Invisible Victims of the Iraq War

 

U.S. Statistics

 

Iraq

 

Vietnam

 

Duration of War

 

4.1 years and counting

 

7.6 years

 

Troop Strength

 

1.4 million

 

3.4 million

 

Soldiers Killed

 

3,400

 

58,156

 

Soldiers Seriously Wounded

 

25,242

 

153,329

 

Soldiers Severely Disabled

 

5,000

 

75,000

 

Injuries to Deaths

 

7.5 to 1

 

2.6 to 1

Was the Vietnam conflict worse than Iraq?  Yeah.  It was an order of magnitude more contentious and deadly.  Combat injuries and fatalities were definitely much greater during the Vietnam conflict than during the Iraq conflict to date; we’ve suffered few fatalities in comparison to Vietnam.  Student riots and other domestic battles took place regularly.  We lost a generation back in the late 60’s.

As a result of the ensuing distaste for Vietnam, U.S troop strength and the domestic military support structures like bases, training grounds, VA hospitals and even American Legions, shrank.

Fewer troops are dying than ever before in battle.  It’s the ratio of injuries to deaths that worries me, and what it means to the injured soldiers.

It means that the reduced military support structure has to cope with the wounded who are coming back with injuries so grave that a generation ago, they would have counted toward the fatality list rather than the wounded list.  It means allocating tremendous resources to those severely disabled veterans who have lost arms, legs or parts of their brains because their body armor protected their torso but little else.  Worse, the Pentagon has ordered these wounded returned to the U.S. literally in the dark.  No photos, no press coverage, at night.  Like the soldiers returning in caskets, the current Administration and Pentagon policy appears to hide the ugliness from the public.

These soldiers are already almost invisible.  They will be completely out of sight in another four or five years.  Many are horrifically disfigured while others are horrifically brain damaged.  We fail to talk about them and rarely report on them.  They are the ugliest reminders of what war does; they are the unglamorous reminders of what war really is. 

And for every U.S. soldier that comes back like that, there are probably 20 Iraqi citizens who have suffered the same fate.

Every politician, and every member of the Pentagon, needs to visit these guys.  The public needs to see them, too.  But virtually no politician will, and neither will the public.  They will simply disappear.

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One Response to Invisible Victims of the Iraq War

  1. We can another 25% to the numbers of dead and seriously wounded when you add the civilian contractors. The taxpayer is paying for them too and the government is making it as hard or harder for them to disability ratings. They must prove they have PTSD before they can get treatment covered.( http://www.dbacomp.com)
    They will disappear as well but the homelessness, mental illness, ruined lives will be simmering just under the surface.

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