Sunday, August 28, 2005

Understanding Numbers

We keep hearing this number 1,875 and rising as the media's "official number" of US combatants killed in action. I know I'm not the first one to do this, but actually looking this up myself taught me a lot. The defense department has its own accounting webpage through something called DIOR (Directorate for Information and Operation and Reports)DOD’s Own Counts

You can look up the official number of deaths. You can also find items like the “accounting practices” for the classifications like KIA
KIA: Killed in Action. Casualty category applicable to a hostile casualty, other than the victim of a terrorist activity, who is killed outright or who dies as a result of wounds received or other injuries before reaching a medical treatment facility.

The first time through, I got confused looking at the right hand column of the spreadsheet and thought for about thirty minutes that DIOR was saying that 16,000 had died in Iraq and Afghanistan together. It turned out that the total was for killed and wounded. Wounded means you have to be injured to the point where you can no longer carry out your military duties. The number of killed does not count the “contract” personnel or Americans who weren’t combatants in any form. It’s hard to estimate the number of contractors killed carrying out duties that would in past wars have been carried out by soldiers. Contractor Estimate
In general, the 230+ who have died in Afghanistan aren’t in anyone’s running count. The real “official” number would appear to be closer to 2300. There have been a few people who have claimed that the number may be much higher than 2300.

The second interesting part of the DIOR site is the list and size of private contracts with the Department of Defense. List of Pentagon Contracts Over 25k
I looked at two of the larger defense contracts there. One company, Evironmental Chemical, has two contracts for roughly 180 million dollars. On Environmental Chemical’s web site, they explain that they carry out a number of defense infrastructure functions with one essentially being “dealing with bombs”. I don’t know what portion of the contract goes to that. A second company, IAP, has about 130 million in contracts for supplying a variety of support equipment like water purifiers, electrical equipment, etc.and they have only existed since 1989. One of the company's has a commitment for more than a billion dollars of contracts for the next several years in Iraq Center for Public Integrity
There aren’t any signs that these contracts are getting smaller, which may or may not suggest what the Department of Defense knows about the likelihood of a US withdrawal any time soon. It’s amazing what you can find on the net sometimes. I’m always reminded that often the facts are out there. Just try to do the math on how many Iraqi troops and police would need to be trained to stabilize the current situation. Think about this, there are 140 thousand Americans there now and the situation isn’t stable with alleged large numbers of current Iraqi troops and police. How long would it take and how much would it cost to train and supply 280 thousand Iraqi soldiers and peace officers? Would that number even be able to carry out the task? btw, there are roughly 7.5 million men in Iraq between 15 and 64. Not all of them are on the same side as US interests.


At 8/18/2005 06:12:00 PM, Blogger benny06 said...

I just stumbled across your blog via reading crawfordupdate blog.

Who are those duffouses that are calling Cindy names on her blog? W?

I too wish Cindy and her mom well. At the same time, I think it's ironic that her mom had a stroke, and so did Coretta Scott King.

At 8/18/2005 06:16:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks for stopping by.
I agree, it's ironic. I wish them both well.

I don't know who most of the duffi are because they usually post as anonymous.

At 8/29/2005 06:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good golly, gents -- you missed Karlsputin Rove's Arsenic & Old Protesters' Wives & Mothers hand of evil, did you?

Wake up and smell the poisons.

He is gonna get you. He's got Sniffer Police who can smell your Unpatriotic Thoughts.



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