Thursday, May 21, 2009

... and counting ...

(Occasional sobering thoughts.) As Memorial Day weekend nears, there is much to remember.
There are the deaths of more than 5,700 service members, from many coalition countries, who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2002, as detailed below.
There are the Iraqi children, women, and men who have died in the conflict since 2003 -- by tally of the Associated Press as well as Iraq Body Count's higher-end estimates, civilian casualties in Iraq now exceed 100,000.
There are the unrecorded numbers of civilians dead in Afghanistan.
By admission of U.S. military officials, civilian casualty rates in Afghanistan are unacceptable: this week Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Admiral Michael G. Mullen (below right) referred to "the aerial bombing this month of a village in western Afghanistan that killed an undetermined number of civilians," and said:
'We cannot succeed in Afghanistan, or anywhere else -- but let's talk specifically about Afghanistan -- by killing Afghan civilians. We can't keep going through incidents like this and expect the strategy to work.'

With those words in mind, here is the casualty count in the 5 weeks since our last post:
Iraq Body Count reports that between 91,930 and 100,365 Iraqi women, children, and men have died in the conflict in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, representing an increase of between 527 and 571deaths in the last 5 weeks. According to the U.S. Defense Department, 4,296 American servicemembers have been killed in Iraq. Total coalition fatalities: 4,614 persons. That's 23 servicemember deaths in the last 5 weeks. As was the case in our last post, all servicemember casualties in this period were Americans.
As for the conflict in Afghanistan, military casualties in Afghanistan stand at 686 Americans and 465 other coalition servicemembers. That's an increase of 6 and 12, respectively, in the last 5 weeks, and a total servicemember casualty count of 1,151.

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