The death toll of American soldiers in Afghanistan has jumped to 1,516 since 2001. 886 of the deaths have occurred during the Obama presidency. Pentagon predictions of heavier fighting ahead could translate to the overall dead reaching 1,900 during the 2012 presidential campaign.
With more American boots on the ground, the number of wounded has skyrocketed to 10,855 since 2001, 8,224 of which have occurred during the Obama presidency. Aggressive foot patrols, and the subsequent increased troop vulnerability, have resulted in the tripling of American soldiers suffering brutal injuries to the limbs and genitals. These require shocking rates of amputation.
Dr. John Holcomb of the University of Texas, a retired Army colonel with extensive combat-medicine experience, described the increased number of U.S. troops suffering catastrophic injuries, “Everybody was taken aback by the frequency of these injuries: the double amputations, the injuries to the penis and testicles. Nothing like this has been seen before… [it’s] unbelievable.” [Los Angeles Times, April 6, 2011]
The government-funded Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization [JIEDDO] was established in 2006 to improve the military’s improvised explosive device [IED] detection capabilities. Having spent an overall $20.8 billion since 2006, JIEDDO’s outgoing director, Lt. General Michael Oates, admits that the best bomb detectors available are still dogs working with handlers, local informants, and the trained soldier’s eye. [The Center for Public Integrity, March 27, 2011]
JIEDDO has been authorized $3.466 billion for fiscal year 2011. Meanwhile, casualties remain high. In Afghanistan, IEDS have killed 657 U.S. troops and wounded 6,345. Amputations by military doctors performed on U.S. soldiers in German hospitals more than doubled from 71 in 2009 to 171 in 2010.
Since the beginning of the war, along with the dead and wounded, an additional 13,506 U.S. soldiers have required medical evacuation due to injury and illness, bringing total casualties in the war to a minimum of 25,427 U.S. troops.
Peace Exchange Bulletin