I know this isn’t something we don’t already know. But it occurred to me again or rather the grievous wounding of CBS News reporter Kimberly Dozier a few days ago brought it home to me with new force.
As far as I can remember, I don’t think a prominent US journalist has been killed in Iraq since Michael Kelly and David Bloom died at the very beginning of the conflict. (I know many lesser-known and/or non-US journalists have been killed, not to mention thousands of civilians; my point is not to set deaths of the prominent up as more consequential, only to use it as a point of illustration. So bear with me.)
So if we were to use the metric we usually go by in evaluating the human cost of the war for the US, you would say, no deaths in Iraq for name US journalists.
Yet, in the case of journalists — because we know them and their injuries get a lot of individual play — we can see that this gives a highly distorted impression of the underlying reality. Just off the top of my head I think I can think of something like a half a dozen ‘name’ journalists who’ve received horrible, life-changing injuries — Dozier, ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, Time’s Michael Weiskopf, who had his hand blown off by a grenade and others I’m probably just not remembering.
Again, I know it’s no revelation that a war’s cost is counted in the crippled and the maimed as well as the dead. But this little window into the war shows how much that number of the dead leaves unsaid, especially in this war in which, thankfully, medical technology is allowing many to survive who would surely have died in earlier conflicts.