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See Also: Disappearing the Dead: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Idea of a "New Warfare", by Carl Conetta (PDF), Research Monograph #9, 18 February 2004

Weapons of mass destruction is not the only Iraq war-related subject clouded by misinformation. According to a new study, the Pentagon conducted "perception management" campaigns during the Afghan and Iraq wars that also obstructed the public's awareness of civilian casualties.
           These activities included Pentagon efforts to "spin" casualty stories in ways that minimized their significance or cast unreasonable doubt on their reliability. Efforts also may have included the placement of misleading news stories. Such activities are "antithetical to well-informed public debate and to sensible policy-making," according to the report's author, Carl Conetta. . . . Besides examining several case studies, the report reviews the "news frames" promoted by defense officials to shape the public debate over casualties.
          Among the suspect stories promoted by US officials were reports that the Hussein regime was stockpiling cadavers before the war in order to stage phony casualty incidents and blame them on the coalition. Another story asserted that the Iraqis were procuring uniforms like those of US troops so that they might commit atrocities that would be attributed to the United States. As in the case of Iraq's reputed possession of prohibited weapons, neither story was subsequently verified.
          One case study examined in the report is the Baghdad marketplace bombing that killed more than three dozen people on March 28, 2003. Coalition spokespersons had insisted that Iraqi air defense missiles falling back to earth might have been the cause -- a scenario that the report assesses as highly unlikely. The coalition persisted in its stance even after debris bearing the serial numbers of US weapons was found at the site by a British journalist.
          The report also concludes that defense officials consistently overplayed the idea of "precision warfare", giving the false impression that the Iraq war would be a low casualty event. In fact, the study estimates, as many as 15,000 Iraqis (including 4,000 non-combatants) were killed during the main phase of the conflict. Citing opinion polls, the report sees these casualties as one source of current anti-American activity in Iraq.
          "Masking the casualty problem leaves America unprepared for the consequences of war," said Conetta. "Our troops are now paying a price for that in Iraq every day," he added. The report proposes treating casualties on all sides as a cost of war that must be examined, estimated, and disclosed. "One can be for a particular war or against it -- but, either way, we must face up to its costs," concluded Conetta.

The following is mirrored from its source at:

From an Army Nurse
Working at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Washington D.C.
7 February 2004

An e-mail I received from someone working as a nurse in a military hospital in the US. He/she believes the reports about the number of soldiers killed in given incidents, but points out that the many many desperately [hurt] soldiers go unreported.

--Jo Wilding

I am an Army Nurse Corps Captain stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in Washington D.C., and I feel compelled to share with anyone who will listen what I have seen. You see, when OIF troops are evac'd out of Germany, the huge majority are brought here to WRAMC by the Air Force flight nurses and docs.

I do not have access to any of the numbers of how many wounded and what types of injuries, etc, but I can honestly tell you that the OIF wounded occupy more than half of our two major intensive care units (SICU and MICU) at any given time. At times, we get so full and are expecting more to arrive, that we have to hound the docs to transfer somebody out of our unit to a ward upstairs so we have some beds for these soldiers.

Most of these wounded soldiers come in to our unit on a ventilator breathing for them, with severe wounds caused by IEDs (improvised roadside bombs) or AK-47 GSW (gun shot wounds). Many, many soldiers have already lost arms, limbs, or eyes before they even get to us, and many have received dozens of units of blood before they left Germany.

I am very proud that I am privilaged to take care of these brave men and women, but it breaks my heart to realize that their incredible loss that they and their loved ones will have to deal with for the rest of their life seems to have not been for the good of our country. Rather, their pain and sorrow has merely allowed a few greedy souls to make a power grab for more wealth and control.

One of my dear friends has tried to convince me that this is all part of God's plan, and the death and pain is for some greater purpose that our leaders are not telling us yet. I wish I could believe her. It would make my job and daily life much easier, but I cannot buy it.

I apologize to the reader for my tangential thought processes, but this never ending situation is getting to many military nurses.

Anyway, the following is my main point in reaching out to you. As you might be aware, the press is being tightly controlled and what is being reported from a medical standpoint is only a fraction of the true reality. Yes, I do believe the daily number of killed that CNN and whoever report is accurate.

What I am saying is that the walking wounded are being sorely ignored. Don't believe me? Walter Reed is an open base, not a tightly controlled fort. Just have a valid ID and consent to a vehicle search. Then park, and walk inside. You will see so many 20-something mostly men missing arms, legs, and eyes.

The blinders covering your eyes will be ripped away as you see the poor families making their daily walk from the Malogne house to the wards and units to see their son's or husbands. It is so sad to see young wives and fiancee's cry over their honey who was in Iraq less than one month before losing both legs and have several abdominal surgeries which leaves his belly crisscrossed with staples, and now he is fighting for his life from the infection that the injuries have caused.

And that is just one example of what I saw this week. I will spare you any more wrenching true stories. God help our men and women in uniform. Please do something to end this madness.


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