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Thousandth U.S. soldier dies in War on Terror.
July 7, 2004 5:52 AM   Subscribe

Over a thousand U.S. soldiers have died in the War on Terror. As of today, 872 soldiers have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and 129 in Operation Enduring Freedom. Time for a moment of silence, perhaps, before sharing your reflections on the subject.
posted by insomnia_lj (51 comments total)

 
reuters thinks 646.

shrug
posted by angry modem at 5:58 AM on July 7, 2004


For reflection, 52,000 in the Vietnam War. War is definitely shorter or cleaner these days.

I think some of the figures iCasualties gives are a bit misleading though.. sure, some of the people died 'in' the operations, but not because of them. Example: Spc. Julie R. Hickey [..] died in Landstuhl, Germany, on July 4 of complications from a non-combat related illness.
posted by wackybrit at 6:05 AM on July 7, 2004


reuters thinks 646.

Reuters reports that the Pentagon says 646 servicemen have died.

I know this post smacks of pedantry, but there is a big difference between thinking and reporting.
posted by davehat at 6:09 AM on July 7, 2004


There's also no such thing as a "War On Terror," so technically, nobody has died in it.
posted by PrinceValium at 6:17 AM on July 7, 2004


646 is Killed in Action. An additional 226 have died in accidents, etc. I'm not sure if all the suicides count or not.
posted by jpoulos at 6:23 AM on July 7, 2004


Reuters thinks 646 have "died in action" as opposed to helicopter and vehicular crashes, accidents, or things like falling asleep in 130 degree temperatures and never waking up again. It's not uncommon to find the media breaking down the number of casualties based on time periods too. (i.e. ____ servicemen have died in combat since the fall of Saddam.)

Oftentimes, you can track these media quotes regarding casualties based upon the text of the military's press briefings. It appears that the military may be breaking down how they report casualties in order to give us more palatable, "bite sized" casualty reports that won't potentially effect support for the war.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:23 AM on July 7, 2004


I feel for all the families who have lost loved ones to this senseless invasion.
Death and destruction are very personal regardless of how hard TV news and military recruiting commercials try to make it seem like a video game where no one really dies and there's no mess.
You can't see or smell a corpse electronically but someone has to bury it. Looking a person in the eye and then shooting them destroys a part of a person's soul.
Dubya may deny cameras to Dover but families all over the US know the pain of loss.
posted by nofundy at 6:33 AM on July 7, 2004


"Sure, some of the people died 'in' the operations, but not because of them."

I wouldn't be so quick to dismissing accidents, illnesses, etc. as having no relation to the operations. The fact is, many of these soldiers are exposed in Iraq to harsh, unsanitary conditions where disease is rampant.

I've heard of soldiers dying and being wounded because they were run over, accidently shot in acts of fratricide, electricuted while trying to fix a generator that went out at night in a blinding sandstorm, or subject to horrible intestinal diseases from unsanitary latrines cooking in the sun all day.

In fact, as of October 30th of last year, over 9000 soldiers had been sent home for various medical reasons, not all of which were combat-related, but most of which were directly related to serving in Iraq. Given that fatalities at that point were less than half of what they are today, it's safe to assume that approximately 18,000 U.S. casualties have occurred.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:48 AM on July 7, 2004


How many cops have died on American streets and highways during the same period?
posted by mischief at 7:00 AM on July 7, 2004


One of the things I find interesting lately is reading the online journals of soldiers and contractors serving over in Iraq, as the stories can be pretty telling at times. Here's a recent one, from a Marine who will remain nameless...

"freakin' 5 planes and 9 busses and 3 days later im back in Cali(fornia) .... my base. It's very hard to see a SHIT load of people from my unit missing eyes, gun shot wounds, broken bones, missing limbs, blind, walking with canes etc.

My friend carroll is missing and arm and a leg, hizo is missing an eye, blind in the other, missing a leg, missing most of the muscle in an arm. my friend carter is missing a chunk of his foot and heel, my friends: cobb, cherry, schrage, greene, dang, and morrison are just a few to name that are now dead.

