Half of all Iraq and Afghanistan GWOT veterans claiming disability benefits — 98% of claims are being approved.

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The number of veterans who have applied for and been awarded disability benefits just keeps going up.  It is far in excess of our original predictions.  The latest report from the Veterans Benefits Administration shows that only 1.8% of disability claims evaluated to date have been denied.  The other 98.2% of claims have been approved.  This brings the total number of GWOT veterans who have been “service-connected” for disabilities to 810,307  Nearly 50% of all veterans have filed claims.

  • Total Living GWOT Veterans:  1,847,047
  • Total who have filed disability claims:  914,193
  • Total who have been awarded disability benefits:  810,307
  • Total claims denied: 15,105
  • Pending claims:  168,702

 

 

Iraq Mortality estimated at more than 400,000

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A new peer-reviewed study estimated that mortality in Iraq during the war years resulted in 405,000 more deaths than would have occurred in the absence of the conflict.

Previous estimates of mortality in Iraq attributable to the 2003 invasion have been heterogeneous and controversial, and none were produced after 2006. The purpose of this research was to estimate direct and indirect deaths attributable to the war in Iraq between 2003 and 2011.     Mortality in Iraq Associated with the 2003–2011 War and Occupation.

The Watson Institute at Brown University, funded by the Eisenhower Institute, has published a wide-ranging new study of Iraq and Afghanistan war costs that was compiled by some 20 academic contributors and led by Professors Catherine Lutz (Brown) and Neta Crawford (Boston University).  Contributors include Andrew Bacevich (BU) , Winslow Wheeler (Center on Defense Information), Anita Dancs (National Priorities Project), Ryan Edwards (Queens College, NYU) and many others.  Linda Bilmes wrote the section of the report that estimates the costs attributable to veterans medical care and disability benefits.

The study focused particularly on war costs that have occurred (or been incurred but not yet paid) during the past decade since September 11, 2011.  It features important new work on the casualties and costs to defense contractors, and the social impact on military families.   The section by Winslow Wheeler analyzes the increases in the defense base budget over the past decade.  Portions of the report focus on costs to Iraq and to the region.   The website includes a range of charts and tables.    The study covers overlapping, but somewhat different ground, from the Stiglitz-Bilmes study.

SEE: http://costsofwar.org/

Army suicides hit record number in June 2010

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The number of Army suicides in June 2010 was the highest number in a single month since the Vietnam era.  Thirty-two troops are believed to have committed suicide.  Of those, 21 were on active duty, seven were serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, and eleven were not on active-duty.  See: the Department of Defense said.

Last year, a record-breaking 245 soldiers committed suicide. The Army seems on track to surpass that number this year, as 145 soldiers have taken their lives in the first half of 2010.  These statistics do not include the number of veterans who end their own lives. That figure surged 26 percent from 2005 to 2007, according to the Veterans Affairs Department.

SIGIR finds money for democracy-building in Iraq is misspent

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The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR),  issued a new report today looking at the use of grant funds given to the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute. The majority of the $250 million over five years in grants was supposed to help in building democracy, but instead it was largely spent on  security and overhead costs.

Only 41 percent of the $114 million  in the 7 DRL grants reviewed by SIGIR (there were 12 total) actually went to the programs. IRI’s money went heavily to security (57.2%) with about 7% on overhead;  while NDI spent about one-third on security (32.7%) but more on indirect overhead costs (17%).

Read the report:  http://www.sigir.mil/reports/pdf/audits/10-012.pdf

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