Well, I found what I consider to be a *BIG* story the other day that has been overlooked. You know how I've been going on a rant about that helicopter crash? Well, there is a reason.
When the crash occurred, I scoured the net to see just how many people have died so far in Operation Enduring Freedom. I was surprised just how many it was. Well, I read another story on the crash that listed what the military said the official number is (47 dead), and, lo and behold...
It don't add up!
After a bit of poking around, I figured out why, however. As Operation Enduring Freedom drags on, there appears to be an intentional attempt on the part of the military to provide the press with numbers that are intentionally subdivided.
Here's an example. They initially started listing casualties in straight figures (i.e. "So far, x members of the US military have died in operation Enduring Freedom.") However, they changed that method of announcing casualties after a considerable number of troops died in the Philippines as part of Enduring Freedom. The official numbers that the military are quoting are for Afghanistan, which, by my count, are at least 11 short of the amount that have died so far in Enduring Freedom. The military is now also providing seperate numbers specific to how the soldiers died, presumably to either "inform" or additionally confuse matters.
"Including the latest casualties, the U.S. military has had 25 soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan since the war on terror began. Twenty-two deaths were due to non-battlefield incidents."
Sounds better, right?! Basically, they they are taking a pie, slicing off progressively smaller pieces of it, and serving it to up to us -- mincemeat in bite-sized chunks. Presumably, they'll do the same thing with Iraq, too. Hey, we can start the body count from scratch!
Now, you might say that this is to be expected and isn't a big story. After all, the press are doing their jobs and know how to add -- this isn't some kind of Orwellian historical rewrite... right?!
Wrong. Take a look at ABC's running tally, prominently labeled "Casualties of Enduring Freedom". They list 41 dead, not including the latest four, whose identities were only recently announced. Someone forgot a few heroes. They aren't the only ones, however. There are several news stories I have seen so far which give an inaccurate tally of those who have died in Operation Enduring Freedom, quoting a "sub-divided" number as the authoritative tally.
Because of this confusion, there isn't a single site on the web that I am aware of -- even a military one -- where you can see all the names and faces of those who have died so far in operation Enduring Freedom.
So, are the press being sloppy? Is the military intentionally trying to blur the issue? Or are the press reporting "subdivided" numbers because it's what they feel people would like to see? I don't know. One thing seems sure, however -- the military doesn't seem to be going out of their way to correct any misconceptions. They also seem to have an agenda to keep the press from putting a human face on our soldiers, dead and wounded. Iraq will be a huge invasion, but one thing you probably won't see a lot of are dead marines -- even if a lot of marines die.
If only the US could keep its streets as clean as its wars. Sanitized for your protection!