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Iraq and Afghanistan War Casualties
June 11, 2010 2:52 PM   Subscribe

CNN.com's 'Home and Away' initiative honors the lives of U.S. and coalition troops who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. The extensive data visualization project tells the story of where and how the lives of these troops began and ended. The project is a sobering look at the human cost of two wars in the Middle East, and as such is restrained with a sober palette of blacks, whites and greys. [via]

Home and Away goes beyond regular news reporting, showing real data that is now becoming a platform for participation, with people using the maps to post memories and share stories about their lost loved ones. See also Afghanistan Crossroads.
posted by netbros (32 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Curiously, the website uses the term casualty, but it clearly means deaths specifically. Is the definition shifting that much in popular usage?
posted by jedicus at 3:05 PM on June 11, 2010


The project is a sobering look at the human cost of two wars in the Middle East

100,000 civilians dead just in Iraq alone, and only a fleeting reference to their existence. How many muslims equals one human being again? 3/5ths sounds a bit rich in this market.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:15 PM on June 11, 2010 [9 favorites]


Wait - we're allowed to talk about dead people in war now? I guess "change" has come!
posted by symbioid at 3:40 PM on June 11, 2010


And as the ol Mayor pointed out, by "people" I mean United States Troops, not, you know -- innocent victims of war.
posted by symbioid at 3:40 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn! I was hoping to get in before "dead Iraqis" but I see it only took 2 posts.
posted by MikeMc at 3:40 PM on June 11, 2010


How else can we keep Ghost Saddam Hussein from using his WMDs against the Homeland?
posted by prambutan at 3:49 PM on June 11, 2010


MikeMc Damn! I was hoping to get in before "dead Iraqis"

Why? Is there a prize?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:57 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why? Is there a prize?

Nah, just the hope of staying on topic.
posted by MikeMc at 4:02 PM on June 11, 2010


100,000 civilians dead just in Iraq alone is correct. The exact number of documented civilian deaths from violence in Iraq is 96,663 – 105,409. Iraq Body Count has some nice histograms too, but no personal stories. Just boring facts. They don't list military casualties.

It's a fair comment Mr. Mayor, but there is nothing wrong with CNN's site. We Americans are much more likely to relate to Olympic style "up close and personal" presentation of fellow Americans than a raw presentation of facts about foreigners.

1st Lt. Joseph J. Theinert
24 years old
Hometown: Sag Harbor, NY

Died of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using a rocket-propelled grenade and a roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on June 4, 2010


I got concert tee-shirts that are older than 24 years. And I have bad memories older than that of being 10 years old watching Dan Rather on TV reading out the daily body count in Vietnam. And it is the same shit all over again. But this time, no hippie movement. No protests. No John Lennon. No nothing. This time it's all different.

What a difference a draft makes.
posted by three blind mice at 4:02 PM on June 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


honors the lives of U.S. and coalition troops... a sobering look at the human cost

A small subset of the human cost.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:38 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


TBM... oh yeah, there are protests... they don't get the media they did in VietNam..
posted by HuronBob at 4:40 PM on June 11, 2010


I got concert tee-shirts that are older than 24 years. And I have bad memories older than that of being 10 years old watching Dan Rather on TV reading out the daily body count in Vietnam. And it is the same shit all over again. But this time, no hippie movement. No protests. No John Lennon. No nothing. This time it's all different.

Yeah our generation isn't a bunch of wussy little cry babies too chicken shit to fight a war and who turn republican at the first sign of a tax hike. We don't need a draft because we have a professional bunch of men and women who have the courage to stand and fight for things. Now if you boomers would stop wrecking the economy with wave after wave of asset bubbles, stop starting all this crap in te third world and get jobs like your parents told you then maybe we wouldn't have to go and fight all those people in central Asia and the middle east.
posted by humanfont at 4:59 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lance Cpl. James E. Brown
Age 20
Owensville, Indiana

Died 18 months out of high school.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 5:47 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only reasons there was protests against Vietnam is because some rich people with rich parents had to serve, instead of just poor folks with no alternative who we can just forget about until election time and then make empty-hearted promises about.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 5:49 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


poor folks with no alternative

So not an accurate description of the military.
posted by _cave at 6:10 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


40 Killed in Afghan Wedding Bombing;
4 US Troops killed in Helicopter Downing

posted by homunculus at 6:10 PM on June 11, 2010


If only people could make posts on the plight of refugees and the deaths of noncombatants and predation of business interests on metafilter.

But we can't (and we know troops won't talk about it).
So we'll have to piss all on this because we're all so really really really tormented about it, seriously, and it's totally not at all about just sanctimonious disparaging comments about the troops.