And here i am with a non-battle wound .... what a way to look like a pussy huh? but you know what? it wasn't my call to send me back here. i know that ill get my chance to go back. i know that a lot of us want some revenge. but who do we kill? most of our dead are from IED's. those are bombs that are hidden and detonated by remote or cell phones etc. who's to get for that shit? who's the enemy? it's all fucked up man."

posted by insomnia_lj at 7:09 AM on July 7, 2004


Looking a person in the eye and then shooting them destroys a part of a person's soul.

not always...often it's relief that you got him before he got you. and if you're delta, well, you don't have a soul to lose, so when you kill lots of people at point blank range, well, whatever.

remember...there really are people who think "i love the smell of napalm in the morning".
posted by taumeson at 7:18 AM on July 7, 2004


insomnia, care to share the link?
posted by Scoo at 7:24 AM on July 7, 2004


.
posted by chicobangs at 7:27 AM on July 7, 2004


How many cops have died on American streets and highways during the same period?

That wouldn't tell you much -- if you were trying to make that comparison, you'd have look at the statistics as a ratio. I couldn't find for 2003, but in 2000 55 cops were killed in the line of duty, in 1999 it was 42 and 155 in 1998.

I've got no idea what the total number of cops in america is, but there are 50,000 in New York City alone (a little more than 1/3 the number of troops we have in Iraq).

So if you were trying to make a point about it being equally dangerous to be a cop, you'd be wrong. Maybe you were just curious though, but I don't there's much of a point to the comparison.

Back more directly on topic -- I'm in agreement there is no such thing as the War on Terror. Grouping combat deaths between Bush's two wars under the name "War on Terror" only supports the specious concept of a war against a tactic (or even, as someone noted, a war on an emotion). A War on Al Qaeda would have been smart, and Afghanistan was a good first front in that war. Iraq was either a self-interested projection of American power into the middle east, or an act of genuine liberation of an oppressed people -- but in either case, it had zero to do with helping to stop Al Qaeda or reduce terrorism against the U.S.
posted by malphigian at 7:30 AM on July 7, 2004


"How many cops have died on American streets and highways during the same period?"

Over the last 10 years, an average of 163 law officers have died in the performance of duty annually. Then again, their deaths are spread out across over 750,000 police officers serving nationwide.

So, what would you guess the risk of death is for a soldier would be then in comparison to a police officer? Say, five times as many deaths spread across a fifth as many people? Gee... I guess that would mean a soldier serving just one year (many serve more than that...) would incur about as much risk as a police officer during his whole career.

BTW, Mischief... great way to spit on our the risks our soldiers are taking every day.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:32 AM on July 7, 2004


Time for a moment of silence, perhaps,

Great idea.

Perhaps we could lower all the flags to half staff for a month also? I mean, isn't this a bit more appropriate than doing it for Saint Raygun?
posted by nofundy at 7:42 AM on July 7, 2004


Bring The Boys Home.
posted by jonmc at 7:48 AM on July 7, 2004


Perhaps we could lower all the flags to half staff for a month also? I mean, isn't this a bit more appropriate than doing it for Saint Raygun?

Yes, but you forget that Reagan was allowed to have his coffin shown on television. It's almost as if people wanted us to know someone died.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:53 AM on July 7, 2004


what everyone else has said...and how many more needless deaths will there be because of Bush's lies? How long will our soldiers be in Iraq?
posted by amberglow at 8:02 AM on July 7, 2004


For reflection, 52,000 in the Vietnam War. War is definitely shorter or cleaner these days.

Maybe so, but don't forget that many of the wounded/injured soldiers who died in Vietnam could have survived similar injuries in today's war. More important than counting deaths, we should be counting casualties, which has until recently meant injuries and/or deaths.

On preview: insomnia may have touched on this.
posted by crazy finger at 8:07 AM on July 7, 2004


what everyone else has said...and how many more needless deaths will there be because of Bush's lies? How long will our soldiers be in Iraq?

