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(Part one of this series is here.)
The Brookings Institution's recently updated Iraq Index: Tracking Variables of Reconstruction & Security in Post-Saddam Iraq presents a wealth of unparsed information on the situation there. Among other statistics tracked they present this graph on the numbers of troops wounded in action:
If I hit the right buttons on my calculator, the total is 13,769. Note the peaks.
It's no surprise that the numbers rise significantly during the (relatively) major operations launched by coalition forces. But those who would argue that the terrorists are choosing the battles are doing so without the facts on their side.
The source of the data is the Department of Defense, the numbers are available on the world wide web:
There's a crucial distinction here not found in the Brooking's totals. Those whose wounds are minor enough to allow a return to duty within 72 hours are classified as "Returned to Duty". Since the invasion of Iraq began there have been 6651 wounded who required more than three days recovery.
As noted in part one of this series, from March 19, 2003, through May 31, 2005 there were 2,527 WIA in Iraq whose wounds were significant enough to require evacuation to stateside Army medical facilities. A total of 254 of those were amputees - defined as persons sustaining the loss of hands, feet, arms and/or legs; the total does not include those who suffered loss of fingers and/or toes.
Repeating a crucial point from part one: There is nothing to celebrate in the numbers of injured, nothing can make war less ugly than it is. But in spite of the accessibility I've never seen these numbers before in any media reports from Iraq. I have seen the larger totals, but if anyone can provide a link to a media report on this information elsewhere please do so in comments or via email.
Those are the numbers, but we've yet to address Princeton professor Uwe Reinhardt's warning to his son upon learning he was joining the Marines:
"Do what you must, but be advised that, flourishing rhetoric notwithstanding, this nation will never truly honor your service, and it will condemn you to the bottom of the economic scrap heap should you ever get seriously wounded."But we'll examine the human side of the equation in Part III.
In the meantime, if you're wondering if there's anything you can do for America's wounded heroes, listen to this interview with Soldier's Angels founder Patti Patton-Bader (yes - that's Patton as in George S.) and then visit my good friends at Soldier's Angels.
(Part III of this series, The Politics of Passion, is here.)
Yeah, I've been tracking the Brookings report for awhile now, and I've been doing my own crunching. You can see the results here over the last 3 months.
Main point: Most deaths in Iraq come from offensive operations, which were reduced in July. (Too hot?) With the beginning of August, a major combat operation has begun, so deaths have risen dramatically. Most deaths come from IEDs, not from direct attacks upon soldiers.Posted by Opinionated Bastard at August 6, 2005 12:47 AM
I think that another key set of numbers to help put this into perspective are the troops levels by month. How many Joes were in theater/in country during this period?Posted by Jack Army at August 6, 2005 03:34 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(2) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)