Whither the Casualties?

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How many American
Iraq/Afghanistan casualties has Faux News announced lately? None
that I have seen. Today, Fox did mention the Army amputees 10 mile
run. But no mention of G.I. deaths, September casualty counts, total
Iraq war casualty count. Are we way over 3,800, or just a little
bit over?

How often,
lately, do you see any mention of American casualties on CNN? None,
that I have seen.

HNN doesn't
talk about casualties any more. There has been no mention on our
local stations, Fox News 10 or NBC News 15, Mobile, Alabama.

I can't comment
on print media much because I don't read it except for NYT headlines
in email and references from LRC and other blogs. Now, these observations
are my own and I don't watch a whole bunch; but the contrast from
a few months back is stunning.

There is immense
coverage of scandalous, shocking, outrageous, attention-getting
behavior. It seems designed at generating rage, disgust, sympathy,
and other intense, distracting emotions. We hear about mutiny and
murder, law-breaking and flashing by femmes fatales, law-breaking
famous athletes, missing young beauties, often found dead and raped,
missing youngsters, usually found dead and raped, child-abuse —
colorful, outraged non-descriptions of the video, with nationwide
search for the suspect; we hear about the distraught lady seeking
help who panics when denied airplane boarding then dies in custody
within fifteen minutes; Princess Di is getting lots of coverage
on 10th anniversary of her sensational death. Today,
a shoot-out in Crandon, Wisconsin, five dead; police are no longer
looking for the suspect.

Much seems
aimed at dulling our sensitivities to such crassness and immorality
— but that's another subject that has been covered elsewhere and
needs to be explored further.

And there is
lots of feel-good stuff about the current military activities. Praise,
and some criticism, for the Petraeus report. A headline reads Surge
Has Reduced Violence, Petraeus Tells Fox News. Bush reports
there may be troop cuts of 30,000 by next summer.

Presidential
primary campaigning, at least as for the top three candidates in
each party, is getting lots of attention. But the neglect of Ron
Paul seems most studied and intentional; same phenomenon on a different
subject from this article. But I see a clear affinity in motivation
between the driver(s) of these two phenomena.

O.K., we'll
look at some origins of this kind of news. First and most logical
place is the Department of Defense [sic]. They have a section called
the American
Forces Press Service
which publishes finished articles pertinent
to activities of the DoD. They have 55 articles listed from the
1st of October current through the afternoon of the 6th.
No mention of casualties. From the 1st of August through
the 30th of September this year there are no articles
that mention casualties. All I checked was title and their two-line
summary.

But looking
back I selected February 2007 and in those twenty-eight days there
were 78 deaths reported in the articles from the American Forces
Press Services. One of those deaths occurred in the attempted bombing
of VP Cheney at Bagram AB in Afghanistan. That certainly is a change
in substance regarding casualties reported and strongly suggests
a change in policy on the subject. Has anyone heard of such a change
in policy?

Most of those
articles in August and September were good news or feel-good news.
Here are a few examples:

09/23/2007
— Violent Incidents Down; Al Qaeda "Off Balance" in Iraq

09/21/2007
Iraqi
Police Surge Dramatically Reduces Baghdad Violence

09/19/2007
Iraqi
Citizens Crucial in Locating Terror Mastermind, Securing Country

09/19/2007
Iraqi,
Coalition Forces Net Suspects, Kill Insurgents, Seize Weapons

09/16/2007
Troop
Surge Turns Momentum Against Terrorists, Official Says

09/13/2007
Iranian-Made
Mortar Likely Used in Recent Attack, General Says

09/06/2007
Combat
Lifesaver Course Trains Soldiers to Save Lives on Battlefield

09/05/2007
Iraq
Violence Drops as Economy Revives, Officials Say

08/16/2007
Iraqi
Officials Lead Recovery Efforts After Car-Bomb Attacks

08/16/2007
Army
Releases Suicide Data, Promotes Prevention Programs

On the Faux
News web site there is a section headed War on Terror. On
the 1st of October there were ninety titles under seven
sub-headings, none on casualties in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

At CNN a site
search for "Iraq" yielded eleven articles, for "terror"
yielded ten articles; none of those mentioned casualties. HNN's
site is a subset of CNN's.

In Mobile,
Fox News 10 turned up no casualties, just the item with Bush's 30,000
troop reduction by next summer. NBC News 15 did have a report on
its web site last 10th of September that seven U.S. soldiers
died, all combat related.

