Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Collateral Damage Statistics


Marvellous article in The Telegram here today about war. Specifically the Afghan war. As any regular reader knows, I hate the word 'war' when a more accurate description would be 'invasion'. But I digress.

We all like to imagine our old soldiers proudly marching in annual parades but the truth is far different. The articles goes on to discuss the after-affects of war on its soldiers apart from the obvious: the senseless deaths of comrades, the horrific injuries, the shattered illusions. It talks about the lingering damage to society created by the soldier long after combat is over and her/his military career has ended.

An intense study of the aftermath of military engagement was conducted from 1983 to 2007.

There were:
1710 deaths in the period.
289 were suicides
384 were traffic deaths - 75 of those alcohol related.
186 of all the deaths, when further examined, were the result of excessive drinking.
374 deaths were of cancer.

Combat only accounted for 70 fatalities, less than 5% of the deaths.

The continuing effect on Canada, and particularly in Newfoundland which has the highest percentage of any province in Canada in the military, is unimaginable.

Extrapolate all those numbers outwards and the toll on the USA will be in the millions. MILLIONS of deaths outside of direct combat. Deaths on the streets and in the homes of Americans. Deaths that often take further collateral damage in the shape of their own families or innocent stranger-victims.

And we're not even talking about the millions and millions who are already 'merely' injured. We're talking collateral death long after military engagement.

12 comments:

  1. Fascinating figures. Just goes to show the after-effects of war are so much wider-reaching than one would ever expect in terms of mental and physical deterioration and what that leads to.

    The tragedy of war (and invasion) evidently goes on long after the event is over or the combatant, removed from it.

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  2. Such sobering statistics. It's good to remember them (and have them pointed out!)

    Thank you for taking the time to visit. There's so much besides politics to talk about that I know you will never run dry on ideas. I'm hoping I can balance it out a bit, but it so very tempting to stay on a theme. I thoroughly enjoy reading your work and while a new vistor to The Other Side of Sixty, very much enjoy those refreshing visits and the chance to share a little of your world. Take care of you and that LEG. in peace, vp

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  3. Laura:
    I hope similar studies have been conducted elsewhere.
    These stats need be part of any military policy.
    XO
    WWW

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  4. VP2010:
    There's so much to discuss politically, etc., that one never runs out but I found that a lot of the time I felt such rage and powerlessness it was affecting my outlook so I started writing of the more personal and the smaller since the start of 2010.
    Now and again I break out in posts like the recent one on the horrific damage the Catholic Church as wrought on humanity or like the one of today.
    Thanks for your kind words.
    I look forward to visiting you again and have linked you on my sidebar.
    XO
    WWW

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  5. War (and invasion) injures people emotionally and we should not so blatantly send people off with guns and other military equipment to wage it. We act as if it is the most normal thing in the world, while no one in their right mind shoudl let their son or daughter want to take part in it.

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  6. The after-effects of war on the combatants are horrific and under-estimated. There's quite a lot of discussion about this in the UK and about the lack of treatment and services for those with serious disabilities, post traumatic shock and just simple inability to readjust to ordinary life. The effects can last a lifetime and be devastating not just to those who fought but their friends and relatives.

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  7. I feel so disheartened like you about the state of the world. Sometimes the feeling of powerlessness can be consuming and at times effecting ones health too...

    The other day when I watched that horrible video by Wikieaks, I felt physically and emotionally ill all day long... Sometimes I find myself crying for those who are suffering in wars and occupations, while I live in my comfortable suburban life... In fact, it makes me sick to think that some of my "tax dollars" go towards supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan....

    However, my way of fighting this is by writing about it in my blog...

    In a way I find, by getting my emotions and thoughts out on the screen is quite therapeutic...

    In short, I know exactly what you mean in this post... I am with you SISTA!....

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  8. Nora:
    Injures unto death, sadly. Cannon fodder for the corporations who make billions on supplying the weaponry, equipment and food.
    We are so unevolved as a species, n'est pas?
    XO
    WWW

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  9. Nick:
    Every country is affected and of course what comes to mind are the unfortunate "invadees" where there are no stats compiled to show the effects on the millions of children, often parentless, as the result of such criminal invasions of their homelands.
    XO
    WWW

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  10. Nevin:
    Blogging does help, I agree.I can't see your 'tubes as you know, due to Dialup Dementia.

    But from what you wrote it degrades us all to have these creatures amongst us. Animals don't behave like that and we need to have a new term. The word "monster" has been glamourized by the Disney machine.

    XO
    WWW

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  11. Like you, WWW, I tend not to refer to the present occupations as 'war', though they have much in common with it.

    As far as I can tell, contemporary 'wars' are, in the main, grotesque games played by frustrated madmen who manipulate others into sacrificing themselves for greed, power, and absurd ideologies.

    I see no glory in it. Rather, it's strongly symptomatic of a species that is either immature or deranged, or both.

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  12. The poisonous tentacles of war spread wide don't they WWW? The profits of war slide into the pockets of the powerful who care not a jot for the consequences of the source of their wealth. People, to them, are expendable - raw materials.

    If the 2 current two conflicts/invasions were to cease tomorrow - they'd start another, bigger dirtier one.

    It's sickening. But what can we do?

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