largest estimate of the number of medical evacuations
from Iraq is to be found in a December 30 article
by retired US Army Col. David Hackworth, "Saddam's
in the slammer, so why are we on orange?"
writes, "Even I...was staggered when a Pentagon
source gave me a copy of a Nov. 30 dispatch showing
that since George W. Bush unleashed the dogs of
war, our armed forces have taken 14,000 casualties
in Iraq - about the number of warriors in a line
tank division." The former colonel adds that
the figure "means we've lost the equivalent
of a fighting division since March. At least 10
percent of the total number" of available
personnel - 135,000 - "has been evacuated
back to the USA!"
Col. Scott D. Ross of the US military's Transportation
Command told Hackworth that as of Christmas his
"outfit had evacuated 3,255 battle-injured
casualties and 18,717 non-battle injuries,"
a total 21,972 servicemen and women. Ross, however,
cautioned that his figure might include some of
the same service members counted more than once.
major categories of "non-battle" evacuations
included orthopedic surgery, 3,907; general surgery,
1,995; internal medicine, 1,291; psychiatric,
1,167; neurology, 1,002; gynecological (mostly
concludes that "it's safe to say that, so
far, somewhere between 14,000 and 22,000 soldiers,
sailors, airmen and Marines have been medically
evacuated" from the war zone in Iraq.
back in the US, the injured are stored in dozens
of military medical facilities around the country,
their existence virtually ignored by the administration,
their plight largely unreported by the media.
a public outcry improved matters, many wounded
veterans, UPI reported in October, had to wait
"weeks and months for proper medical help"
at military facilities such as Fort Stewart in
Georgia and were "being treated like dogs,"
according to one officer. The indifference of
Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld to the fate of US servicemen
and women is a part of their general contempt
for the broad layers of the working population,
Iraqi and American.
deliberate obscuring of the human toll of the
war and occupation in Iraq is an indication of
considerable nervousness within the Bush administration.
Despite the official claims of overwhelming popular
support, the political and media establishment
knows full well that opposition to this war is
growing, and that an accurate picture of the war's
devastating consequences would further turn the
tide of public opinion.
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Posted: February 9, 2004