That's easy. No one died because of Bush's "lies" because Bush didn't lie....and we will be there until the job is done.
posted by Durwood at 8:12 AM on July 7, 2004


In 1863, at the Battle of Gettysburg, over 51,000 Americans died, in the bloodiest battle of that war. In all, about 562,000 Americans died in the US Civil War.

One year later, at the Third Battle of Nanking, in 1864, in three days, the dead exceeded one hundred thousand. It was said that over a five square mile area, a person could not step upon earth for the bodies, most of whom were killed with swords, spears, and a some crude artillery pieces.
In all, between 20 and 30 million people died in the Chinese Taipeng Rebellion. The great Chinese Civil War. The second bloodiest war in human history.

How many of you have studied the Taipeng Rebellion? The US Civil War?

Why do they only teach the latter in the US? Is it because American lives are more important?
posted by kablam at 8:12 AM on July 7, 2004


No one died because of Bush's "lies" because Bush didn't lie....and we will be there until the job is done.

Chocolate rations are up!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:28 AM on July 7, 2004


"insomnia, care to share the link?"

Sorry. Can't do that, as the soldier in question is still serving and could potentially get in trouble if too much attention was drawn to his site.

There are about 50 soldiers and contractors on LiveJournal who are in Iraq. Many can be found by doing directory searches, or in some cases, Google searches. Similarly, there are many others on Blogger or other services. I hesitate to link to soldier's journals on LJ, however, without specifically asking them first. Frankly, a lot of the soldiers started their journals to keep in touch with families and loved ones, not everyone who reads MeFi.

There is one soldier's journal on LJ I can certainly mention, however. adeptus13, the journal of Adam Estep. He was the first LiveJournal user to be killed in Iraq, and his final post has become a memorial of sorts.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:32 AM on July 7, 2004


Looks like our Defenders Of All Things Dubya friends don't really believe in "supporting our troops."

As a matter of fact, it appears they care more for Dear Leader's agenda than they do for the very lives of our troops.

After all, it ain't the 101st Fighting Keyboarders or their kids getting killed or having to kill others, so f*ck the troops I suppose?
posted by nofundy at 8:33 AM on July 7, 2004


Metafilter: there is a big difference between thinking and reporting
posted by vbfg at 8:37 AM on July 7, 2004


Touché, Kablam! But of course American lives are more important. Have you seen any mention of dead Iraqis in this thread?
posted by acrobat at 8:38 AM on July 7, 2004


kablam,

presumably you (and others) citing deadlier days and wars are saying we should shut up about it until the number of US/Coalition/Iraqi casualties reaches . . . what, exactly? At what point are we talking about real war, as far as you're concerned?
posted by hackly_fracture at 8:41 AM on July 7, 2004


BTW, Mischief... great way to spit on our the risks our soldiers are taking every day.

Not sure if asking for a sense of perspective counts as "spit[ting]." Not that that's a loaded term to use regarding US soldiers in unpopular wars or anything.
posted by yerfatma at 8:42 AM on July 7, 2004


Dead Iraqis
posted by hackly_fracture at 8:45 AM on July 7, 2004


....and we will be there until the job is done.

What was the job again? Just checking if you remember cause I don't think Bush wants you too incase you work out ALL HE HAS DONE IS LIE !!!!!

open your blinkers just a fraction for fucks sake
posted by twistedonion at 8:47 AM on July 7, 2004


How long will our soldiers be in Iraq?

It is going to be a long time. There can be no question of that. After all, the Korean Conflict was stabilized in 1953, and we still have guys there.
We have maintained a presence in the UK since WWII, Germany too., as well as Italy.

The US will have troops in Iraq for a long, loooooooooonnnnnnnnng time.

I dare say we still have some guys in the Kosovo region don't we? Hell, I served in that region almost 10 years ago, and we still have guys there.
posted by a3matrix at 8:56 AM on July 7, 2004


Why do they only teach the latter in the US? Is it because American lives are more important?

