[R-G] GI death stats say "we're winning"; numbers wounded say "we're losing"
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Thu Jan 8 09:21:22 MST 2004
Seattle Post-Intelligencer January 8, 2004
Troops in Iraq suffer huge risk of injury
Deaths hold steady, but rate of postwar wounded soaring
WASHINGTON -- Nearly as many U.S. soldiers were wounded in Iraq last
month as during the entire six-week period of major combat operations,
according to Defense Department statistics tracked by a leading
The figures illustrate the ongoing danger faced by U.S. forces, even
as the frequency of insurgent attacks appears to be declining and the
number of soldiers killed has mostly held steady.
"That's a lot of pain," said John Pike, director of
GlobalSecurity.org, a defense-focused think tank that compiled the
figures. "It suggests that the level of intensity of operations over
there is a lot higher than would be suggested by the 'killed in
action' numbers. ... The 'killed in action' numbers suggest that we're
winning the war, and the wounded in action numbers suggest that we're
Last night, in a more vivid reminder of the dangers facing U.S.
soldiers in Iraq, anti-American insurgents fired mortar rounds at a
military camp, wounding 35, the U.S. command said.
Six mortar rounds exploded about 6:45 p.m. at Logistical Base Seitz
west of Baghdad, a U.S. military spokesman said in a statement. The
camp is in the so-called Sunni Muslim triangle that is a stronghold of
resistance to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
"The wounded soldiers were given first aid and have been evacuated
from the site for further medical treatment," the statement said. The
Pentagon added the soldiers were from the Army's 541st Maintenance
Battalion, based in Fort Riley, Kan., and part of the
3rd Corps Support Command.
A Pentagon spokesman said some of those wounded returned to duty
shortly after the attack, while others were hospitalized.
The spokesman, Lt. Col. James Cassella, said he did not know how many
were seriously or slightly wounded.
According to the Defense Department figures that Pike's group
compiled, 530 U.S. troops were wounded in December, only slightly
fewer than the 550 wounded during combat operations last spring.
It was impossible to track month-by-month wounded statistics before
December, Pike said, because the Pentagon only started releasing daily
tabulations of them in late November.
But he said that according to previous news reports of Pentagon
figures, 570 U.S. troops were wounded in combat from May through
August, while from September through November, 1,052 soldiers were
The number of U.S. troops killed in action has held fairly steady each
month since the end of major combat was declared on May 1, varying
from 29 to 46.
The exception came in November when successful attacks on U.S. forces,
especially on helicopters, resulted in 81 deaths.
U.S. military officials and national security specialists said the
high number of injuries could reflect December's stepped-up
Military specialists said that explanation seemed plausible given the
lack of a corresponding rise in the number of troops killed, as
insurgents would be more deadly in ambushes prepared against U.S.
troops than if they were caught by surprise.
"There is some intuitive logic to the idea that if they're ambushing
us, they're going to be more apt to kill us," said Michael O'Hanlon of
the Brookings Institution....
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