From the May 2004 Idaho Observer:

Irrelevant Casualties

by Clint Lacy

“Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it's going to happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?” ~Former First Lady, Barbara Bush.

Well, just for the record, Mrs. Bush, here are the U.S. casualties thus far since the war began.

There have been:

3,269 U.S. men and women wounded that you don't think are relevant.

703 U.S. men and women killed that you don't think are relevant.

These are statistics provided by Global

But wait that's not all! There are an astonishing number of American military personnel who are listed as “medical evacuations.”

In a report entitled “Medical evacuations in Iraq war hit 18,000, which was carried by United Press International (UPI) at the total medical evacuations in Iraq has reached 18,000. Is that a relevant number Mrs. Bush? (Just wondering).

According to UPI, “The new data, through March 13, is nearly two-thirds higher than the 11,200 evacuations through Feb. 5 cited just last month to Congress by the same official, William Winkenwerder, Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.”

Winkenwerder also states that, “the majority of evacuations represented routine medical treatment and not life-threatening injuries.”

That's a lot of routine injuries. UPI also reports that a spokesman for Winkenwerder, James Turner, “did not return emails or phone calls Tuesday and Wednesday asking for elaboration.”

Well, if over 18,000 of our men and women have been evacuated, and it is “routine”, why can't Winkewerder or Turner elaborate? I have an idea of a possible reason they're not talking.

KPLC TV, Lake Charles, LA reported on its website at
“Fort Dix, New Jersey-AP -- The U.S. Army is conducting medical tests on a handful of soldiers who complained of illnesses after reported exposure to depleted uranium in Iraq.

“A spokeswoman at Fort Dix, New Jersey, confirms up to six soldiers have undergone exams, and three of them remain under observation.”

A New York newspaper that requested a medical exam for nine members of a National Guard Unit says four of them “almost certainly” inhaled radioactive dust.

The New York Daily News says six members of the unit contacted the newspaper after unsuccessfully appealing to the Army for testing. The Army would not say whether testing revealed contamination or illness.”

Just wondering, is it routine to become ill from depleted uranium exposure? Maybe the government doesn't want to pay for the treatment of 18,000 of our service men and women who have been exposed to it, not to mention the countless number of Iraqis who probably have been exposed to it too.

I'm sorry Mrs. Bush, that your “beautiful mind” doesn't find all of this “relevant”.


Clint E. Lacy is Vice Chairman of the Missouri League of the South and a syndicated columnist. He resides in Marble Hill, MO.

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