This stuff should be up in people's grill 24/7. And there should be more. Much more. As far as the American public is concerned, there's ZERO human cost.
Even the Memorial Day coverage is completely 1/2 assed and riddled with cliché to the point that *I* got fucking tired of hearing about how the day is not just about BBQs and we all need to take a moment to remember the guys who 'died for our freedoms' and yadda yadda yadda. Same platitudes, they could rehash the same sound bite from last year so I don't know why they bother. Damn hero worship is as pointless as the wannabes and cynics.
("You know Smedley, today isn't just for BBQing and drinking beer, it's abo," "I was THERE. I don't even drink, normally. Can I just have a beer for some guys who aren't here, without the sanctimonious crap?")

Ralph Begleiter worked at CNN. He fought tooth and nail to lift the ban on casket photos (not so much with CNN, but the National Security Archive from GWU).
Good thing he did that, 'cos we see, y'know, so many photos of that now. And say, whatever happened to that issue? Just generally, the whole taxpayers should see the cost of war thing? Meh. Anyway...

This has gone on longer than Vietnam and there's less coverage on the actual human costs than there was when there was less technology and more capability to bring the real effects into people's living rooms (there, Robert Capa), that hey, their neighbors' kid, the nice one who used to mow their lawn isn't coming home. Or he's coming home a wing shy. Or he can't think straight. (But why do my taxes have to go up to support lazy people who don't want to work?)

It's not being stuck in people's faces in the U.S. and it needs to be. At the very least because some guy on the ground overseas living through the kind of hell war is knows exactly what it's costing him, his family, his neighbors or the guys in his unit and their families. If anything he needs some relief from it.

Empathy is optional for most people. So ignorance and indifference is the enemy domestically.

Any data that helps people understand the actual costs in the policy decisions they make by proxy, relative to themselves, gets them to maybe feel a little bit of the pain and anguish of what's being inflicted, so they can maybe make a more sagacious cost-benefit analysis of what they support or by omission allow to continue - I can't say it's a bad thing.

No matter how trite or self-serving I might think CNN is. At least the presentation has got some impact.
That's a lot of hometowns. You'd figure people would notice young folks not coming home. Maybe talk to their rep about it.
But here we are. Same shit, different day, more people in harms way.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:23 PM on June 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


My little spot on the map: Oak Park, Illinois

Iraq:
Pfc. Christopher Aaron Sisson
Age: 20
Unit: 3rd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division
Died: September 2, 2003

Afghanistan:
Master Sgt. David Lee Hurt
Age: 36
Unit: Company B, 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group
Died: February 20, 2009
posted by zenon at 9:15 PM on June 11, 2010


Nah, just the hope of staying on topic.

But it is on topic - so very much on topic. Dead Iraqis share a great deal with dead US soldiers - they are disproportionately young, male, and they died because of a stupid, arrogant, evil, delusional child named George W. Bush who simply made up a war out of his head in order to seem big and important.

I'd venture to say that the Americans and Iraqis who died together in this war have more in common with each other than any of us on Mefi do with them.

RIP. And may George W. Bush eventually face the consequences of his crimes against humanity.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:32 PM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


"poor folks with no alternative"

So not an accurate description of the military.


Citation needed. I know a large number of people who were in the military - without exception they came from lower income backgrounds and were, literally, "poor folks with no alternative". Statistics seem to show that the military is disproportionately poor compared to the rest of America.

Why would anyone with any prospects join the military? You get shot at by people who are just trying to defend their homes; if you get injured or lose your marbles the military will do their very best to get out from under any financial burden; and if you die, they'll lose your remains (as the recent Arlington scandal that Salon so tirelessly revealed shows...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:37 PM on June 11, 2010


I know a large number of people who were in the military - without exception they came from lower income backgrounds and were, literally, "poor folks with no alternative". Statistics seem to show that the military is disproportionately poor compared to the rest of America.

Why would anyone with any prospects join the military? You get shot at by people who are just trying to defend their homes; if you get injured or lose your marbles the military will do their very best to get out from under any financial burden; and if you die, they'll lose your remains (as the recent Arlington scandal that Salon so tirelessly revealed shows...)


As someone who works on a military base, grew up around the military and was downrange for close to two years, I refute the tone of your post.

See where you can use the past tense 'knew', I am not hampered by that handicap.

Are there a large number of people who come from lower class backgrounds? Yes. But to say they are 'poor folks with no alternative' is reductive and dismissive.

So, no only do you then declare the military (sorry, the 'large number of people who were in the military') as poor with no options you then turn around and ask why would someone so disenfranchised ever think of joining the military as it is effectively a meat grinder (you get shot at), a crazy factory (lose your marbles), a nefarious agent of spite (will do their very best to get out from any financial burden) or some necrotic corpse fucker (lose your remains).

I'm not saying that your points have some merit' they do. The DoD has some work to be done like any large organization and people are taking steps to correct them.

