After reading that Wolfowitz underestimated the number of American soldier casualties in Iraq:’
“WASHINGTON – Asked how many American troops have died in Iraq, the Pentagon’s No. 2 civilian estimated Thursday the total was about 500 ? more than 200 soldiers short.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was asked about the toll at a hearing of a House Appropriations subcommittee. “It’s approximately 500, of which ? I can get the exact numbers ? approximately 350 are combat deaths,” he responded
“He misspoke,” spokesman Charley Cooper said later. “That’s all.”
American deaths Thursday were at 722 ? 521 of them from combat ? since the start of military operations in Iraq last year, according to the Department of Defense (news – web sites). ”
I wanted to see if the Department of Defense website carried the story.
They did not.
Here are the headlines from that website:
Rumsfeld Cites Opportunities for Iraqis
WASHINGTON, April 30, 2004 ? Acknowledging that the road to a free and sovereign Iraq is “bumpy,” Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld pointed to a year of progress and said the Iraqi people have a “wonderful opportunity.” Appearing on the MSNBC program “Hardball” April 29, Rumsfeld told host Chris Matthews that “amazing things” have happened in Iraq since Saddam Hussein was driven from power.
Efforts in Afghanistan Pay Off
WASHINGTON, April 29, 2004 ? U.S. and coalition efforts in Afghanistan are paying off in that formerly Taliban-controlled country, Peter W. Rodman, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told House Armed Services Committee members today.
The Department of Defense website does report that Wolfowitz addressed the House appropriations subcommittee, the same meeting where he couldn’t remember how many American soldiers died in Iraq.
WASHINGTON, April 29, 2004 ? Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz asked a House appropriations subcommittee here today for more flexibility in how funding for security assistance programs in Iraq is spent.
However, the story does not mention his flub.
It would be tempting to think that because Wolfowitz could not recall how many American soldiers died (in fact, being off by about 200), Wolfowitz could be considered to be “out of touch” with how things are going in Iraq. While I don’t expect my government officials to be 100% accurate in every statistic they cite, I do require of my Department of Defense 2nd in Command to cite, with a better accuracy, the number of soldiers who have given their lives for this country. Perhaps he should have the Department of Defense news as his homepage.