After 8 Months Filled by Hope, Setback Ends Barbaro’s Battle
Say it ain't so, Barbaro.
And so it ends here: the mainstream media’s obsession with…a horse. Don’t get me wrong. Barbaro’s struggle and eventual demise is a sad story, as far as horse stories go. And smart money says someone is already feverishly typing up the script over which movie studios, with the masses pre-saturated by all that equine emoting, will be salivating.
Godspeed, Barbaro. The mainstream media will miss your front-page swagger.
In eight months of waiting for Barbaro’s shattered bones to heal, the horse’s owners and his veterinarian said they had not seen the Kentucky Derby-winning colt become so uncomfortable that he would refuse to lie down and rest. Until Sunday night.
So on Monday morning, the owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, and the veterinarian, Dr. Dean Richardson, decided enough was enough. At 10:30 a.m., Barbaro was euthanized, ending an extraordinary effort to save the life of a remarkable racehorse whose saga had gripped people around the world.
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Agency Says Higher Casualty Total Was Posted in Error
A war of choice with no exit strategy. Insufficient body armor. A delusional and inept defense secretary. Endless troop rotations. An evolving assignment as mediators in a civil war.
You’d think the least the Pentagon could do is make an accurate accounting of the number of U.S. troops wounded in Iraq. But, as noted here previously, the Pentagon only counts combat injuries when doing the math. What’s more than curious, however, is that this formula is not applied when calculating counts for soldiers killed. (Incidentally, this fact is noted in the article but only matter-of-factly, as if one has no relevance to the other.) Of the over 3,055 troops killed in Iraq, 600 are listed as non-combat related. That’s 20% of all deaths. A sizable number.
So how many wounded soldiers does this formula eliminate from its count? Try 31,922. Just shy of 30% of all wounded soldiers.
This purposely distorts the toll of this war. The mainstream media has done a lousy job pointing out the great number of wounded soldiers for years now. When people hear 3,000 soldiers killed it sounds terrible of course. But if the American public regularly heard that 50,000 plus U.S. troops are now missing arms, legs, eyes, hearing, are severely burned, and are suffering from PTSD and brain damage, then imagine how much stronger opposition to this war would be.
For the last few months, anyone who consulted the Veterans Affairs Department’s Web site to learn how many American troops had been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan would have found this number: 50,508.
But on Jan. 10, without explanation, the figure plummeted to 21,649.
Which number is correct? The answer depends on a larger question, the definition of wounded. If the term includes combat or “hostile” injuries inflicted by the enemy, the definition the Pentagon uses, the smaller number would be right.
But if it also applies to injuries from accidents like vehicle crashes and to mental and physical illnesses that developed in the war zone, the meaning that veterans’ groups favor, 50,508 would be accurate.
A spokesman for the veterans’ department, Matt Burns, said the change in the count was made simply to correct an error. Mr. Burns said the department posted the higher figure by mistake in November, when an employee who was updating the site inadvertently added noncombat injuries listed by the Defense Department. The Pentagon Web site had the correct total all along.
The previous total on the Web site was 18,586, strictly for combat injuries. Apparently, no one noticed the sudden leap.