Monday, January 16, 2006

US wounded declines by more than 25% 
USA Today is reporting a significant decline in the number of nonfatally wounded US troops in 2005, although the number of KIA remains statistically the same.

The number of wounded dropped from 7,990 in 2004 to 5,939, according to the Defense Department.

Here are my explainations:

1. The Battle of Fallujah was fought in 2004, which borrowed casualties from 2004n and front-loaded them into November of 2004 -- while also killing one or two thousand moojies who would otherwise have been causing casualties in 2005.

2. Improved offensive tactics, techniques, and procedures, including the large-scale fielding of the SMAW and those cool little robot cameras and fold-up-airplane minicams.

3. More Iraqi units are bearing more of the fight.

4. Improved IBA protection on the sides and shoulders.

5. Improved armor on vehicles.

6. New techniques are increasing the lethality of IEDs, without neccessarily increasing their frequency. Thus, an IED is more likely to cause a fatality than previously, thanks to advances in design.

6. The Army is taking gynecologists and psychiatrists and making infantry battalion surgeons out of them, while sending trauma surgeons and internists home. (Don't laugh, I've seen it happen!)

All these things, I think, add up to more than the difference in the number of wounded. But reasons #4 are purely defensive measures. No defensive measure ever decided a war. All wars are decided by the effective clobbering of the frog-faced heathen on the other side of the battlefield. And therefore, ultimately, only 1, 2, and 3 can be considered relevant.

One of my big media criticisms is that so much attention is focused on the purely defensive measures, and it crowds out attention on the offensive measures. But in the absence of effective offense, defensive measures accomplish nothing. In the absence of effective offensive measures, defensive measures do not reduce casualties - they only delay casualties until tomorrow and prolong the war.

An effective offense, in the long run, will reduce casualties. Ariel Sharon understood this. So did Patton. So did Rommel. Find the enemy, close with him, and kill him where he sleeps.

Splash, out


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