Sunday, October 22, 2006

Casualties of war: For the US forces, October is the cruellest month

The Independent

"For US troops in Iraq, October 2006 is on course to become one of the deadliest months of the war. With a week to go, at least 78 US troops have been killed - bringing the total US death toll to 2,791. The latest to die were three US Marines who were killed yesterday during combat in Anbar province.

But this figure tells only part of the story. Because of advances in battlefield medicine and protective armourworn by soldiers, many more troops who suffer severe injuries are actually surviving - albeit often with the loss of limbs or being handicapped in another way. Indeed, the ratio of the wounded to killed stands at around eight to one, compared to a mere three to one during the Vietnam War.

Recently released figures showed that with more US troops being switched to Baghdad to try and secure the city, September saw 776 US soldiers wounded - the highest number since November 2004 when US forces battled to retake the insurgent-held city of Fallujah. It is estimated 44,779 US troops have been wounded, injured or taken ill in Iraqsince the 2003 invasion. Of those, 20,691 were wounded by hostile fire or roadside bombs. Yesterday, with US troops trying to do what they can to contain the insurgency and growing sectarian violence, that figure is likely to have increased."

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