Sunday, December 31, 2006

Anthony Cordesman on counting US casualties

Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has been following the numbers in the Iraq War carefully.  Mark Silva quotes him at his blog The Swamp in Bush: 'Further sacrifices lie ahead' 12/30/06:

"December is already one of the worst months in terms of U.S. killed," Cordesman writes of the approaching milestone of 3,000 dead. “It is important to understand, however, that an even number in thousands does not say anything about the fighting. In fact, a far more serious even number occurred on Dec. 11. Total U.S. killed and wounded reached 25,000 - some three years and nine months after the start of the war.

"This is a key point to remember in both reporting on total casualties and on the patterns in December," he writes. "The continuing media focus on killed, versus total killed and wounded, means that reporting on the intensity and cost of combat is fundamentally wrong. This is particularly true in an era where military medicine and improved force protection had sharply reduced the number of killed relative to the number of wounded.

"Looking at the data as of December 27th, a total of 6,670 US military personnel from all four services had been wounded seriously enough to require air transport, and another 15,387 had been wounded but did not require air transport," he notes. "(This latter figure can be a misleading indication of the seriousness of wounds since seriously wounded cannot always be moved by air.) The total wounded reached 22,057 - seven times the number killed."

Tags: ,

No comments: