MoD hides rising injury toll of Taliban bombs

#1
MoD hides rising injury toll of Taliban bombs

by Michael Smith and Brendan Montague

MORE than 100 British soldiers have suffered amputations and other debilitating injuries in the past year in Afghanistan, according to previously suppressed Ministry of Defence (MoD) figures that reveal the true toll of the Taliban’s roadside bombing campaign.

The number of troops losing limbs or eyes, suffering serious burns or permanent brain damage has increased dramatically since August 2007 when the Taliban intensified their efforts.

During the past 18 months, 37 of the 71 British troops killed are known to have been the victims of roadside bombs or mines, but the number of troops disabled in the attacks has never been fully disclosed.

Figures obtained by The Sunday Times from medical sources show that 37 soldiers suffered “life-changing injuries” between April 2006, when they first deployed to southern Afghanistan, and the end of that year.

There were 55 such injuries during the whole of 2007. Last year the figures more than doubled to 114 and there have been 12 cases this year. ...
Sunday Times article
 
#2
Campaigners claim the MoD is deliberately keeping the human cost of the war out of the public eye. They say the government must fund long-term care for maimed or mentally disabled soldiers instead of relying on charities such as Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.
 
#3
A similar subject was covered on another thread.

The information is freely available and the MOD have not tried to hide anything.

Sorry don't have any links to the info.
 
#4
#5
dingerr said:
A similar subject was covered on another thread.

The information is freely available and the MOD have not tried to hide anything.

Sorry don't have any links to the info.
Thanks, dingerr.

It is the figures themselves which I found most striking, even though I have seen similar figures before.

As already pointed out, saving more lives by improved protective equipment and faster access to advanced treatment inevitably leaves a higher proportion of survivors with serious longterm injury.
 
#6
The information is freely available and the MOD have not tried to hide anything.
The figures for life-changing injuries are NOT freely available. The statistics that are available are for very seriously injured, seriously injured and injured. That is a different thing altogether. You can be vsi and recover completely.

The point here is the large number of people who have suffered life-changing injuries, not just amputees, brain damage, blinding etc has risen dramatically as a result of the IED offensive.

The campaigners want to ensure that the figures are recognised and more to the point that troops who leave the service having suffered this type of non-recoverable injury are not just dumped on the NHS and the Social Security Agency or left to the charities to pick up. They were disabled while fighting for the state, the state should make proper provision for them.
 
#7
See the remark about even the strongest vehicles are still resulting in leg injuries as (presumably) the vehicle gets lifted and the edge of the seat breaks your thigh or the floor breaks your ankle/lower leg?

Lifeboats have shockabsorber seats - would another couple of inches of very hard foam rubber on the seats and floor make any difference, or would it take something much more dramatic - a floating crew compartment, or full sprung seats and floor?

Would a virtual recline seat (say 30 degrees) supporting the whole body be practical?

Mastiff 2 has - "The explosive attenuating seats of the Mastiff 2 are among the most effective features that can improve the operator's self-protection because they can provide him with better protection when facing an impact".
 
#8
micksmith said:
The figures for life-changing injuries are NOT freely available. The statistics that are available are for very seriously injured, seriously injured and injured. That is a different thing altogether. You can be vsi and recover completely.
What more do you want and why? The categories you listed (VSI etc) cover all aspects of those injured. How much further down this road do you want the government to go? Another pointless (and funded) department producing more statistics that are not required.

micksmith said:
The point here is the large number of people who have suffered life-changing injuries, not just amputees, brain damage, blinding etc has risen dramatically as a result of the IED offensive.
IED Offensive? That's just media talk because they have heard a buzzword to latch onto. There has always been an IED threat, it has just increased. This is due to two reasons (and it happens in most campaigns)
a) They can't take match our firepower and take us on face to face.
b) They observe our TTPs and target our weaknesses.

micksmith said:
The campaigners want to ensure that the figures are recognised and more to the point that troops who leave the service having suffered this type of non-recoverable injury are not just dumped on the NHS and the Social Security Agency or left to the charities to pick up. They were disabled while fighting for the state, the state should make proper provision for them.
I couldn't give a fuck if various figures are published or not, most of the British public don't give a monkey's about what is happening outside the UK, death of service personnel only rates low on the media reporting list, coming in after the likes of Chav scum like Jade Goody.