But you are not adding to the conversation in any real way by making your broad offhand remarks.
posted by Dagobert at 12:16 AM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Statistically, most people in the military come from lower economic backgrounds. I stand by the original claim.

And I stand by the claim that you're both a fool and a knave to join the US military in 2010. There are hundreds of thousands of innocent people killed in the last ten years in the Iraq War, Afghanistan, and half a dozen "hotspots" all over the globe; there are millions dead in my lifetime; for the last 50 years, the US military's official actions have been, for the most part, war crimes, including Vietnam, Iraq, not to forget all the involvements in South and Central America (anyone remember exactly what Nicaragua was supposed to be doing to us that let us murder tens of thousands of them?)

And if you do join, the military will do its very very best to fuck you over.

I completely stand by my comments above. The article is a good one; it should discourage people from joining the military, just to die for nothing in e.g. Iraq (still no WMDs, 7 years later...) My comments are intended to amplify the facts noted in the article. If I make even one person thinking of doing such a terrible thing as joining the US military pause for even a moment, I have done my work.

People don't feel it's uncontributory for people discussing the Holocaust to say, "Never again" - why then is it not appropriate to discuss the moral dimensions of crimes against humanity that are continuing to the present moment? (Particular when this is, in fact, discussing an article about casualties of the American foreign wars - how much more "on topic" can you get?)

(And if you didn't work it out already, that was not an off-hand comment, but one that expressed an opinion I fervently believe in...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:31 AM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just a little mind experiment.

What if you would cut back the US military machine about 90% so that it would only be a defensive force and stop attacking other countries, then spend all of that money and energy on the US people in the form of healthcare, education and environmental issues?

Then this would truly become a great country.
posted by nucleus at 4:45 AM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


100,000 civilians dead just in Iraq alone, and only a fleeting reference to their existence. How many muslims equals one human being again? 3/5ths sounds a bit rich in this market.
posted by Mayor Curley


Yeah, like you really give a shit.
posted by Snyder at 10:28 AM on June 12, 2010


Brought to you by my buddy Shawn and the other good people at stamen design, whose work you may have also seen at MOMA and various other places.
posted by ChasFile at 8:05 PM on June 12, 2010


Yeah, like you really give a shit.

Some of us do.
posted by Gnatcho at 12:43 AM on June 13, 2010


Yeah, like you really give a shit.

Some of us do.

Agreed.
posted by dickasso at 3:49 AM on June 13, 2010


I believe both of you. I believe most people in this thread do. I just don't believe curley does, and his empty sanctimony is lame.
posted by Snyder at 9:41 AM on June 13, 2010


Yeah, I deeply offended snyder somehow, and he occasionally pops in now to tell me that I'm a phony. It's like having a screechier Holden Caulfield stalking you-- kinda cool!
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:47 AM on June 13, 2010


The Courage to Leave
posted by homunculus at 12:58 PM on June 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


As Afghan Fighting Expands, U.S. Medics Plunge In
posted by homunculus at 11:43 PM on June 13, 2010


And I stand by the claim that you're both a fool and a knave to join the US military in 2010.

At the risk of posting while both slightly tipsy and jet lagged:

I don't understand why it's foolish to join the military. If only fools and knaves join, then the only actions that you can expect out of the military are foolish and knavish ones. So the US military, no matter what it does, can never improve, and can be excused for any atrocity (because hey, it's the militay, what do you expect?), stupid things will always happen.

If you really care about how the military does business, you have two options: get engaged with politics, or get engaged with the military. Talking about whether or not there should be a war, in the context of how the military fights the war, is beside the point. The only question is what a person can do about the war that we have.

So here's another thought experiment: maybe, when you join the military, you don't have much say about what happens in the war, in general. But maybe you can control what happens around you. Maybe you can stop, object to, or try to do something about the worst of what happens around you. Worst comes to worse, you can blow the whistle to force events that would never have been noticed into the open. Maybe by having some kind of integrity, you bring integrity to the organization. So maybe intelligent people serving in the military could be a good thing.

Yeah, the military is not a fun organization. But the only way that military practices are going to change is through reform, and reform is probably only going to stick when a group of intelligent insiders put considerable effort into making it so, and the political climate makes it possible. I could point to the positive things that I saw happen while deployed until I'm blue in the face, but I'm sure that someone will point to a dozen anecdotes that seem to disprove what I'm saying. News coverage of the war seems to be concerned more about body counts than any sort of outcome, which is understandable since the outcomes in a counterinsurgency are really hard to define.

And yeah, I'm sure that people know people who know people who joined the military because they didn't have a choice. I also know people who joined because they actually wanted to serve, because they had a family history in the military, and so on. The fact that the military is one of the few organizations that will admit people without educational, social and other forms of bias says something about society, but I'm not sure that it reflects poorly on the military.
posted by _cave at 2:01 PM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


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