How do you define "casualty of war"?
If you define the term as meaning the dead and injured directly attributable to combat, then the figure for the Iraq invasion and occupation stands at 3,800 servicemen dead and over 29,000 injured. The rough equivalent of two army divisions.
But if you want to define "casualty fo war" as meaning someone who, because of what they have seen and done and had happen to them, is no longer capable of carrying on their life at anything even remotely approaching normality, then the toll of U.S. servicemen and women is very much higher. Over 185,000 are now claiming disability or other aid because of injuries or trauma suffered as a result of America's presence in Iraq.
More than in past wars, many wounded troops are coming home alive from the Middle East. That's a triumph for military medicine. But they often return hobbled by prolonged physical and mental injuries from homemade bombs and the unremitting anxiety of fighting a hidden enemy along blurred battle lines. Treatment, recovery and retraining often can't be assured quickly or cheaply.The plight of very single one of those 185,000 - roughly equivalent to ten army divisions who will never fight again - also touches and harms the lives of their loved ones. The true cost of the Iraq misadventure is far higher than the Bush administration or any of the frontrunner presidential candidates wish to admit. If the American public realised it had already lost ten divisions of trained soldiers to Bush's quagmire there would be no doubt about what the policy should be - withdrawal, beginning now.
These troops are just starting to seek help in large numbers, more than 185,000 so far. But the cost of their benefits is already testing resources set aside by government and threatening the future of these wounded veterans for decades to come, say economists and veterans' groups.
“The wounded and their families no longer trust that the government will take care of them the way they thought they'd be taken care of,” says veterans advocate Mary Ellen Salzano.
...Of 1.4 million U.S. forces deployed for Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 185,000 have sought care from the VA – a number that could easily top 700,000 eventually, predicts one academic analysis. The VA has already treated more than 52,000 for PTSD symptoms alone, a presidential commission finds.