The real number of US casualties in Iraq is higher than most Americans realize

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Greg Mitchell points out that the media continue to give little coverage to non-combat-related deaths among American troops in Iraq. Actually, they seldom mention the number of those wounded in combat, much less putting them and their stories on the screen. (It happens. It is rare.)

Even as much press as the electrocuted soldiers got last week would not have been there if there had not been a change in the party that dominates Congress in November of 2006.

McClatchy profiles wounded veteran Victor Domenguez

As Michael Munk periodically reminds us, the numbers of our troops wounded in combat and those injured outside of combat are enormous:

"US military occupation forces in Iraq suffered at least 38 combat
casualties from July 2 to July 8, as the official casualty total
reached at least 65,889. The total includes 33,664 dead and
wounded by what the Pentagon classifies as"hostile" causes and
many more than the 32,187 last reported March 1 dead and
injured from"non-hostile" causes.*

The actual total is over 85,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count
as"Iraq casualties" the approximately 20,000 casualties discovered only
after they returned from Iraq -mainly brain trauma from explosions.**

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by routinely reporting only the total killed (4,117 as of July 8) and rarely mentioning the 30,349 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they cover for the Pentagon by ignoring the 31,325 (as of March 1)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,117 reported deaths include 764 (up one) who died from those same causes, including 145 suicides as of March 1.

* The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesdays) by the Pentagon [pdf]. The dead are reported by Iraq Coalition Casualties

** see USA Today, Nov. 23, 2007
*** the number of"non combat" injured is reported by Iraq Coalition Casualties. The AP.


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Edwin Moise - 7/18/2008

It is true that there is relatively little discussion of the American non-combat deaths in Iraq. But this does not give the American public an impression that fewer Americans are dying in Iraq than is actually the case.

The figures for cumulative deaths in Iraq that are given. frequently, on the TV news shows, are totals of all deaths--combat and non-combat. But because there is so seldom (never that I can recall seeing) any discussion of the way the total death figure breaks up into combat and non-combat deaths, most viewers get the impression that the figure they are being given is a figure for combat deaths.

So the lack of explicit discussion of the non-combat deaths gives viewers an exaggerated impression of the number of deaths. They see a figure representing the total number of deaths, and think it is a figure for only part of the deaths.

It is true that there is very little statistical discussion of the wounded and injured. But there is quite a lot of discussion of them. I see a lot of scenes, on TV news, of wounded and injured men undergoing treatment. I just don't see a lot of statistics.