I'd think it would have more to do with the fact that the U.S. civil war actually occured in, you know, the U.S., and people tend to think that kids should understand the history of the country they live in.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:58 AM on July 7, 2004


"How long will our soldiers be in Iraq?"

Gen. Myers did an interview just a few days ago, where he said that the U.S. might need to keep 145,000 troops in Iraq for five years.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:12 AM on July 7, 2004


So exactly what mission was accomplished May 1?
posted by SisterHavana at 10:19 AM on July 7, 2004


A comparison to the US bases in Germany is a good one. In fact, now the US is planning to strongly draw down its bases there, because there is little or no reason to have them there. But that does not mean that troops stationed in Germany will return to the US.
The new strategic paradigm is the middle east, northern Africa, Central and Southern Asia. The spears no longer point at the Soviet Union, they point at Iran, Syria, North Korea and China.
Countries that before were pawns in the east-west game are again pawns in the civilization-vandalism game.

Once again, the US is less a policeman, then defending the interests of powerless nations against paradoxically chaotic regimes, like the Taliban or al Qaeda--who seek total authority, yet shun the responsibility of government. The dictatorship of whim, the rejection of order. The rule of the gun.

With the removal of a tyrant, Saddam, who offered to use WMDs, an intolerable thing, the US is situated, with large bases in Iraq, to prevent Iran and Syria from making similar threats. Likewise, to protect our foolish allies, we are establishing bases in southeastern Europe, to defend Paris and Berlin from missile attack. This continues our determination to not let the world be threatened by madmen.

Our Pacific commitment, growing ever larger, is not so much aimed at displacing China from its deserved position, but to insisting on its civility as payment for the honor. Civility the civilized world shows, but that elements of anarchy and chaos fear worse than death itself.

So our focus is on annihilating the vandals of the world. A slow and violent chore, so far killing perhaps 30,000 of the worst of them, imprisoning another 50,000 in every corner of the world. A world much improved by their absence.
posted by kablam at 10:56 AM on July 7, 2004


How long will there will cowards logged into Metafilter?
posted by ParisParamus at 11:00 AM on July 7, 2004


The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.
posted by chicobangs at 11:12 AM on July 7, 2004


This is worth a FPP in itself, but...

A documentary in Germany (Streaming video is here.) reports that the U.S. have imprisoned over 100 children in Iraq -- some as young as 12 years old -- and that some of the children have been beaten and tortured.

These aren't just German allegations, however... an American soldier, Samuel Provance, was the main source and vividly described the abuse.

This isn't the first time we've heard about Samuel Provance, either. He was the sysadmin guy for Abu Ghraib, and was singled out in the Taguba report for his courageous assistance in the investigation.

Here is a partial transcript of the German broadcast:

"Soldiers looking for terrorists storm an apartment. Children are sometimes arrested during these raids. What the Army does with them, it will not say. We investigate. Meet with sources.

One that knows something about this is Sergeant Samuel Provance, from the US Military. He spent half a year stationed at Abu Ghraib. Today, 5 months later, we meet him in Heidelberg. His superiors have strictly forbidden him to speak to journalists about what he experienced in Abu Ghraib. But Provance wants to talk about it nevertheless. His conscience troubles him. He discusses a 16-year old he handled:

"He was very afraid, very alone. He had the thinnest arms I had ever seen.
His whole body trembled. His wrists were so thin we couldn't put handcuffs on him. As I saw him for the first time and led him to the interrogation, I felt sorry. The interrogation specialists threw water over him and put him into a car, drove him around through the extremely cold night. Afterwards, they covered him with mud and showed him to his imprisoned father, on whom they'd tried other interrogation methods.

They hadn't been able to get him to speak, though. The interrogation specialists told me that after the father saw his son in this condition, his heart was broken, he started crying, and he promised to tell them anything they wanted."
--Samuel Provance

After this however the son remained in detention, and the 16-year old was put in with the adults. But Provance discusses a special children's section at Abu Ghraib -- a secret detention facility.

