Somehow the news releases on casualties given out lately by CENTCOM haven’t matched those given to public by the Department of Defense. In most cases it is minor matter of changing or omitting details before releasing the name of the killed soldier, but it does affect the picture public is been given of what is happening back in Iraq. It is as if Pentagon did not want the public to know what is really going on. Here are the two most prominent examples:
2nd of July CENTCOM news release:
U.S. ARMY SOLDIER DIES FROM WOUNDS
BAGHDAD, Iraq – A U. S. Army 352nd Civil Affairs Command soldier died of wounds received July 1, when his convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad.
The soldier had been transported to the 28th Combat Support Hospital, where he was receiving treatment but died despite efforts to save him. The name of the soldier is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
Later the same day DoD released their own statement:
The Department of Defense announced today that 1st Sgt. Christopher D. Coffin, 51, of Bethlemeh, Pa, died on July 1 on Highway 8 in Iraq. Coffin’s vehicle ran into a ditch while trying to avoid a civilian vehicle
Now I wonder, what on earth happened to that convoy, hit by an improvised explosice device, when the report got to DoD? It vanished? Never happened at all?
10th of July CENTCOM gave out a news release:
SOLDIER DIES IN NON-HOSTILE INCIDENT
BALAD, Iraq – A 4th Infantry Division soldier died on July 9 from a non-hostile gunshot incident. The soldier was evacuated to the 21st Combat Support Hospital and pronounced dead. The soldier’s name is being withheld pending next-of-kin notification. http://www.centcom.mil/CENTCOMNews/News_Release.asp?NewsRElease=20030733.txt
11th of July DoD released a News Release stating that:
Sgt. Melissa Valles, 26, Eagle Pass, Texas, died on July 9 in Balad, Iraq. Valles was assigned to B Company, 64th Forward Support Battalion, Fort Carson, Col. She died as a result of non-combat injuries. The incident is under investigation. http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2003/nr20030711-0189.html
Notice how “non-hostile gunshot incident” changed into a “non-combat injury”. I guess that “non-combat injury” is better in the view of the great majority still supporting the war back in states, but what will they think when the truth gets out… The truth about Pentagon, if not blatantly lying, at least bending the truth fed out to the media? In both cases we know that it was the DoD version of events that got into CNN, BBC and FOX-News. I wonder which version did the next of kin get? I wonder what they think of this?