A Google search
for "terror-Iraq-casualties" turned up a report in the
Boston Globe on the 30th of September of 15 G.I.s
killed and gave their names. On the 1st of October the
Houston Chronicle reported one died and the Baltimore Sun
reported that the AP had calculated 3,083 soldiers had died in the
Iraq war of combat related causes; they identified three. The Washington
Post had run an item on the 29th of September that
two thirds of the 3,100 combat deaths in Iraq had been caused by
IEDs. Same day the Houston Chronicle had reported that, since
the 29th of March, 2003, until now there had been more
than 81,000 IED attacks in Iraq, including 25,000 in 2007.

There are sources
available of the mortality occurrence reportage. The DoD has a section
called News
Releases
. This reports the identity of the soldiers killed with
rank, age, home town, date and location of demise, circumstances
in the setting, organization, and a media contact number. It seems
to become available after next of kin have been notified so there
is a day or a few lag in that report.

Then, there
is a site called icasualties.org
which reports casualties, apparently taken in part from DoD but
from other sources as well and presents the data in many permutations.
And Antiwar.com
has a page
that lists the death casualties in various commutations.

The Washington
Post has an interesting
site
that lists all of the same information but also has a picture
of the fallen and for a garnish throws in a google map locating
his home community. CNN
has the same
, listed alphabetically or by date, less the map.

But these have
to be sought out. The American public was quite interested in the
casualty figures and particulars. But, so far, there hasn't been
a hue and cry from the lack of such information appearing in the
MSM. What we don't see or have at hand we often don't notice or
think of.

This, of course,
brings us to some consideration as to the why of this phenomenon,
the immense reduction in the coverage of American casualties in
Iraq and Afghanistan. It's fairly self-evident that such news isn't
favorable to the producers of this disastrous, ostensible exercise
in nation-building. With 70% of the U.S. population disapproving
of the continuing combat and the Administration's desire for hegemony
in the Middle East that's probably all we have to suppose.

How is this
brought about? Is there a conspiracy? Is it just an inherent prejudice
of the leading media providers (MSM)? …that came over them all about
the same time — this late spring or summer? We'll never know, because
if you postulate a conspiracy, you're considered a nut case. But
I guess we can postulate a bit without being carted off to an insane
asylum…, or to Gitmo.

Perhaps it
is as simple as a policy change in the DoD, not wanting to wash
their dirty linen in public any more they discontinued mention of
the death toll in the American
Forces Press Service
Articles. If most of the MSM got much of
their information from the American Forces Press Service then their
source had dried up and they didn't notice, didn't care, or just
chose not to say anything about it. But that seems too simplistic.

Perhaps somebody
in DoD or the Administration…, maybe the Office of the Vice President,
or some such agency just gently suggested to the MSM that it would
look better if they quit reporting so much grim detail so regularly,
you know, follow the lead of the AFPS. I mean, the MSM do like to
cooperate, especially with the Administration they most love to
hate.

Or could it
be a little more sinister? Does somebody or some agency have some
ability to coerce the MSM when they feel it is important enough
— such as a propaganda war to minimize the bad impression the populace
gets when exposed to all of the news all of the time.

Down over the
years there have been lots of tales and books of intrigue by the
OSS and the CIA in the realm of exerting
influence
(or here,
or here)
on the various organs of the media. There are allegations of bribes,
threats, blackmail and other forms of wooing and coercing key members
of the information industries. Who knows, maybe it continues, maybe
the CIA and fellows do have tentacles that reach that far. It's
a terrible thought but not so terrible as to be unthinkable. There
I go, sounding like a conspiracy theorist.

That, of course,
leads to the final question. Who are the fellows alluded
to three lines up? The obvious candidates that come to mind are
the world government cabal, the Council on Foreign Relations, the
Trilateral Commission, the Bilderburgers, EU, NAU, WTO, etc., etc.
Or are they just the guys we see as the big government bad guys
in the U.S., the neoconservatives, the insider top fellows of U.S.
governmental branches of whatever party? And, whoever of those it
may be, how do they control our CIA or whatever agency may be implementing
this scheme?

Well, I don't
have answers to those questions, nor do I want to.

April
25, 2007

Chuck
George [send him mail]
is a retired orthopedic surgeon in Alabama.

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