James Ridgeway

James Ridgeway

In 1965, James Ridgeway helped launch the modern muckraking era by revealing that General Motors had hired private eyes to spy on an obscure consumer advocate named Ralph Nader. He worked for many years at the Village Voice, has written 16 books, and has codirected Blood in the Face, a film about the far right. In 2012, he was named a Soros Justice Media Fellow.

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American Casualties in Iraq More than 44,000

| Thu Nov. 2, 2006 3:05 PM EST

Winslow T. Wheeler, former staffer at the Senate Budget Committee, currently working for the Center for Defense Information, has just published an extraordinary analysis of American casualties in Iraq which he says total more than 44,000 servicemen have died or been injured. (You can read his article at counterpunch.com.)

Here is a thumbnail rundown of his findings, which are mostly based on two well-known sources.

In October 2006, 104 uniformed American military personnel died in the war in Iraq. As of Nov. 1 of this year, 2,817 Americans have died in the war of all causes; 239 military personnel have been killed from other countries (UK: 120; "other": 119), for a grand total of 3,055 deaths from the coalition forces. (See these and more data at Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.)

More from Wheeler: "The leading cause of non-hostile deaths were vehicle accidents (201 deaths, or 7 percent of the total). Other causes included: helicopter accidents: 74, or 3 percent; weapon accidents: 76, or 3 percent; friendly fire: 8, or 0.3 percent; homicides: 7, or 0.2 percent; and suicides: 3, or 0.1 percent."

The wounded category is the most startling. "Contrary to the approximate 20,000 wounded that the press typically reports, the www.icasualties.org website reports the following: 14,414 wounded -- no medical air transport required; 6,273 wounded -- medical air transport required; 6,430 non-hostile injuries -- medical air transport required; 17,662 diseases -- medical air transport required."

Thus, he reports, "Grand Total: 44,779... Counting all forms of wounds, injuries, and illness, the total 'casualties' are more than twice the number typically reported in the press.''

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I Had My Bible and I Had My Gun

| Wed Nov. 1, 2006 11:21 AM EST

Conrad Burns, running behind in Montana's Senate race, is the beneficiary of an advertising campaign by the National Rifle Association -- 7 billboards; 4,143 radio ads on 88 stations; 1,824 cable tv ads; and inserts in 11 newspapers.

Nationwide, the NRA is all over this election. In a video ad running on Newsmax, the NRA describes how victims of hurricane Katrina had their guns forcefully yanked out of their hands by bullying cops. One elderly woman who was trying to protect her dogs says she was slammed against the wall and put in a headlock by the invading police when they saw she was clutching a pistol in one hand. Then there's the little old African-American minister woman who was plenty put out when the cops came to her house. "Why come and get my gun?'' she says in the ad. "I am a good citizen. What are you worried about me for? I am a widow.I am 65 and I am here by myself.''

But she wasn't scared: "I had my Bible and I had my gun.''

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