January 1, 2012
“How Many US Casualties and Wounded in Iraq? Guess again!”
The Pentagon reports 4,487 American soldiers killed and 32,226 wounded in Iraq since the onset of the American initiated war in 2003. The piece below by Dan Froomkin, however, notes that this ‘official’ government figure of wounded includes only those “wounded in action” and is therefore a vast under-estimate of the true numbers of Americans injured.
Whereas the number of dead as reported is mostly accurate, Froomkin writes that in truth close to 500,000 of the 1.5 million American soldiers sent to Iraq have suffered injuries. When we add to the American dead and wounded the number of Iraqi dead and wounded the catastrophe of that war becomes at once clear and unfathomable.
Given the massive disinformation campaign perpetrated by the Bush-Cheney Administration on the American people in the run-up to the Iraq war after 9/11 it seems to me that those responsible for lying and deceiving Congress should be investigated for war crimes in the interest of justice, truth and moral responsibility.
Froomkin reports that injuries to American soldiers include but are not limited to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, traumatic brain injury, fibromyalgia (chronic fatigue syndrome), breathing disorders, substantial hearing loss from acute acoustic blasts, hepatitis A, B and C, leishmaniasis (also known as the “Baghdad boil”), malaria, memory loss, migraines, sleep disorders, and tuberculosis. Deployed soldiers also were exposed to many hazardous health conditions including open-air burn pits, infectious diseases, depleted uranium, toxic shrapnel, cold and heat exposure, and chemical agent resistant paint. Many wounds suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan will persist over our veterans’ lifetimes, and some consequences of military service may not be felt until decades later.
If America has learned anything at all from this immoral adventure (as if we should not have known it already) it must be that war is far too destructive, too deadly and too tragic to too many people on both sides to enter except in the most extreme circumstance of national self-defense, which Iraq was clearly not.
FOCUS: How Many US Casualties in Iraq? Guess Again.
Dan Froomkin is the Senior Washington Correspondent for the Huffington Post. He previously wrote a column for the online version of The Washington Post called White House Watch.