Thursday, September 11, 2003

Troops evacuated from Iraq for unexplained reasons

What's up with this?

Citing the US military Central Command as its source, the Washington Post reported on September 2 that “more than 6,000 service members” had been medically evacuated from Iraq since the launch of the war. At the time, the number of combat wounded stood at 1,124. A further 301 personnel had been injured in non-combat incidents such as vehicle accidents. The figure of “more than 6,000” supplied to the Post therefore implies that over 4,500 US troops have required evacuation from Iraq for medical reasons other than combat or non-combat injuries.

The Washington Post article did not include any further information on what is a staggering admission by the military. At no point in the last six months have the American people been told that for every soldier who has been killed in Iraq, at least another 15 have fallen so ill that they had to be flown back to the United States. The Post described the unexplained evacuations simply as the “thousands who became physically or mentally ill.”

The obvious questions that must be answered are: what were they diagnosed with; what units are they from; what duties were they were performing; what long-term effects have they suffered; and what treatment are they receiving?
Update: The Observer follows up with a story on "America's hidden battlefield toll."