Iraq: How Many Troops?

So we’ve all gotten used to the idea of 140,000 troops in Iraq, and that Mr. Bush is going to splurge another 21,500 or so (actually, it turns out, about 35,000 since the 21,500 are combat troops and need a bit of support.) We know that the numbers of dead US military is about 3,100. If you’re really paying attention you might know there are over 47,000 non-mortal US casualties — from lacertions needing a sterile bandage to limbs and brain parts blown away.

Of course, per usual, this is not the whole story. Appearing from time to time, and last night from the mouth of Ted Kopple at NPR is the figure 100,000. They would be 100,000 contractors. Not military — though in large part ex military — doing much of the work the military did, in Vietnam for example: cooking, truck-driving, riding shotgun for the truck drivers, protection of the high and mighty. You name it they do it. AND, they are not being counted in troop size or in US casualties.

With at least 100,000 civilian contractors from the United States and elsewhere performing reconstruction and security duties in Iraq, the U.S. Senate’s current debate over troop levels has focused on only one part of America’s involvement in Iraq.

And this is from Ted Koppel who has, at other times, lauded the use of these contractors on the battle field.

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