Wednesday, November 15, 2006

They also serve who only sit and count

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:32 PM Permalink

By Whom the Toll is Counted

No one asked Michael White to count the dead soldiers in Iraq.

He is not a military man, and he has no friends or relatives who serve. He is a guy with a Honda Civic, a mortgage and a job in a suburban office park. A guy with a wife and a 7-year-old daughter who has soccer games to go to.

But for almost 3 1/2 years — for no pay and no glory — White has kept a meticulous tally of every U.S. and coalition military fatality, posting the names and the numbers on his website, .
"The concept from the get-go was to get an accurate count," White said. "I'd pick up the morning paper and it would say the number was X, and then I'd hear a news report that said five more troops had been killed. But the next day in the paper the number was still X. It was always behind, and I wanted to know what the immediate tally was."
On Oct. 19, USA Today used's numbers to show the five deadliest days in Iraq thus far in 2006. (The deadliest was Jan. 7, when 18 U.S. troops were killed — nine of them in a helicopter crash).

Marine Corps Maj. Stewart T. Upton, a Defense Department spokesman, said he hadn't heard of the site before. "People should look to the Department of Defense for the official numbers," he said.
White has kept his site free of politics — largely because he has learned how much the families of troops rely on his numbers.

"It's awful hard to read those e-mails," he said. "You have to acknowledge their loss in a nonpartisan way. That's one reason the site's agenda is separate from my politics. It's documentary. It doesn't have a political agenda. It answers a question I want answered."


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