11/15/2004

412 med evacs from Iraq since last Monday

No Embeds at Landstuhl

The number of [wounded soldier] arrivals this week stood at 227 on Thursday, for four days, but has jumped to 412 in just the two days since.

To be fair to the brave men and women serving in Iraq, shouldn't the press place a few embeds at Landstuhl? While American fatalities receive major play in press accounts, you have to look deeply to find the numbers on the wounded and maimed. You don't get airlifted to Landstuhl for a nick or scratch. A hospital spokeswoman told Stars and Stripes today that most of the damage came from burns, blasts and gunshots, with spinal and brain injuries and 'traumatic amputations' among them.

As bad as it is in Fallujah, imagine if most of the rebels had actually stood and fought? Having been warned for weeks of the coming attack, and knowing it would be tied to the results of the U.S. election, many melted away, perhaps to Mosul. Of course, if the assault had not been postponed until after the White House was re-secured, perhaps that mass flight could have been prevented (not that any newspapers I've seen are pressing this point).

Even so, the American dead and injured toll is bad enough.

As for the Iraqis in Fallujah: Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said Thursday there have been 'hardly any, if any, civilian casualties so far.' I'll leave it to you to judge how likely this seems. One thing we do know: for the Iraqi civilians still in the city and the refugee camps, a humanitarian crisis is unfolding, according to local officials. And when the smoke clears, it will be interesting to discover whether battered Fallujah will become known as the Hue of Iraq."

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