a deadly numbers game

The following post is by MYRLN, a non-blogger who is Kalilily’s guest writer every Monday.
This will be fairly short and not at all sweet. Why short? Because at its heart is an unsubstantiated assertion. If the assertion’s true, that’s one thing, but if not, it would best just disappear since there’s enough b.s. in the political air already.
Okay, Saturday in a local paper was a letter from a woman who for several years has been using the stockade fence of her property along a busy side street to “lament the U.S. military dead.” At first, she simply used a plastic grocery bag to represent each death, but now she puts up antiwar posters and tiny photos of the dead, all thus far up to some 3750. She also has the number itself posted on the fence.
Recently, she related, a young man in a truck stopped to examine the photos, noting he was veteran of the Iraq war. He studied the pix and found several he knew, the deaths of some of them news to him. Then he pointed at the number and told her it was wrong. And here’s where we meet the unsubstantiated assertion.
The number displayed, he told her, was only the total of those who died in Iraq. If others were wounded there but flown to Germany or the U.S. and THEN died, why they’re not counted in the official number. Even though they’re dead from the war. If they were, he asserted, the count would be closer to 10,000.
10,000. True number or not? True policy or not? Where do we turn for substantiation or repudiation? Media’s too busy covering O.J. Simpson and predators and party girls. Our government wouldn’t tell us the truth if the young man is right and its word couldn’t be trusted if it purported to do so anyway. So where do we turn?
We rightly lament the deaths of over 3700, but what if we’re not remembering another 6300 or so? Does it matter? Of course.
But where do we turn for the hard truth?