A Grim Milestone

In a shocking upsurge of violence, American deaths in Iraq reached a grim milestone yesterday. The bombing in Fallujah resulted in the deaths of five GIs and four contract workers:

    In one of the bloodiest days for the U.S. military this year, five 1st Infantry Division soldiers died when their M-113 armored personnel carrier ran over a bomb . . . Residents said the bomb attack occurred in Malahma, 12 miles northwest of Fallujah, where anti-U.S. insurgents are active.

This event, coupled with the release of the name of a Wisconsin native killed in an IED attack, brings total American fatalities in Iraq to 600. Unfortunately, this total does not coincide with many numbers released in the mainstream media.

I believe that this is a result of two factors: the lack of an authoritative government listing and the ambiguous nature of many of the deaths. With regard to the former, the Department of Defense will state a death total only after a call from the press, thus silencing an indifferent media. The classifications of deaths also create problems. A quick look at this listing reveals that many deaths occur days if not weeks after combat wounds. Some soldiers have died in U.S. military hospitals; their names only released to those who frequently peruse the DoD press releases. Other deaths have occurred in Kuwait or Qatar, where soldiers are training for or are supporting “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Antiwar.com decided early on that these perhaps ambiguous deaths should be counted for the simple reason that they only occurred because the U.S. brought war to Iraq. Our numbers are backed up by a truly remarkable source of information: Iraqi Coalition Casualty Count. There one will find a complete listing of names (rather than merely just post-May 1st) and a comprehensive database.

For those readers who will scream the anecdotes such as “600 is nothing; 1000 people were killed in NYC last year!” (false analogy) or “600? Saddam killed tens of thousands!” (“America goes abroad not in search of monsters to destroy….”), I present this short list of what the war on Iraq has wrought:

» 3439 official U.S. wounded, while other estimates claim the total as high as 18,000.
» 101 non-U.S. coalition troops killed since the war began.
» 8799 – 10,649 Iraqi civilians killed.
» $109 billion spent and counting.
» Increased terrorism and decreased safety in America.
» Growing sentiments of Anti-Americanism
» An army stretched thin

~Mike Ewens