Conflicting Death Tolls - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/2/03

Conflicting Death Tolls

With the rescue of Jessica Lynch, the U.S. military won an important battle in the war against casualties. While casualties are expected, with advancements in military technology comes another expectation, fewer deaths. At the end of the Vietnam War over 58,000 Americans had died. Ten years ago, after operation Desert Storm, 363 soldiers died in the line of duty. So far in this war? Well, for many that's a cloudy number.

"More than a hundred," said one man. "25 or 45 I can't remember," said another. "Well, yesterday they said it was 42," said one woman. Despite around the clock coverage, from hundreds of reporters, when it comes to finding an accurate number of casualties, it's a state of confusion.

As of Wednesday afternoon, at the MCNBC website the total number of deaths listed was 46. At CBS it was 51. At CNN there were no hard numbers, just photographs. But adding them up totaled 41. Three different numbers from three major networks.

"I don't want to think of anybody dying," said David Kilgore. For him, focusing on casualties harkens back to another era, a time when American resolve eroded as the body count grew higher and higher. "Back in Vietnam, one of the main things that I remember was that the body count got to be the big thing. And I think that that was probably what weakened the Vietnam effort more than the politics and everything else, was that even the generals and the President and everyone else was talking body count. I got sick of the war and wanted it to stop even without any conclusion," he said.

To take a closer look at daily casualty totals from the war in Iraq (click here). 

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