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Tuesday, June 19, 2007


The war that keeps on killing

The title could apply to all too many things (depleted uranium, PTSD in Americans and Iraqis, lowered health care and public health standards in Iraq, and on and on), but in this case, it refers to the tragic death of Sgt. Frank Sandoval (right), his brain injured in a November, 2005 IED explosion. Sandoval had been making a good recovery, went through rehabilitation, was just about (with his wife) to buy a house, but died yesterday at the Palo Alto VA Hospital as a result of a follow-up brain operation.

As of this moment, the official Department of Defense casualty listing of those who have died in Iraq lists 3528 dead. I'll give them a couple days to catch up (although the latest listing is for yesterday, the day Sgt. Sandoval died), but I seriously doubt we'll see Frank Sandoval's name on that list, even though, as I've pointed out before, some who die outside Iraq do appear (for example, Michael Bechert who died on 6/14/07 in San Antonio, TX). Needless to say, Frank Sandoval's name belongs there as well, along with many, many other American victims of this illegal war and occupation.

By the way, something else I've said before but bears repeating, numbers like "3528" are so hard to grasp. Go to the list of American fatalities (incorrectly labeled "casualties") and just look at your screen. Even with a big screen like I'm using, and a full browser window, the list of casualties you see on the screen without scrolling doesn't even go back past the beginning of June. Every line on that screen, every one of those names, a real person with a real (now gone) life, and with real, devastated family and friends. Then, if you can bear it, think for a minute about the Iraqis, whose list (if it existed) couldn't even fit all the ones who died today on your screen.

Update: The DoD list now does include Frank Sandoval. Maybe they were going to do it anyway, or maybe they read this post and I embarrassed them into doing it. In any case, Frank is dead.

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