Friday, August 17, 2007

The 4,000 mark passed for service members who've died after being sent to Iraq from the US, UK and "Other"

The total number of foreign (non-Iraqi) military who have died in the illegal war now stands at 3,999. That's US, British and "Other" (i.e. Poland, Italy . . .). This the number of military members ordered to fight in the illegal war who have died in it. One away from the 4,000 mark. And scratch everything I just said, ICCC's reporting that the 4,000 mark has now been passed.

Today the US military announced: "Thursday, a MNC-I Soldier died of non-battle related cause in Baghdad. An investigation into the cause of death will be conducted." And they announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier died of wounds sustained from enemy gunfire in Baghdad Province, Thursday." ICCC's total for the number of US service members who've died in the illegal war thus far this month is 46 and the total number who have died since the start of the illegal war stands at 3704. The two deaths bring the total number of all foreign military service members (official, we're not counting mercenaries) who have died in the illegal war since it started to 4001.

As the deaths mount, US opposition (public, not government) remains strong. Zachary Coile's
"California voters want troops to begin pulling out of Iraq in spring, poll says Most California voters want to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq, Field Poll shows" (San Francisco Chronicle) notes a new survey by Field Poll which finds that six out of every ten registered voters in California want the US Congress to impose a deadline for troop withdrawal from Iraq. Coile reports:

Voter anger over Iraq is the main reason Bush's approval ratings in the state have stayed at rock bottom: 26 percent of voters approve of his job performance, compared with 65 percent who disapprove. Only President Richard Nixon dipped to lower levels -- a 24 percent approval rating -- and that was at the height of the Watergate scandal.
Bush's approval rating also was 26 percent in March, the last time the Field Poll conducted its survey.

Mike's father, who would also be Trina's husband, notes this from AP about Alicia Birchett who was from Massachusetts (and the second woman from the state to die in the illegal war):

She was an engineer mechanic who joined the military immediately after graduating from Falmouth High School in 1995. She also served tours of duty in Germany and Korea.

And we'll also note this from Ryan Haggerty and Megan Tench's "Franklin Soldier is slain in Iraq" (Boston Globe):

News of Staff Sergeant Robert Pirelli's death in Iraq spread quickly through town yesterday, touching Franklin officials who never knew the 29-yearold Green Beret.
"It's a terrible tragedy," said Jeffrey D. Nutting, Franklin's town administrator, as he and other town employees answered calls from residents about Pirelli's death, including one from a local church member asking whether it was proper to lower the church's US flag to half-staff in the soldier's honor. Nutting said it was.
"You never think it's going to hit home" Nutting said. "You see it on TV and in the papers, but it's always somebody else."

Turning to the topic of sucides among active duty service members, Pauline Jelinek (AP) notes
this on the US army's study:

Announcing a new report on suicides, officials said nearly a third of 99 committed in 2006 were among soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan at the time of their deaths. Iraq accounted for the overwhelming number of those _ 27 of the 30.
About half the Army suicides last year, the most since the first Iraq war, in 1991, were soldiers who hadn't reached their 25th birthdays.

On most PBS stations, Bill Moyers Journal begins airing tonight (check local listings). Tonight Moyers addresses the impending departure (August 31st) of Karl Rove. The commentary has also been posted on YouTube. Also in most PBS markets, NOW with David Brancaccio begins airing tonight:

In the fall of 2003, one of the largest recorded wildfires in California's history destroyed over 2,200 houses and killed fifteen people. Soon after, many who'd lost their homes had a rude awakening: their insurance did not nearly cover their losses as expected. The insurance industry, which claims to cover "more property, more lives, more liability-related risks than any time at history," is busy fighting allegations that customers are receiving smaller payouts than what they were promised. On Friday, August 17 (check your local listings), NOW collaborates with Bloomberg Markets magazine to investigate tactics some insurance companies may be using to reduce, avoid, or stall homeowners' claims in an effort to boost their own earnings.
"The insurance purposely misleading customers," California Lieutenant Governor and former Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi tells NOW. "The first commandment of the insurance industry is, 'Thou shalt pay as little, as late, as possible.'...You go to financial heaven if you can carry out that commandment."
The insurance industry is enjoying record-breaking profits, but who's paying the price? Next time on NOW
The NOW website at will offer more insight into these claims of impropriety and reaction from insurance companies

The e-mail address for this site is