Friday, June 16, 2006

Ministry of Defence make partial improvements in their Iraq war casualty reporting

As US fatalities in Iraq reach 2,500 and their total casualties approach 21,000, we post an update on the ongoing saga of British failures in casualty reporting.

The UK MOD has now added (PDF) summary tables to their web site for British wounded in operations in Iraq. The tables go some way towards clarifying the statistics but still fall short of providing an easily accessible accounting of the cost of the war on UK forces. For example, it is still not clear whether the tables contain a complete set of data or just represent people treated at the Shaibah Role 3 Facility.

However, it is worth noting that even this level of information is currently not given in the (PDF) tables for operations in Afghanistan.

In both operations the MOD still don't, for some inexplicable reason, use the correct terminology. Casualties is the sum of fatalities plus wounded, whereas, the MOD insist on using the term casualty to refer only to wounded. Overall however, its a step forward and gets a bit closer to mirroring the US system.

Whether these figures are actually accurate is of course a separate issue and one which is still far from being resolved. Efforts to obtain the full facts are continuing. And, last but by no means least, we should never forget that there has still been no official recognition or accounting for the well over 100,000 Iraqis who have died as a result of the Bush and Blair decision to invade.

(links updated: 20.09.2006)