A Bush-watcher website identified as TBRNews.org is reporting under the byline of "domestic intelligence reporter" Brian Harring that the Department of Defense is using a cynical tactic to mislead the public regarding the true death toll for American military personnel in Iraq. Harring claims he has an internal pdf. file from the D.O.D. which establishes that nearly 9000 Americans have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but that the official number has been held to 1713 by designating as Iraq deaths only those who perish on Iraqi soil. The remainder, he says, are military personnel who have died en route to Germany or in German hospitals-- casualties of the war, but not listed in the official death toll.
If this is true it would explain the apparent statistical discrepancy between dead and wounded. A combat action which produces nearly eight times as many officially wounded-- 13000 plus-- as officially dead...well, it's not the norm. It goes without saying it would also further jolt a public majority already disturbed by the war's "progress" and eager to see the troops come home.
How to validate or invalidate Harring's incendiary claims? In his report Harring asserts he will begin publishing, in sections, the Defense Department's official list of war dead from Iraq. Relatives and other loved ones of those whose lives are gone will be asked to examine the lists to see if the names of those they've lost appear there. The Defense Department has, according to Harring, properly notified the loved ones of those who have died in Germany or en route to hospital, but has neglected to inform them that the casualty is not a part of the official death toll.
This is the way to find out, and gradually we in the blogosphere may get a picture of whether this most cruel of deceptions has really taken place. You have to hope not. But in light of everything we've learned, do you think this is beyond them? An Administration which forbids photographs of returning coffins? An Administration whose President has yet to attend a single Iraq-related funeral or memorial? It appears almost nothing is beyond them.
There's more at the site. Harring also asserts more than 5500 American military personnel assigned to Iraq have deserted, most to Ireland and Canada. But I am at a loss to figure the origin of this site or the validity of its information without help, and that is what the rest of you can provide by taking a look, filtering it into the growing documentation of Iraq War deceit, and locating those who might be able to gather whether their loved one's death was honestly and fairly recorded for the act of combat heroism it may have been. In my heart I sincerely hope Harring is wrong.