[R-G] Media Underplays U.S. Death Toll in Iraq
u_majeed at straight.com
Sun Jul 27 10:16:17 MDT 2003
JULY 17, 2003
Media Underplays U.S. Death Toll in Iraq
Soldiers Dead Since May Is 3 Times Official Count
By Greg Mitchell
NEW YORK -- News Analysis
Any way you look at it, the news is bad enough. According to Thursday's
press and television reports, 33 U.S. soldiers have now died in combat since
President Bush declared an end to the major fighting in the war on May 2.
This, of course, is a tragedy for the men killed and their families, and a
problem for the White House.
But actually the numbers are much worse -- and rarely reported by the media.
According to official military records, the number of U.S. soldiers who have
died in Iraq since May 2 is actually 85. This includes a staggering number
of non-combat deaths. Even if killed in a non-hostile action, these soldiers
are no less dead, their families no less aggrieved. And it's safe to say
that nearly all of these people would still be alive if they were still back
in the States.
Nevertheless, the media continues to report the much lower figure of 33 as
if those are the only deaths that count.
A Web site called Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
(http://lunaville.org/warcasualties/Summary.aspx) is tracking the deaths, by
whatever cause, of U.S. military personnel in Iraq, based on official
Pentagon and CENTCOM press releases and Army Times and CNN casualty
trackers. Their current count is 85 since May 2.
Looking at the entire war, there was much fanfare Thursday over the fact
that the latest U.S. combat death this week pushed the official total to
148 -- finally topping the 147 figure for Gulf War 1. However, according to
the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, the total number of all U.S. deaths,
combat and otherwise, in Iraq is actually 224.
This Web site not only counts deaths, it describes each one in whatever
detail (often sketchy) the military provides, along with the name and age
and home town of each fatality.
An analysis of the 85 deaths by E&P reveals that nearly as many U.S.
military personnel have died in vehicle accidents (17) as from gunshot
wounds (19). Ten have died after grenade attacks and seven from accidental
explosions, another seven in helicopter crashes. Six were killed by what is
described as "non-hostile" gunshots, and three have drowned.
The vast majority of those killed -- at least 70% -- were age 18 to 30 but
several soldiers in their 40s or 50s have also perished. Pentagon officials
also disclosed that there have been about five deaths among troops assigned
to the Iraq mission that commanders say might have been suicides. As
inquiries continue, one official said the susupected suicides were not
clustered in any single time period that might indicate a related cause.
The most recent non-combat death was Cory Ryan Geurin, age 18, a Marine
lance corporal from Santee, Calif. "He was standing post on a palace roof in
Babylon when he fell approximately 60 feet," the site said.
On July 13, Jaror C. Puello-Coronado, 36, an Army sergeant, died while
"manning a traffic point when the operator of a dump truck lost control of
Another soldier, still officially listed as "Unknown," died on July 13 "from
a non-hostile gunshot incident," according to the site.
Before that, on July 9, another Marine Lance Corporal, age 20, died in
Kuwait "in a vehicle accident."
Many other deaths are only vaguely described as the "result of non-combat
injuries." One recent death occurred in a mine-clearing accident. Others
"drowned" or "died of natural causes," and still others lost their lives in
a "vehicle accident."
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will.
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor
freedom, and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing
the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the
ocean without the awful roar of its waters." (Frederick Douglass)
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