Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Almost Too Much to Grasp

One Man's Civic Duty
Michael White of Stone Mountain, Ga., says he keeps his website that lists military fatalities free of politics, largely because he has learned how much the families of troops rely on his figures. His site is frequently cited by the media for up-to-date and accurate body counts in Iraq. Military families rely on it because it is more current, accurate, and user-friendly than the Pentagon's.
I go to his site, Iraq Coalition Casualty Count every morning first, because it's at the top of the "Readme 1st" folder in my bookmarks menu. After consulting his site, I update The Vigil with the latest measure of cost in blood of Bush's un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI).

This morning, for example, I learn from White's site that we have sustained six service personnel KIA's (killed in action) in Iraq over the past 24 hours. Those deaths are attributed to hostile action, not traffic accidents. And these are not conflated with casualties in Afghanistan, as are the Pentagon's.

I also note from the White's ICCC that, as of 7-Nov-06 our severely wounded in Iraq since the UULUIUOI's beginning totals 9,820. That's not our total wounded, which would be about double. 9,820 is just the number of wounds which were so severe that our marine, soldier, sailor or airman could not be returned to duty. We readers are left to interpolate within that figure another unspoken, unwritten, unprinted, and unknown statistic as to how many of these walking and unwalking wounded have sustained life altering injuries such as amputations, spinal cord damage and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And, of course, we will only realize decades from now - if we ever know - the full multiplying toll and effect of these unkept statistics on the families of our 'returned' service personnel.

There are many other features offered on the ICCC. You can find an incomplete count of all the private contractors, broken down by nationalities, killed by hostile action; that would be 370, if you're interested. I am, because these, too, should be counted as a cost of the UULUIUOI.

Another stat, which we shouldn't ignore are the number of journalists KIA. They elected to put themselves in harm's way, but they did it in order to tell the story of this invasion and occupation so that the rest of us would be better informed, should we so choose. Many of these were Iraqis stringers, because Western reporters, choosing discretion over valor (understandably), report from the Green Zone - the only secure ground in Iraq. The ICC also compiles each day, 'ground-zero' reportage of unvarnished events going on in Iraq. It's a harsh read - too much for me, I have to acknowledge.

There's much, much more to Mike White's site: more than I ever wanted to know about the UULUIUOI in terms of charts, maps, and names, names, and more names. I wouldn't have looked this deeply into his abyss had not the Los Angeles Times featured it on its front page this morning.

I commend the Times for thus recognizing Michael White's service to his country, and recommend his ICCC site to all my readers.


  1. We need to cut our future loss`s now before this thing could spiral out of control even worse than it is now.
    With our troops between Iran and Israel , and nothing but a dead end of violence and murder created by us in Iraq , it makes sense to leave and leave pronto.
    Then stay out of future conflicts.
    We are there for political reasons that are all about globalization. Globablization works against North America.

  2. You're absolutely right -- it IS too much to grasp. The number of dead is calamitous and appalling enough; but to add to the horror, the injured peoples' lives are changed irrevocably. Amputations, lost eyesight, paralysis - the list goes on and on.

    I recently read the tragic tale of a female medic who finally returned to the states, only to commit suicide not longer after. The scars inflicted - both physically and emotionally - will linger a long, long time (if not forever). That's something that chickenhawks like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld just don't get.

  3. I am hopeful that the Democrats will be able to exert pressure on the White House to at least get Chuckles the Bush to think about some sort of compromise. At one time I was opposed to immediate withdrawal, but that is no longer the case. The longer we are there the more harm we do. We need to leave them to their own devices and bring out troops home.

  4. Don't forget our people in Afghanistan.

  5. Vigilante, A superb post. I'm embarrassed to tell you I had never seen Michaels' blog until I read your post moments ago.

    I've suggested to my readers that they read Michael's blog AND that they come over and read your essay and the comments that followed. The Cost of War

    the Wizard.....

  6. Watch-n-Wait makes a valid point. The ICCC also monitors our casualties in Afganistan.

  7. That's impressive. Thanks!

  8. Thats great putting a link straight through

  9. Excellent link and great inputs Vigilante.

  10. rjhjr ...

    Two years ago, a friend of mine who (female, colonel in the medical corps US Marines) after spending a mere 4 months in Iraq, promptly asked to return home for medical reasons; a couple of months after returning to home base, she applied for early retirement.

    She was clearly "traumatized" by Iraq. She's been deppressed since.

  11. Back again, Contretemps? Days late and dollars short? It would appear to me that many of your confusions could have been addressed in later posts. Try to keep more up to date, will you?

  12. Dear Recidivist,

    I am so sorry to keep "falling back" on things so time-worn and thread-bare. But I must be dreadfully obtuse. I do not know of any posts that have dismissed the fact that the apparent conflict in Iraq is now 15 years old. Nay, check that. I have seen far too many assertions all over the Internet and throughout the media that the invasion of Iraq is some sort of surprise, something even unique to the last three years: too few seem to care to address the long-standing difficulty that Iraq posed throughout the Clinton presidency. While invasion may be unique, Iraq, and the perennial conflict, is not. And there is hardly a more time-worn and thread-bare idea that somehow Hussein was contained (and that containment was enough). Since when did containing a poison satisfy anyone? Remember the old anti-nuke scoff: containment was an illusion. Well, apparently, Hussein was contained well enough for Osama bin Laden to be sufficiently inspired by his plight: OBL's fascination with our abuse of Iraq -- under Clinton -- brought the world that hornet's nest widely known as September 11.

    But I am naught but a man whose head is clotted with inanities. That is why I bring them here: I am seeking help. Thanks for the assistance.

    Peace, always,


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