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Thursday, August 09, 2007


The really forgotten fatalities in Iraq

The media has taken note of the death of the 1000th Defense Department contractor in Iraq. As far back as November, 2003 I was writing about the need to include the deaths of contractors in the death totals from Iraq.

But surprisingly enough, contractors are not the most forgotten deaths in Iraq, and no, it's not Iraqis either. While the number of Iraqi deaths is routinely undercounted (or not counted at all) in the media, at least the subject is mentioned. No, the most forgotten group of fatalities resulting from the Iraq war are the British, Italian, and other "coalition" soldiers. I've been writing about them since my very first post on this blog, but, as I've noted before, British fatalities are even routinely forgotten by British media, who report American death tolls rather than total "coalition" fatalities.

It's interesting to see this play out in the latest report of contractors' deaths:

The contractor fatalities are in addition to the 3,672 U.S. military personnel the Defense Department as of Wednesday had confirmed dead in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003.
By now you should see what's wrong with that statement. The 1001 contractors are of multiple (and unspecified) nationality. So if you want to add them to military personnel killed, even if you intend to ignore "our" Iraqis, then the number you need to add them to is not the 3672 American fatalities but the total coalition fatalities, which is 3981. Which means that in a week or so, the "coalition" will have lost 5000 people, and really lots more once "allied" Iraqi armed forces and police are included. But in the media, in three or four months we'll be reading about how the "casualty [sic] total" has just passed 4000. And that statement will be as wrong then as it has since the first days of the war, when the undercounting and misdirection began.

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