The Observer has an article covering the true extent of casualties in Iraq: America's hidden battlefield toll. The finding exposes a Pentagon policy of under-reporting casualties and only releasing figures for fatalities involved in combat or accidents. The discovery has unearthed 1,178 wounded in combat since the war began on March 20th. These are part of over 6,000 that have been evacuated from Iraq for medical reasons. The Observer notes on this figure:
It is believed many of the American casualties evacuated from Iraq are seriously injured. Modern body armour, worn by almost all American troops, means wounds that would normally kill a man are avoided. However vulnerable arms and legs are affected badly. This has boosted the proportion of maimed among the injured.
There is an obvious descrepancy that 19% of injuries are reported as combat-related; Is this a hidden implication of friendly fire, dangerous equipment, clumsiness or something more offbeat? Hopefully The Observer will release it's full report on the matter. [Third Party WatchBlog]