• 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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