U.S. Wounded – The Hidden Toll of Obama’s Surge
November 26, 2010
More than seventy-one percent of all U.S. wounded (9,256) from the 9-year-old war in Afghanistan have occurred in the 22 months since President Barack Obama became Commander in Chief on January 20, 2009. Some 6,566 Americans have been wounded since Obama began his ill-advised surge in February 2009. Is this the change Americans wanted when they voted for Barack Obama?
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Cole Reece provides care to U.S. Army Sgt. Jonathan Duralde of Bravo Troop 1-71 CAV after he was injured by an IED blast June 25, 2010 near Kandahar, Afghanistan. Nearly 600 Americans have been wounded in Afghanistan every month since June 2010.
“You can’t tell, can you? About my leg?” Jonathan Duralde, 25, from Mobile, Alabama, lost the lower part of his left leg. He had enlisted in the U.S. Army right out of high school, did two tours of duty in Iraq, and was then sent to Afghanistan. “I’m just a guy doing a job,” Duralde told the press. Don’t young Americans deserve better jobs than this?
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama called for a greater focus on the war in Afghanistan and a troop “surge”. During his first month in office Obama authorized the deployment of 17,000 additional troops on February 17, 2009. By December 2009, Obama had called for 30,000 more troops to be sent to Afghanistan. More than 6,500 Americans have been severely wounded as a result of Obama’s surge in this most ill-advised and criminal of wars. Why are Americans fighting and dying in Afghanistan?
During his first month in office President Obama sent 17,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
THE REAL COST IN U.S. WOUNDED
As a frequent visitor to iCasualties.org, I noticed that tallies of U.S. wounded had not been updated since July 2010 – until recently. The website’s data is based on monthly reports from the Department of Defense. Now that the data on U.S. wounded from August through November 2010 has been added, I can see why the White House held these shocking numbers back. Nearly 600 U.S. servicemen, about 20 per day on average, have been wounded every month since May 2010. This is the painful reality of the fraudulent war in Afghanistan that the Obama administration has been hiding.
Most of the U.S. fatalities have occurred in an arc across four southwestern provinces of Afghanistan: Herat, Farah, Helmand, and Kandahar. The reason why so much blood has been spilled in these four provinces (pink and red sections) becomes quite clear if one examines the map of the proposed TAPI gas pipeline. (Source – iCasualties.org)
The TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) gas pipeline is planned to follow the road from Herat through Kandahar and on to Pakistan and India. This pipeline is designed to transport Israeli Mossad-owned gas from Turkmenistan to India and China. This is the real reason young Americans (and Europeans) are fighting and dying in Afghanistan – to build and protect a pipeline carrying Israeli-owned gas. (See “Dying in Vain – Why Afghanistan”)
In 2008, there were 793 U.S. wounded in Afghanistan. During 2009, the first year of Obama’s presidency, the number of wounded shot up to 2,144, a nearly three-fold increase. Thus far in 2010, the first full year of Obama’s surge policy in action, more than 4,481 Americans have been wounded in Afghanistan – more than twice the casualties from 2009 and about six times as many as 2008.
If we still had good photo journalism covering the war from the front lines, like LIFE magazine provided during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 70s, Americans would be more aware of the real suffering caused by the 9-year-old criminal war of aggression in Afghanistan. A population that is painfully aware of the human toll is much more likely to take effective action to end the war.
LIFE, 16 April 1965
Helicopter crew chief James C. Farley shouts to his crew while wounded pilot Lt. James E. Magel lies dying beside him, March 31, 1965. This photo by Larry Burrows is one of LIFE’s most memorable covers from the Vietnam War.
LIFE, 11 February 1966
LIFE magazine brought the painful reality of the Vietnam War home to millions of Americans every week. Henri Huet’s historic photograph was the cover photo for February 11, 1966. Why don’t we have this kind of photo journalism anymore? How has the media gone from covering the war to supporting the war?
Dickey Chapelle, war photo journalist (1919-1965)
Last rites for Dickey Chapelle
(Photo – Henri Huet)
It was 1965,
Over Chu Lai in a free fall dive
In a dawn patrol to cover the dead zone ground
She tiptoed through the land mines
All along the enemy lines
But she never saw the one that took her down
She captured the bloody pearls of war so well
That war was bound to steal the end of Dickey Chapelle
– from “Pearl’s Eye View” (The Life of Dickey Chapelle)
Sources and Recommended Reading:
Operation Enduring Freedom, iCasualties.org
“Facing Reality in Afghanistan,” Christopher Bollyn, October 4, 2010
“Mobile veteran recovers after losing leg in Afghanistan,” Roy Hoffman, Press-Register, November 12, 2010
“Dying in Vain – Why Afghanistan?” Christopher Bollyn, February 8, 2010
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