Thursday, September 02, 2004
In her Tuesday column Molly Ivins pointed out that we have lost more American soldiers (488) in the first eight months of 2004 than in all of 2003, when there was a war underway (482). Juan Cole reports that, although the press has yet to pick up on the story, Molly's numbers are wrong; we have already cracked the magic number in Iraq. From Australian correspondent Clive Astle:
For better numbers on US casualties in Iraq than used by Molly Ivins visit Global Security'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.