Troops are getting looked after (not withstanding some bureaucrats) and that's the important thing.
 
#9
You seem remarkably complacent Dingerr.

I explained why the vsi figures are not relevant here.

Troops get top class medical treatment all the way down the line, MERT, Bastion, Selly Oak, Headley Court and beyond if they stay in.

It is the ones who suffer life-changing injuries, who will need long-term care, who don't stay in the army, for whom the campaigners are looking to get something proper sorted out and given the tenor of your post you ought to be supporting their efforts.

The IED offensive is not some media invention, 37 out of 71 killed since the offensive began in earnest at the end of August 2007 tells its own story and given your accurate description of the reasons behind the offensive you must know that.

As for your complaints over the media reporting of soldiers' deaths, every death gets reported, the length of the report depends on the information given out and by and large initial reports are shorter because of the need to inform NOK. The MoD waits 24 hours and then puts something out, a name, a photo, a limited amount of information on what happened and eulogies. If you are arguing that every paper should publish something then, I agree with you. But most actually do. I can't stop people writing about Jade Goody. I wish I could, sad as I feel for her right now.
 
#10
So are people only getting interested because of the increase in IEDs?

It's not complacency it's cynicism. I have little interest in people looking for data, especially as it appears the media wants it. Data makes the media's life easier. A given statistic is easy to report on; and twist as the media sees fit.

I'm all for those that campaign and support British Troops, but you'll find that most of these deal with the person and not the data. We are more than just a number after all.

What defines it as an 'IED offensive' as opposed to the current rule of assymetrical warfare utilising IEDs to attack a surperior force? The media wasn't that interested with the IEDs in Iraq nor are they interested with IEDs currently in NI. As I have said they have latched onto something and sensationalised in a bid to sell more copies.
 
#11
They are concerned because the increased use of IEDs is causing so many life-changing injuries (which was explained in the article).

they are not concerned that those affected wont get good treatment while they are in, they are concerned that there are rising numbers of people out there who should get the sort of long-term care - properly funded by government - that is not currently provided once they leave except by people like RBL and Blesma.

The reason the lack of data on this is an issue, is in part because the public ought to know. There ought to be a recognition of the sacrifice, just as there should be a recognition of the sacrifice of the dead. And if the public did know the pressure to do something long-term would grow.

As I say, those who have suffered this type of injury are fine while they are in, it is the long-term potential problem that some will eventually face that the campaigners hope to pre-empt and avoid.
 
#12
The IED offensive is not some media invention, 37 out of 71 killed since the offensive began in earnest at the end of August 2007 tells its own story and given your accurate description of the reasons behind the offensive you must know that.
Mick, not all devices that have caused death or injury are attributable to insurgent laid IEDS.

God alone knows, literally, how many legacy devices remain.

http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1051546.html
 
#13
not all devices that have caused death or injury are attributable to insurgent laid IEDS.
I realise that PTP but - possibly for psyops reasons - a number of deaths have been blamed on legacy mines rather than IEDs and relatives have been told later it was in fact an IED. That happened with Makin who's mum is quoted in the piece, thought not I think on that issue. At any event, the MoD admits the intensification of the use of IEDs as does the government generally.

There has been a fourfold increase in the use of improvised explosive devices in Helmand province over the past year.
David Miliband, House of Commons, 5 February 2009
Miliband, who obviously doesnt have any psyops advisers, famously said the other day that the Taliban's extensive use of IEDs had led to a "strategic stalemate".

