Some Incredible Numbers
by James Glaser
June 12, 2008

In the last few months, reports about what is really happening to our troops in Iraq, and Afghanistan for that matter, have been slow coming. It is hard to figure out what is going on in Afghanistan, but we do have some hard numbers from Iraq.

So far this year we are losing more than one Soldier or Marine a day. 193 have died, with 14 being killed this month. The war started March 19th, 2003 and we have had a total of 4,094 of our troops killed there and 30,333 wounded, but that isn't the end of the story.

It is now estimated that another 620,000 of our troops have become causalities, too. Pauline Jelinek, of the Associated Press writes:

Some 300,000 U.S. troops are suffering from major depression or post traumatic stress from serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 320,000 received brain injuries, a new study estimates.
Only about half have sought treatment, said the study released Thursday by the RAND Corporation.
"There is a major health crisis facing those men and women who have served our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Terri Tanielian, the project's co-leader and a researcher at the nonprofit RAND.
"Unless they receive appropriate and effective care for these mental health conditions, there will be long-term consequences for them and for the nation," she said in an interview with The Associated Press.
The 500-page study is the first large-scale, private assessment of its kind — including a survey of 1,965 service members across the country, from all branches of the armed forces and including those still in the military as well veterans who have left the services.

I know for a fact that the Veterans Administration has now created whole wards at many of their hospitals just for returning veterans with brain injuries, and the mental health staff has seen a huge increase. On top of that there are new Vet Centers opening with outreach programs going to many rural towns all over this nation. The American public might not know what is going on with our returning vets, but the Veterans Administration sure does.

That brings us to the numbers. With 300,000 vets suffering from depression and PTSD, 320,000 having traumatic brain injuries, 4094 dead, and 30,333 wounded the total comes to 654,427 causalities.

Now you know this is never talked about in any of our media, or by the people who voted to send our troops to Iraq, but if you do the math, we have been in Iraq about 1,895 days, and if you divide that into the total number of troops killed or seriously injured, (654,427) that works out to an average of over 345 American troops being killed or seriously injured every day of this war.

Yes, I know these numbers are not totally accurate as some of the wounded are the ones with brain injuries and also some of the veterans who have PTSD. However, if you want to question the numbers, then you have to know that many of those with brain injuries would be dead in any other war, and they will need total 24 hour around-the-clock care for as long as they keep living. I know, that is harsh, but it's the truth, and those types of injuries happen in every war. It is just that in this day and age with advances in medical care, we are able to keep the number of troop death lower, but that raises the number of veterans who will live in a vegetable or close to a vegetable state for many years to come.

Years after the Vietnam wall was finished, new names had to be added because veterans who came home alive, but never returned to normal life finally died of their wounds. The same thing is going to happen to Iraqi veterans, only on a much larger scale.

So, what do you think the American people would do if they knew we were having way over 300 of our troops a day suffer a life-long injury? Well, that's the reason these incredible numbers don't ever make it to print or television media. Washington can't let the American people know what is really happening to our troops or this war would come to an end.

If this war came to an end, many rich Americans and many politicians would have to get off the gravy train, and that's not going to happen. There is no doubt in my mind that both John McCain and Barack Obama know these numbers, but neither of them will tell you about them. Like the hidden coffins coming home, the hundreds of thousands of veterans suffering from the effects of this war in Iraq can not be documented. It is against the law to photograph our military dead, and it is against the law to photograph those veterans wounded in mind or body.

Washington is doing everything it can to keep what is happening in Iraq from the American people. We never know how many troops are wounded on any given day. You might say those numbers are classified. The same goes for the numbers of returning veterans who try getting help from the VA. We do know there are thousands of veterans committing suicide every year, and the longer this war goes on, the harder it is going to be for Washington to hide these incredible numbers.

Free JavaScripts provided
by The JavaScript Source

BACK to the 2008 Politics Columns.