One that has seen the children's section with his own eyes is the Iraqi journalist Suhaib Badr-Addin Al-Baz. Our correspondent met with him in Baghdad. He explains how he was picked up while reporting and jailed 74 days in Abu Ghraib:

"There I saw a camp for kids, young, certainly not yet of puberty age. There must have been hundreds of kids. Some were released, others are certainly still there." --Suhaib Badr-Addin Al-Baz

From his cell in the adult's section he hears a girl of maybe 12 years of age crying. Later he found out that her brother was held in a cell on the second floor of the prison. Once or twice he says, he saw the girl himself. [...] "She called out her brother's name. She was beaten, she cried out "they took off my clothes, they poured water on me."" --Suhaib Badr-Addin Al-Baz

He heard her cries every day. [...]

These accounts from witnesses are difficult to corroborate. We look for additional proof of the detention of children. We find it at UNICEF, which has written this explosive report, published a few days ago [June 2004, -S,N!]:

"Children picked up in Basra and Kerbala were routinely transferred to a prison in Um Qasr." --UNICEF

The prison in Um Qasr. These images were shot in 2003. Today, it is too dangerous for reporters to drive to Um Qasr. This facility, a detention center for terrorists and criminals, would have also held children.

"This classification of children as 'prisoners' is alarming given that they are held for an undetermined period of time, without contact with their family or expectation of a trial." --UNICEF

UNICEF will not make any comments about this yet to be released report. [...] We look for additional information and contact the International Committee of the Red Cross. After several discussions, additional confirmation, including numbers:

"Over the course of 19 visits in 6 different detention facilities from January to May of this year, we counted 107 children. These facilities were under the control of coalition troops." --Florian Westphal, ICRC.

The ICRC found minors in both Qasr and Abu Ghraib. Two international organizations confirm, independently, that coalition troops have jailed Iraqi children. But information directly from the prisons remains unavailable. UNICEF was not able to visit the children's prison in Baghdad:

"UNICEF asked to visit this facility in July 2003, but access was denied." --UNICEF

No independent observers have been in this facility since December, according to UNICEF. [...]

During a visit for the press at Abu Ghraib, no children were seen. We stand by our report: Four sources confirm independently the detention of children in Iraq. Two witnesses allege abuse. [...]

--Report by Thomas Reutter."

In one case, a girl around age 15 was said to have been shoved up against a wall by a group of male soldiers who proceeded to manhandle her. They then started ripping off her clothes, and she was half-naked before military police broke in. More details here...

This, I guess, is a small taste about what they didn't want to tell us about Abu Ghraib. As Seymour Hersch said regarding the Abu Ghraib videos at a speech at the University of Chicago:
"You haven't begun to see evil... horrible things done to children of women prisoners, as the cameras run..."

That said, it's not just Abu Ghraib and a few bad apples, but apparently there's a "children's wing" of a prison in Um Qasr too... standard policy?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:31 AM on July 7, 2004


Is it because American lives are more important?

Of course American lives are more important to Americans than Chinese lives. Is there even a question about this? The more we identify with the victims or events, then obviously the more important those lives are to us. The closer people are to us, be it geographically, geneologically, religiously, politically, aesthetically, or what have you, the more important they are to us psychologically. That's 100-level stuff, and as close to fact as you can get in psychology. It's just propinquity at work, and 4 years of college ain't gonna undo 10,000 years of evolution.

Of course that's all broad generalizations, obviously if you major in east asian history you might consider the Chinese dead more important, but you would be in the minority of Americans who think so. For more on this you could either read Richard Dawkins, or check your local paper for the obituaries from two states over.
posted by ChasFile at 11:38 AM on July 7, 2004


If Bush didn't lie, then show me a material breach of the UN Security Council Resolution. I'd prefer it if were not a rocket that can go 90 KM instead of only 70 KM, but hey, whatever you've got.
posted by zpousman at 11:56 AM on July 7, 2004


I think counting dead soldiers is a red herring. If we'd lost this many troops in the first year after being attacked by japan I think we'd be thankful the number was so low. If we lost this many troops while hunting active Al Qaeda units in Afghanistan I think most of us would say it was worth the price. If we'd lost this many troops in Bosnia while policing democracy there I think we'd all have insisted Clinton be roasted alive.

