Tuesday, September 07, 2004

American Deaths in Iraq Reach 1,000

But Who's Counting...?

Although this Blog is about workplace safety (as in OSHA, etc.), I occasionally like to discuss another group of people losing their lives every day just doing their jobs -- American soldiers in Iraq -- who are (in John Kerry's words) fighting the wrong war, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Today the death toll went above 1,000.

Don Rumsfeld says no big deal:
[Rumsfeld] tried to put that in context. "Combined with U.S. losses in other theaters in the global war on terror, we have lost well more than 1,000 already," he said, adding that the "civilized world" passed that mark long ago, pointing to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and attacks elsewhere.

The Bush administration has long linked the Iraq conflict to the war on terrorism. The Sept. 11 commission concluded that Iraq and al-Qaida did not have a "collaborative relationship" before the 2001 attacks, and some have questioned to what extent foreign terror groups are involved in the anti-U.S. insurgency in Iraq.
And, as with "traditional" workplace accidents here in the "civilized world," injuries get much less attention, even thought they often have serious life-altering consequences. Thing aren't going so well in that arena either:
About 1,100 U.S. soldiers and Marines were wounded in Iraq during August, by far the highest combat injury toll for any month since the war began and an indication of the intensity of battles flaring in urban areas.
Of course, that may be "good news" in a way. Because of improved military medical care, wounded soldiers that would have died in previous wars are now being saved.

Anyway, never fear, otherwise things continue to go swimmingly in Iraq. Light at the end of the tunnel and all that, as the NY Times points out:
As American deaths in Iraq operations reached the 1,000 mark, top Pentagon officials said Tuesday that insurgents controlled important parts of central Iraq and that it was unclear when American and Iraqi forces would be able to secure those areas.

[Some American commanders painted an upbeat assessment.] But other American officials are more pessimistic about the prospects for regaining control of these areas. One noted, for example, that attacks on American forces rose to 2,700 in August, from 700 in March.
And in case you think things are getting better in Iraq as other stories crowd Iraq news off the front page, 42 Americans were killed in June when we granted "sovereignty" to Iraq. 54 were killed in July and 66 in August. 23 Americans have been killed in the first seven days of September.