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The amount of casualties flowing steadily from Iraq is way more damning than the number of US soldiers being killed there
by R. J. Crane, editor
Topplebush.com
October 16, 2003

[Editor's Note: Since this article was first written, 398 coalition soldiers have now died in Iraq and 2, 014 U.S. soldiers have been injured as of October 27, 2003 and as reported by the Defense Dept.]

What is passing under the radar regarding the war in Iraq is the staggering number of casualties that occur on a daily basis. According to an article published in The New Republic (10-2-03) by editor, Lawrence F. Kaplan, almost every night giant C-17 transport jets loaded with wounded Americans land at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington. He goes on to state that every day another ten soldiers are wounded seriously in Iraq and as many as 1,600 soldiers have already come home missing arms, legs, or parts of their faces. He adds that Walter Reed Medical Center has taken on the "the feel of a Civil War Hospital."

Health care workers cannot discuss these injuries....the injuries of the "unknown" wounded, who have for all practical purposes been ignored by the media when citing casualty statistics from Iraq. "The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which went into effect last October, states that health care personnel can go to prison and/or be fined astronomical amounts for even talking to other health professionals or family members about the condition and/or treatment of anyone in health care in the US at this time," states David Isenberg in Asia Times (10-4-03). So even Lawrence Kaplan's statistics have to be questioned as to accuracy as no one can really know for sure how many soldiers have been seriously wounded in this war. All we can do is make estimates based on evidence gathered from varied sources.

But according to David Isenberg (Asia Times, 10-4-03), even estimating US casualites in Iraq is a tricky business. Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany, the first stop for casualties sent out of country from both Afghanistan and Iraq, has already treated approximately 6,000 service members from Operation Iraqi Freedom and these 6,000 service members were wounded badly enough to have already been flown back to the US. From LRMC casualties are then routed to hospitals in the US like Walter Reed, which is so overcrowded now from Iraq and Afghanistan casualties, it has been referring outpatients to nearby hotels. From hospitals like Walter Reed, they are sent as soon as possible to unit base hospitals or VA's or other regional medical centers. Isenberg claims one would have to poll every hospital in the country on a weekly basis to get an accurate picture of the total number of casualties coming from Iraq.

To make matters worse, according to a September 2, 2003 Washington Post article by staff writer, Vernon Loeb, US Central Command isn't even reporting "other casualties" unless the attacks also kill one or more personnel. Why? Because attacks on US military personnel are so commonplace and the number of wounded have become so large, which of course means more people would become outraged if they understood the magnitude of the problem.

To do justice to the real number of US casualties from Iraq, one also would have to factor into the above estimates a large number of military personnel who now require or eventually will require long periods of treatment for post traumatic stress syndrome and other mental illnesses such as depression and the resulting problems thereof, such as substance abuse, aggression, and suicide.

Then one would also have to allow for another very large group of military personnel who will develop "other" strange illnesses not unlike "Gulf War Syndrome," which has already put 250,000 military personnel from Operation Desert Storm on disability and may have contributed to the early deaths of another 10,000 soldiers. There is no doubt that many soldiers now in Iraq have already gotten sick from or have symptoms of DU (depleted uranium) poisoning or have been exposed to this toxic dust. Yet the military steadfastly denies that DU poses any health risks to military personnel there.

So let's assume approximately 6,000 military personnel have already been forever damaged from serious bodily wounds. Then you add to this the steadily growing numbers yet to become part of these statistics, the psychologically-damaged whose numbers are yet to be determined, and/or those who will become afflicted with any number of strange "unexplained" illnesses related to this war, the 350+ coaltion soldiers "reported" killed in Iraq doesn't begin to tell the real story of the true horrors of this senseless, misguided war. It almost seems as if the numbers of soldiers killed in Iraq is being used as a shield to draw attention away from the large numbers of grave but non-fatal casualties. And none of the above takes into account the large number of civilian personnel performing quasi-military functions there, estimated to comprise about 4 out of 10 people who work for various military contractors. These civilians will never show up in any military casualty reports.

We strongly urge all military personnel everywhere NOT to re-elect Bush in 2004. Not only has he cut your VA benefits but he had the audacity to send soldiers into two senseless prolonged wars when he himself went AWOL from the reserves.

Shame on you George Bush!

© 2003 Topplebush.com
October 16, 2003

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