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Patricia Johnson: Tongue-Tied Or Timid?

Tongue-Tied Or Timid?


By Patricia L Johnson

The AP headline read “U.S. Military Deaths Reach 2,000 in Iraq” and I shuddered, not because 2,000 of our young men and women’s lives have been cut short in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) - most of us are already sickened by that fact, but by the failure of the U.S. news media to acknowledge ongoing casualties in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

Most of us will recall combat operations in Afghanistan began October 7, 2001. The casualty count since that date has climbed to 880, consisting of 248 deaths and 632 wounded in action, according to October 25, 2005 Department of Defense totals.

The latest hostile death in Afghanistan was Staff Sgt. Troy S. Ezernack who died in Qalat, Afghanistan on October 9, 2005 from injuries sustained when his patrol was attacked by enemy forces using a grenade.

More than four years after combat operations began in Afghanistan, soldiers are still dying and Osama Bin Laden is still MIA.

The U.S. Casualty count, according to the Department of Defense, as of October 25, 2005 for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operational Enduring Freedom, has now reached 18,093, with 2,241 dead and 15,852 wounded in action.

Soldiers that died, and are still dying, in Operational Enduring Freedom have the right to be counted by the media, and the American public has the right to know the real truth about these combat operations. If the American press cannot publish accurate casualty counts, why do they bother reporting at all?

Besides spending more time counting all casualties, our press should be asking why the United States is sustaining casualties in so many different countries.

Operation Iraqi Freedom includes casualties in the Arabian Sea, Bahrain, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Persian Gulf, Qatar and the Red Sea.

Operation Enduring Freedom consists of two groups of casualties – those that occurred in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan, and a separate count for those that occurred in Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Yemen.

Shouldn’t the tongue-tied American press be asking why military casualties are occurring in places like the Republic of Seychelles, Djibouti, and Eritrea - places most of us wouldn’t be able to find on a map?

*************

© 2005 Patricia L Johnso n

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