May Afghanistan Casualties: A Correction
In Tuesday’s piece about Afghanistan, I wrote:
U.S. fatalities climbed from five in April to 15 in May — close to the number of American troops killed that month in Iraq — where there are more than four times the number of U.S. troops.
I derived that figure by counting the number of casualties announced by the Pentagon, which emails casualty notices to reporters. (There were 19 U.S. fatalities in Iraq in May.) Today I saw this in an account of Defense Secretary Bob Gates hectoring Nato over Afghanistan:
Gates started by saying he is particularly impassioned about Afghanistan “because in May, U.S. casualties in Afghanistan exceeded our casualties in Iraq for the first time.”
I don’t quite know what I did wrong. It could be that the Pentagon didn’t announce the remaining U.S. fatalities at publication time. (DOD doesn’t announce until the family receives notification.) It could be that soldiers wounded in May could have passed away from their injuries in June and they were counted as May fatalities. It could be that I made an arithmetic error. In any event, what matters is that I was wrong. I meant no disrespect to the dead or to their families and I regret the error.