That said the more general point of the article is the increase in life-changing injuries and while the increase is a result of the IEDs it doesnt really matter how they are caused, the potential for long-term problems at some point in the future is there and it is a good thing people are addressing the issue.
 
#14
micksmith said:
I realise that PTP but - possibly for psyops reasons - a number of deaths have been blamed on legacy mines rather than IEDs and relatives have been told later it was in fact an IED. That happened with Makin who's mum is quoted in the piece, thought not I think on that issue. At any event, the MoD admits the intensification of the use of IEDs as does the government generally.
Are you a journo? Why would you put this down to PsyOps reasons? The reason why there is confusion as to a mine strike or an IED is that the results are often the same. There is no attempt to mislead.

Milliband's an arse its clear he doesn't know what he is talking about. If we are at a strategic stalemate we either pack up and come home, or we do something about it. I notice he didn't touch on either subject.
 
#15
Mick , to be blunt, Milliband , in my own personal opinion, is an out of his depth, dangerously ignorant , terminally clueless, immature clown of the first water.

His interview on BBC24 the other night, was a case study in Rabbits trapped in headlights. Stephen Sackur had him in the corner, and would probably have beaten him to death if he hadn't felt sorry for him.

The very thinly disguised contempt Sackur conducted the interview with , was palpable. I was left thinking , how on God's green earth can this clueless floundering fool be Foreign Secretary. If Hutton wasn't shaping up to be such a damn fine SoS Defence , I'd suggest him for the role.

I will continue to give Milliband a pointed ignoring. My Mother has a firmer grip on Foreign Affairs than he does.
 
#16
dingerr said:
micksmith said:
I realise that PTP but - possibly for psyops reasons - a number of deaths have been blamed on legacy mines rather than IEDs and relatives have been told later it was in fact an IED. That happened with Makin who's mum is quoted in the piece, thought not I think on that issue. At any event, the MoD admits the intensification of the use of IEDs as does the government generally.
Are you a journo?
Wakey wakey dingerr.

micksmith is the very same Michael Smith who penned the article originally quoted. He's defending his own work.
 
#17
I'm such a clumpet :oops:

He can't defend the indefensible.
 
#18
It's easy to sit on the sidelines and easily appreciate both perspectives put by dingerr and micksmith.

Anecdotally, the RBL are (based on one county) seeing their caseload go through the ceiling, and in a "competitive" marketplace for our cash - doing more with less on an increasing frequency.

My trouble in "believing" the government messages of support for forces pers injured on ops, is based numerous conversations with RBL CFO's and Caseworkers, and hearing of the actual work they are subsidising. Much of this charitable work, falls (IMHO) at the door of the government to fund and resource, and NOT the RBL. So, although the figures (the drill down will be debated forever) are available, it is hardly surprising that the media do question the longer term impact of en action on our pers when such a large amount of charity spend is having to be spent in this manner.

Agreed re the comments on our glorious flapping FS. Best warn your Mum off PTP - fan of caravaning holidays per chance?!
 
#19
Miliband , in my own personal opinion, is an out of his depth, dangerously ignorant , terminally clueless, immature clown of the first water.
Or he's taking the foreign office position which has seemed throughout to be: you boys go down there and do the dangerous stuff, we'll stay on the sidelines pontificating about how there can't be a solely military solution!
 
#20
...I'm all for those that campaign and support British Troops, but you'll find that most of these deal with the person and not the data. We are more than just a number after all...
Superficially that seems an attractive argument: "Service charities care for the person not the number." Only journos are interested in the statistics, and then only in order to sell newspapers, albeit to a public which "doesnt give a monkeys".

Look at the charities themselves though, and you will find that several make a point of the rising demand for their services. H4H was founded on the fact that British forces are sustaining a level of casualties which is unprecedented in recent times, and that existing provision was insufficient to meet their needs now and in the future.

Another view is that these sad statistics do matter, and that in a country which leaves so much of the provision for injured veterans to charity and public fundraising, it is pointless to attack the media for drawing attention to them.
 

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