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IRAQ: US casualties (8.10.03)

US casualties in Iraq may be double the reported figures: US casualties from the occupation of Iraq may be double what is usually reported because of an extraordinarily high number of accidents, suicides and other non-combat deaths, according to The Guardian (8/6/03).

According to Pentagon figures, 52 US soldiers have been killed since President George Bush declared major combat operations over on 1 May, but the total number of US deaths from all causes is more than double that at 112, the British newspaper reported.

The Pentagon does not report the cause of those deaths, but according to an US website that has been tracking official reports, Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, 23 US soldiers have died in car or helicopter accidents since 1 May, 12 have been killed in accidents with weapons or explosives, three are "possible suicides", three have died from illness, and three from drowning. The rest are unexplained.

The total death toll this time - including accidents and suicides - is 248. Military observers say it is unusual, even in a "low-intensity" guerrilla war such as the situation seen in Iraq, for non-combat deaths to outnumber combat casualties, the Guardian reported. Since 11 September 2001, the Bush administration has launched a concerted effort to overcome the Vietnam era aversion to mass casualties amongst the US public.

Ronald Hilton - 8/10/03