Friday, January 25, 2008

Pentagon Forced To Reveal Human Cost Of War

By Cernig

The Pentagon has been forced to reveal the cost in wrecked lives of the War on Terror, after a FOI request by Veterans for Common Sense.
The US has suffered more than 72,000 battlefield casualties since the start of the war on terror in 2001, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

The query by the campaigning Veterans for Common Sense organisation shows that 4372 American soldiers have died and another 67,671 have been wounded in action, injured in accidents or succumbed to illness in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The veterans' group had to force the US Defence Department to release the figures by persuading judges to uphold their FoI rights.

A second request to the Veterans' Administration, the government-funded body responsible for taking care of ex-servicemen and women, showed 263,909 soldiers with experience of the two 21st-century wars have so far received treatment for everything from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the aftermath of amputated limbs.

It also showed 52,375 veterans had been diagnosed with PTSD and 34,138 have received approval for disability claims for the psychological disorder. As of October 31 last year, 1.6 million Americans have been deployed overseas since 2001.

Harvard University estimates the cost of caring for Iraq and Afghan veterans over the next 40 years will amount to between £125bn and £350bn, depending on the long-term effects of trauma.
Those are really big numbers. Over quarter of a million servicemen, women and their families negatively impacted by medical issues alone. Somewhere between $250 and $700 billion in long term medical costs. [Ed note - Libby pointed out that in my original text here I hadn't converted pounds to dollars. The exchange rate is roughly $2 to the pound.] More than 72,000 dead and physically imjured. McCain and others are saying 10 years more of this, 100 years more of this...

And as is often the case, it's the foreign media rather than US outlets who are taking notice. This report is from Scotland's Herald newspaper.

(Hat Tip - Ken)

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