The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, like those before, have lead to the death of many of the young people sent to fight them. These wars, however, are also different from any in the past: Thousands of of severely wounded soldiers are being reached on the edge of death and given new life, thanks to impressive new medical procedures and technologies that range from swift battlefield trauma care to "smart'' artificial limbs to spray-on skin. These miracles and the challenges they create have been probed in the ten-part series on the Huffington Post, Beyond The Battlefield, by David Wood, a veteran military writer.
To accompany that series, Chris Spurlock, a Huffington Post designer, has created a series of interactive graphics that illustrate the scope and costs of these injuries. All of these graphics are being assembled on this page as they are published.
Casualties From The Iraq And Afgan Wars
Since the inception of U.S. military missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, more than lives have been lost in battle. The infographic below illustrates the demographic information of those killed in action in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Hover over the pie charts for details.
Breakdown Of Amputations Per Military Branch
Due to advances in medical technology, the military amputee population is larger than ever before. Instead of meeting death on the battlefield, large numbers of soldiers are returning home to recuperate from traumatizing and life-altering injuries. Below is a graphic illustrating the breakdown of these amputations by military branch.
The Survivability Of Battle Injuries
Battlefields have always been deadly places, but today's technology and medical practices are saving increasing numbers of troops who might have died from their wounds even a decade ago. Below is an infographic detailing the percentages of injury survival in major wars, as well as the number of amputations in those wars.
Projected Cost Of Veterans Health Care
Since 2003, the cost of caring for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has risen from $18 million to more than $2.3 billion. Based on current trends, this cost is projected to reach $3.5 billion by 2013. The graphic below displays the growth in the number of insured veterans (on the y-axis), as well as the growth in cost over time (as illustrated by the size of the bubbles).
The Cost Of Military Amputations
For soldiers and Marines who lost limbs fighting for their country, the emotional cost is astronomical and incalculable. But, there are, of course, real financial costs as well. For any man or woman who has lost a limb fighting for his or her country, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs allots a given amount of compensation. The infographic below illustrates how much the wounded are compensated for their losses. Hover over each body part for more information.