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The Phenomenon of the U.S.’s "Forgotten" Military Casualties
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The Phenomenon of the U.S.’s "Forgotten" Military Casualties

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USA — June 9, 2018

The ban on news media photos of US military dead was put in place by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 during the first Gulf War and upheld by President George W. Bush during the second. It became a political issue in 2004 when unauthorized photos of US military caskets appeared on the Internet.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said at the time that the ban was an attempt to "conceal from the American people the true costs of this war."

Later former President Obama said he would lift an 18-year ban on coverage of the return of military members killed in war.

"All too often, the sacrifices of our military are hidden from view,"  Paul Rieckhoff of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, supported this solution. "The sight of flag-draped coffins is, and should be, a sobering reminder to all Americans of the ultimate sacrifice our troops have made."

Other voices claimed that certain media outlets would not treat the families of the dead with the proper respect which was owed to them and such images would only be used for political purposes.

WHAT IS GOOGLE

As we all know, the America military has now begun to work openly with search engines such as Google. And prior to Google, no one believed that search engines could actually make money.

In 2015, Google along with its subsidiary "Boston Dynamics" was transferred a total of more than one million dollars for certain contacts involving several substructures of the US Department of Defense.

According to official figures, the funds were allocated to software, research, and development in engineering and some "other computer services." Or put another way: it was the sale of software designed help the department of defense manipulate intellectual property and public opinion, both abroad and at home.

Furthermore, the defense department has not denied that Google cooperated with US military intelligence. For instance, the CIA Museum is described on the website Google Earth as "a technology supported by the CIA."

In addition, recently many Google employee’s threatened to quit en masse in protest over the company's contract to develop a controversial drone program for the Pentagon.

The Free Thought Project reported that thousands of Google employees were speaking out about the company's close relationship with the Pentagon, and their involvement in the business of war.

Initially, 3,100 Google employees signed a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, demanding that the company cancel an ongoing contract with the Pentagon that supported a drone program called "Project Maven." As expected, Google has not backed down, and at least a dozen of the employees who signed the letter are now resigning from the company in protest.

Project Maven is an AI system that is being developed to scan images in drone footage and identify targets, launched in April 2017. According to a Pentagon statement, "the objective is to augment or automate Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination (PED) for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in order to reduce the human factors burden of [full motion video] analysis, increase actionable intelligence, and enhance military decision-making."

However, the employees were able to see right through this weak attempt to obscure the truth.

"While this eliminates a narrow set of direct applications, the technology is being built for the military, and once it's delivered, it could easily be used to assist in these tasks. This plan will irreparably damage Google's brand and its ability to compete for talent."

"At some point, I realized I could not in good faith recommend anyone join Google, knowing what I knew. I realized if I can't recommend people join here, then why am I still here?" one resigning Google employee told Gizmodo.

It turns out we were right... Google was continuing its policy of a ban on news media photos, although not exclusively.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT MILITARY CASUALTIES

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have claimed tens of thousands of Americans lives. But at the same time, the average American still seems to not know very much about these casualties.

"The United States military has not yet commented in any detail on Saturday’s attack, and the victims’ names have not been released pending notification of next of kin. The military rarely releases Special Operations details." - wrote the New York Times.

Since honor killing is considered a State concern, such deaths are rarely reported and do not appear in official statistics, they added in that article. If it does mention military casualties, it is solely limited to individuals who are officially serving as American soldiers.

What do we know about the mercenary companies Greystone and Blackwater? That's right; We know nothing of private military companies and the many casualties they too have suffered, most of whom are American citizens

Fourteen Americans were killed in Afghanistan on Monday in two crashes involving helicopters. Six others were reportedly injured.

A spokesman for the American command here said that officers were not disclosing the location of the crash because they wanted to protect the Americans who were still working at the scene to help recover the helicopter.

The Afghan Taliban claimed that about 43 soldiers, were killed in the crash. According to army gen. John U. Nicolson, neither crash appeared to involve hostile fire.

Capt. Elizabeth Mathias seemed to confirm the opinion of the General. "We are “98 percent sure” that insurgents had not caused the crash," he said.

In a related incident, US and British soldiers were killed in an improvised explosive devise blast in Manbij, Syria.

The US military has not said if the IED was in a building, a vehicle or buried in the road. The troops were out of their vehicles at the time of the explosion, according to a US official. There has also been no word on whether the target was found, captured or killed.

On this Memorial Day weekend, with 15,000 U.S troops still deployed to Afghanistan, we bring you a cautionary tale of how five U.S. soldiers, including two Green Berets, died on the night of June 9, 2014.

Thus, it seems that all too frequently information regarding US military casualties goes down a black hole.

DO THEY REALLY EXIST OR NOT?

There are 2 Statistics Portal that deals with US war casualties. One of them is Statista, showing the number of U.S. soldier fatalities in different wars, as well as general information on those conflicts.

For example, the portal states: "the invasion of Iraq by the United States and coalition forces in March 2003 saw the beginning of the Iraq War, a conflict that would continue beyond the end of the decade. Fatalities of American forces were highest in the first five years of conflict as soldiers grappled with the Al Qaeda as well as the civil war between those groups seeking to fill the power vacuum left by the removal of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Casualties progressively decreased from 2008, in part due to attempts by Barack Obama who made the removal of troops from Iraq a central promise of this successful campaign to succeed George W. Bush..."

You can also find statistics showing the number of Western coalition soldiers who were killed in action in the execution of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2018, etc. But these figures are still only rough approximations.

Another source is "Congressional Research Service. American War and Military Operations. Casualties: Lists and Statistics".

A website which includes data tables containing the number of casualties among American military personnel who served in principal wars and combat operations from 1775 to the present. It also contains data on those wounded in action and information such as race and ethnicity, gender, branch of service, and cause of death. The tables are compiled from various Department of Defense (DOD) sources.

The identity of victims is kept confidential to protect the families of the soldiers from undue sorrow.  Perhaps the actual number of US casualties in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are being hushed up as a matter of national security, or maybe it's just media indifference. Regardless, the American people deserve to know the truth.

Author: USA Really