We walk a fine line when we discuss whether a certain number of deaths is "worth the price". It's disrespectful for one thing. I think the vast majority of soldiers in Iraq will tell you they're proud to serve their country, even if they don't agree with the cause they might die for.

Personally I think this number should have been much lower. With more troops, a broad support, and more intelligent (i.e. State Department rather than Pentagon) rebuilding plans, I think we could have cut this number by 90%. But no. Bush needed to spit on the UN. And Rumsfeld needed to prove how efficient he was. And Cheney/Wolfowitz had to prove they were right and everyone else was wrong. So a lot of people died to pay for that arrogance.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:59 AM on July 7, 2004


Bush/Cheney 04: a lot of people died to pay for that arrogance.

And that children stuff should be a fpp--completely disgusting. Are we animals now? Or is it that we're still better than Saddam?
posted by amberglow at 12:15 PM on July 7, 2004


Support our troops: Pray for peace.
posted by ilsa at 1:26 PM on July 7, 2004


Metafilter: "Counting the dead"

so, who gets to play the Officer for the Dead
I have an idea on who should
certainly, not I would.
who should officer for the Dead.


Personally I think this number should have been much lower. With more troops, a broad support, and more intelligent (i.e. State Department rather than Pentagon) rebuilding plans, I think we could have cut this number by 90%. But no. Bush needed to spit on the UN. And Rumsfeld needed to prove how efficient he was.


here is a plan for the dead
look at the tally being read
look for collations to disappear
and hem and haul and have war
in an election year

FDR, the man not be

BUTTTTT he's the only choice for me
(chorus) "FOR ME" {repeat}

We, play all the cards and Saddam says no,
Islam is betrayed and things fall apart
a chance for a good assassination
{assassiNAAA-AAH-tionnnnn}
will make ole Saddam go away
away, far away.
broad support and commitment on cash
the U OF THE N is not
a
frontline figh
htingGGGG FORCE.

they get slowed down everytime
everytime

posted by clavdivs at 1:31 PM on July 7, 2004


100 children imprisoned? Depending on the circumstances, that might be preferable to not being in prison for them. And, like, we should really take moral assessments made by those UN, EU-loving Germans to mean that much. FUCK'M
posted by ParisParamus at 1:44 PM on July 7, 2004


100 children imprisoned? Depending on the circumstances, that might be preferable to not being in prison for them.

Please clarify that statement. I think I know where you are going with it, and I wish I could just slap you digitally now, but please, clarify it so I can see the extent of your ignorance.

And, like, we should really take moral assessments made by those UN, EU-loving Germans to mean that much. FUCK'M

must....not....feed.....troll.....
posted by lazaruslong at 2:36 PM on July 7, 2004


lazaruslong: the extent of the guy's ignorance has been amply demonstrated; just browse through his posting history. No need to play with him any further.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:43 PM on July 7, 2004


.
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:47 PM on July 7, 2004


Paris, so old, so bitter.
posted by johnnyboy at 2:12 AM on July 8, 2004


About a year ago I was in a diner and got in an argument with a Vietnam vet about how public opinion would change if there were an incident analogous to My Lai in Iraq. (He scoffed at me for not knowing what I was talking about because, after all, he's a combat veteran and I'm not.) I now think I was both right and wrong in my conjecture: Something as bad, if not worse, as My Lai is going on, but I don't see a groundswell of public revulsion other than in isolated instances like MF.

I think W's gonna win in November and keep this thing going just because as long as the American people can drive their SUVs, watch TV and eat pizza, stuff like Abu Gharaib is just one more bit of sensationalistic news that gets its fifteen minutes of fame (or infamy, really). The only Americans to whom this seems to matter are a few of the more aware sorts who are following it (like, around here, say) and the friends and relatives of American servicepeople deployed in Iraq.
posted by alumshubby at 5:46 AM on July 12, 2004


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