One of my students, a vet, back from Iraq, where he won(I think) a couple Purple Hearts (I know he won at least one) sent me this a few days ago:
You can turn the TV on and tune to any news station and read the ticker at the bottom of the page and see how many servicemembers have been killed-in-action (KIA)*.
What you will not see is how many servicemembers have been wounded-in-action (WIA)**.
The Department of Defense does not "hide" these numbers, but Sec. Rumsfeld is not anxious for Americans to know that as of Tuesday, 14,438 servicemembers have been (KIA)/(WIA).
Another 495 servicemembers have been killed NOT as a result of enemy action. Now the (WIA) numbers do not represent multiple wounds or the same person being wounded in separate occasions. For example, I was wounded in action on July 02, 2003 and again January 20, 2004. Therefore, I would only be reported once. I think when the "human toll" is reported that it should be accurate.
*Killed-in-Action is defined as death resulting directly from enemy action. It cannot be defined as killed in the line of duty. The main difference is whether or not a servicemember receives a Purple Heart. There are more benefits for the next-of-kin if a servicemember is killed-in-action.
**Wounded-in-Action is defined as a wound resulting directly from enemy action. It cannot be defined as injury in the line of duty. The main difference is whether or not a servicemember receives a Purple Heart. There are more benefits for the servicemember if he/she is wounded-in-action.
He sends along this link, for those who wish to check the data out for themselves:
I myself would just add this: not only are we not being given accurate numbers; we are deliberately being "shielded" from reminders of these soldiers.
Well, I'm not, of course -- because I work at a university and in a town soldiers get recruited from (you can read that as a poor town and a working class university): so I see them before they get called up; I see them when they get back; the fathers of the kids in my daughter's kindergarten class get sent to Iraq and I get to hear about how Nathan is having nightmares, or Ellen is lonely, now that her daddy is over "helping" the Iraqi people, and do I think Tanya's father is going to get killed? Tanya's worried about it. And is the kid's father going to have to go to Iraq soon? Huh? Is he?
But the rest of America. Lots of the rest of America, apparently, can just slap yellow plastic ribbons on their SUVs and pretend they have supported the troops and that is that. Yay team.
And this guy
can have a tantrum because Gary Trudeau* dares to list the names of the soldiers killed in Iraq on Memorial Day -- how dare he? How Dare He Mention That Soldiers Have Died? -- because, Good Lord, someone might notice -- what? that Bush's war is a fuck-up?
Well, dude. It is.
What's evil here isn't noticing that these soldiers have died.
It's refusing to notice that they are dying.
It's driving your Hummers with your stupid yellow ribbons on them while real people bleed real blood and spouting stupidity like "Freedom isn't free" and doing nothing, nothing to fix the situation.
And pretending if you just don't look at what your president is doing, it won't really count.
That's what's evil.
* Via Tbogg: http://tbogg.blogspot.com/