More on war: counting the dead (or not)

Four hundred American GIs have been killed in Iraq so far. It took two years to reach this kind of death toll in Vietnam, but only seven months in this war.

So, who's dying? According to War Times, "while about 10 percent of all military personnel are Latinos, Latinos make up 17.7 percent of the frontline combat occupations... In the Army, Latinos and Latinas occupied 24.7 percent of such conscripts and in the Marine Corps, 19.7 percent. In other words, Latinos and Latinas are over-represented in combat positions that offer little if any 'civilian job transferability,' but much increased chance of death or injury."

Virtually unreported are the injuries. And it's hard to count these. The first stopping off point for injured soldiers leaving Iraq--a military medical center in Landstuhl, Germany--has treated 7,714 troops so far.

Even harder to track are the American civilian contractors killed in Iraq--a number that, according to Editor & Publisher, exceeds the military death toll.

And don't forget the Iraqi civilians. While Tommy Franks famously asserted, "We don't do body counts," many organizations do. Estimates run from 3,200 to 10,000 civilians killed--figures that are sure to skyrocket now that the moronically named "Operation Iron Hammer" is under way. When the military doesn't care to count the innocents they've killed, the context of Bush's statement--"The citizens of Iraq are coming to know what kind of people we have sent to liberate them"--becomes abundantly clear.

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