November 06, 2005

Funny numbers

Just a few days ago the U.S. Department of Defense corrected the published number of U.S. soldiers injured in Iraq, without comment, lowering it by 638. A similar mistake occurred in a report released by the American Forces Press Service, last Thursday, on the web site of the DoD.

In its original version, archived by Gobal Security, it was reported that bombs had killed “over half of all those killed in Iraq--more than 8,100 soldiers--according to Pentagon statistics.”

Then, just a day later, on Friday, this report was also ammended, without comment. But the applicable sentence was significantly changed. Now it says that bombs killed “more than half of all those killed in Iraq and injured more than 8,100 soldiers, according to Pentagon statistics. The change is evident in a notice of both versions in one screenshot from Google News:


So, the dashes were replaced by “and injured”--a small change with a weighty consequence. Of course, the first version of the report could really have been a simple mistake of composition. However, if the original version of the report is the truth, it would indicate that until now 16,000 U.S. soldiers had been killed in Iraq, while the official report at the time stood at 2,045.

This difference of about 14,000 dead U.S. soldiers--eight times the official report--seems hardly convincing at first glance. On the other hand, there was already credible evidence in September of 2003 that the number of soldiers killed at that time was close to 5,000.
In addition, the numbers of those killed in the Vietnam War was significantly underestimated by the military establishment.

Posted by Hannah at November 6, 2005 12:58 PM