Battlefield casualties not officially reported

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2008-04-20

While it's true that our news media gives mostly a sanitized picture of the suffering the occupation in Iraq has created, and while the numbers of the civilian dead are by U.S.military policy not publicly recorded, what is also only part of the story is the official numbers of U.S. service casualties of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Last month the U.S. marked its fifth year in Iraq with the tragic news of 4,000 service members killed in the war zone. (As of this writing the official number is reported at 4,038) In addition of these deaths, the devastating facts about the casualties continue to leak out. The Department of Defense on April 8, in an effort to conceal bad news from the public and press, quietly released their new U.S. battlefield casualty statistics from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars: 74,713.

The group monitoring these statistics is Veterans for Common Sense, a group that provides advocacy and publicity for issues related to veterans in Washington, D.C. Casualty is defined as killed, wounded, injured and ill for other physical reasons. The Afghanistan war caused more than 9,000 casualties as of last month. The Iraq war caused more than 65,000. The group quotes the DOD non-fatal casualty report as more than 70,000 casualties, plus nearly 4,500 deaths from the two war zones -- for a grand total of 74,713 member battlefield casualties.

To this total should be added that the Veterans Administration reports 120,000 diagnosed with a mental health condition and that it reports an expected 300,000 patients from the two wars. Small wonder that on average the veterans are waiting more than six months for the VA to provide badly needed benefits.

But the issue here is that the real numbers of horrific sacrifices by military families and their sons and daughters should be brought to public awareness by being honestly talked about and emphasized by the media -- really a modern policy-atrocity on behalf of an illegal, immoral and disastrous military policy.