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NYT: Pentagon altered casualty figures on website

Published: Friday February 2, 2007
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The New York Times reported today that the Pentagon has altered how nonfatal casualties are tallied on its website, thus resulting in lower casualty totals.

According to Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, deputy director of force health protection and readiness at the Defense Department, "the previous method of tallying casualties was misleading and might have made injuries and combat wounds seem worse and more numerous than they really were," the Times reports.



The old method lumped many problems under the label “casualties,” including illnesses, minor injuries and injuries from accidents, as well as wounds sustained in combat. But the public may assume that every casualty is a war wound, Dr. Kilpatrick said, so the site was changed to avoid misunderstandings.

On Monday, the bottom line of the Defense Department’s Web page on casualties in Iraq listed a total of 47,657 “nonmortal casualties.”

By Tuesday, the same page no longer showed a total for nonmortal casualties. The bottom line is now “total — medical air transported,” and the figure is 31,493.

The new total excludes 16,164 troops who were wounded but did not require medical air transport because their injuries were minor. The total does include combat wounds, nonhostile injuries and diseases serious enough for medical transport.