Newspapers Change Reporting on Iraq Deaths

By: Seth Porges

Updated at 10:45 a.m. Eastern Standard Time

In an about-face, leading U.S. newspapers on Monday reported the number of total U.S. military deaths in Iraq, not just those the Pentagon attributes to combat or hostile action.

On Monday, USA Today, The New York Times, and The Washington Post all cited the number of total U.S. deaths in Iraq — 378 or 379 as of Monday, in addition to the killed-in-action number.

“Since the war began March 19, 378 U.S. service members have died: 251 from hostile actions and 127 from accidents and non-combat-related incidents,” USA Today reported.

The New York Daily News did not provide the total number of deaths since the war began but it published a chart breaking down both the combat deaths (141) and non-hostile deaths (102) since May 1.

In recent coverage, including an Oct. 30 online article, E&P has urged the press to report all deaths of U.S. personnel in Iraq, not just those classified as combat-related. Perhaps the 16 U.S. casualties in the Chinook helicopter shoot-down on Sunday inspired a change in course.

In that same Oct. 30 article, E&P noted that few papers routinely listed the total number of wounded or injured U.S. military personnel in Iraq. Again, interest seems to be growing in these numbers. On Monday, The Washington Post, in addition to mentioning the total troop deaths, noted that “The number of wounded U.S. soldiers also has begun to climb more steeply: 26 have been wounded this month, and 2,155 since hostilities began in March. Of those, a large majority were injured in action.”

On Sunday, The New York Times, which did not mention the total number of injured troops, did say that “For every soldier killed, Pentagon officials estimate, another seven are wounded.”

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