by Letter to Rep. Barbara Lee – Gar Smith / EAW
October 22, 2003
Hon. Barbara Lee
Dear Congresswoman Lee,
Thank you for generously agreeing to be the keynote speaker for the first Environmentalists Against War Teach-In during Fleet Week in San Francisco.
I am writing today as a journalist concerned about an issue raised in the course of an interview with a veteran of the current Iraq Occupation.
While the media’s focus has been on the soldiers killed in Iraq, other numbers are being overlooked. The majority of the 6,000-plus soldiers evacuated from Iraq have suffered “non-combat-related” illnesses. What problems does this phrase mask? Depression? Dehydration? Stress?
The second issue is even more grave because it suggests a cynical manipulation of mortality figures on the part of the government.
The Pentagon reports mortalities but downplays the number of wounded and does not report the severity of their injuries. While hundreds have died, thousands have been crippled for life.
According to soldiers who have served in Iraq, the government is covering up the total number of combat deaths by NOT reporting the number of wounded soldiers who subsequently die from their injuries after being evacuated from the battlefront.
How many US soldiers have subsequently died from their wounds? According to Pentagon and media reports, none of our wounded troops have yet died from their injuries. This seems difficult to believe. Could you investigate this issue? If you can obtain the actual figures from the Pentagon, I would like to publish the information on the EAW website. I would also like to join with you in issuing a press release on these findings.
Gar Smith, co-founder,
Environmentalists Against War