentagon figures.

But the total of deaths from all causes is much higher at 112.

The other unreported cost of the war for the United States is the number of wounded - 827.

But unofficial figures put the total in the thousands. Many of the wounded have lost limbs.

The number of US combat deaths since the start of the war is 166, which is 19 more than the toll in the first Gulf war.

The passing of that benchmark last month scotched the perception that the US had scored an easy victory. The death toll this time is 248 when accidents and suicides are included.

According to a Gallup poll, 63 per cent of Americans still think Iraq was worth going to war over, but a quarter want the troops out now, and another third want a withdrawal if the casualty figures mount.

Military observers say it is unusual, even in a "low-intensity" guerilla war, for non-combat deaths to outnumber combat casualties.

The Pentagon does not tabulate the cause of those deaths, but according to Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, a website that tracks official reports, 23 US soldiers have died in car or helicopter accidents since May 1, and 12 have been killed in accidents with weapons or explosives.

Three deaths have been categorised as possible suicides, three have died from illness and three from drowning. The rest are unexplained.

Wounded US soldiers continue to be flown back to Andrews Air Force Base near Washington at a relentless rate.

The Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington was so overwhelmed by the influx that it had taken over beds normally reserved for cancer patients, a CBS report said.

The Pentagon figure for wounded in action in Iraq is 827, but here again the total of injuries appears much higher.

The estimate given by central command in Qatar is 926, but Lieutenant-Colonel Allen DeLane, in charge of the airlift of wounded into Andrews Air Force Base, argues that too is understated. "Since the war has started, I can't give you an exact number because that's classified information, but I can say to you over 4000 have stayed here at Andrews, and that number doubles when you count the people that come here to Andrews and then we send them to other places . . ." Colonel DeLane told National Public Radio.

Ninety per cent of injuries were directly war-related, he said.

"When the facility where I'm at started absorbing the people coming back from theatre [in April], those numbers went up significantly - I'd say over 1200. That number even went up higher in the month of May, to about 1500, and continues to increase."

The Guardian

Ambrose Chapel
Aug 5, 2003, 06:50 AM
here's an op-ed written by a former military semi-big shot:

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/outlook/2023830


Saddam is not yet sitting before a war crimes tribunal. Nor have the key decision-makers in the Pentagon been forced to account for the odd set of circumstances that placed us as a long-term occupying force in the world's nastiest rat's nest, without a nation-building plan, without significant international support and without an exit plan. Neither may ever be required to answer their accusers, thanks to this administration's military as well as publicity machine, and the disgraceful political compromises already made by most of the Congress. Ironically, only Saddam Hussein, buried under tons of rubble or in hiding, has a good excuse.

Desertrat
Aug 5, 2003, 10:47 AM
Now, now. There is a publicly stated exit plan. The big problem is whether or not such political stability can be achieved such that it works and we can then leave. We'll have a lot better idea in six months to a year, I imagine.

Strategically, we don't really want to leave Iraq. We'd want to create a base or bases in the western part, and remove troops from other parts of the mideast. With a stable and "tame" political structure in Iraq, this would be possible. Removal of troops from other areas would reduce the U.S. presence and possibly improve their political stability via a lower U.S. profile.

'Rat

mactastic
Aug 5, 2003, 11:04 AM
How does building bases in western Iraq and then positioning our troops there constitute a reduced US presence in the region? And another way to describe a "tame" government is a "puppet" regime, which is what any Iraqi government that bends over backwards to accomodate the US will be called in that part of the world. I'm not disagreeing with you that this is the US plan, just the potential downside to the approach. The bases in Saudi Arabia were seen as a great idea at the time, but now we find ourselves being attacked by people we previously funded because (in part, I know) of those very bases. We are still dealing with a fundamentalist Iranian regime because of our attempts to install a "tame" regime there. I understand that this is not a black-and-white issue, but I see an appalling lack of concern for the previous failures, and an over-reliance on previous successes (Japan and Germany most notably are cited often). In addition, there is already pressure from the left and the right to get our troops out of Iraq ASAP, which IMHO would leave Iraq in the same situation Afghanistan found itself in after years of proxy war between the USSR and US, when they were essentially abandoned by the world community, and subsequently became a hotbed of illegal activity.

zimv20
Aug 5, 2003, 11:15 AM
Originally posted by Desertrat
Now, now. There is a publicly stated exit plan. The big problem is whether or not such political stability can be achieved such that it works and we can then leave. We'll have a lot better idea in six months to a year, I imagine.

Strategically, we don't really want to leave Iraq. We'd want to create a base or bases in the western part, and remove troops from other parts of the mideast. With a stable and "tame" political structure in Iraq, this would be possible. Removal of troops from other areas would reduce the U.S. presence and possibly improve their political stability via a lower U.S. profile.

'Rat

had bush stated any of this before the war, i bet public support for it wouldn't have been nearly as high.

pseudobrit
Aug 5, 2003, 12:32 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
Now, now. There is a publicly stated exit plan. The big problem is whether or not such political stability can be achieved such that it works and we can then leave. We'll have a lot better idea in six months to a year, I imagine.

Strategically, we don't really want to leave Iraq. We'd want to create a base or bases in the western part, and remove troops from other parts of the mideast. With a stable and "tame" political structure in Iraq, this would be possible. Removal of troops from other areas would reduce the U.S. presence and possibly improve their political stability via a lower U.S. profile.

'Rat

Huh? I thought we were there to get rid of Saddam's WMD. They're gone now, so why are we still there?