“Vietnam Syndrome” forces US military to conceal combat losses around the world.
The American army in the history of its existence has repeatedly fought outside its own country. Accordingly, it suffered losses. For example, in World War II, the United States lost 418 thousand people in Europe and Indonesia, more than 671 thousand were injured, 130 thousand were prisoners of war. Significantly less than in the Red (Soviet) army, which took the brunt of the war, however, the United States believes that the defeat of the German and Japanese army is solely their merit and losses were not in vain.
Then the situation changed – soldiers dying outside the United States began to be perceived in American society as a sign of government weakness. According to the principle: we can, but we should not.
In the early 50s of the last century, US troops as part of coalition forces participated in the war in Korea. According to various estimates, from 300 thousand to 480 thousand Americans were transferred to the peninsula. According to the New York Times, on July 21, 1953, officially declared US losses amounted to 37,904 troops killed, captured and missing.
The next, the largest armed conflict on the planet with US participation, took place in Vietnam, where, according to various estimates, up to 60 thousand American citizens died. This long and bloody war had dire consequences for the United States, both domestically and internationally. As soon as the Americans felt the scale of the country’s involvement in the war, disagreements sharply increased over government actions.
The US economy also suffered a serious blow, but the mood for a “mediocre war with great losses” prevailed in society. The Vietnam Syndrome, which shook the foundations of American society, also led to a certain adjustment in the US foreign policy, value orientations of average Americans, and domestic social policy.
Since then, American authorities have banned the army from sustaining heavy losses, without, however, abandoning its foreign policy using armed violence. The US Congress established for the military a certain “death quota”, which should not exceed the “critical mass”, which could affect the mood in society and cause anti-war protests. The losses continued, but they were already carefully concealed.
For example, during military operations in Iraq from 2003 to 2010, according to official figures, 4,423 US troops were killed and 31,942 were injured of varying severity. At the same time, according to the US Veterans Affairs Office, in the Iraq conflict and the Gulf War, the USA lost 73 thousand people killed.
According to the IRGC of Iran (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps), real American casualties amount to more than 11 thousand people. According to Iraqi rebels, 30 to 40 thousand US troops died in the conflict. It is also known that during this period 8 thousand people deserted from the US Army. The true data, most likely, lies somewhere in the middle, but in any case it is noticeably more than the information voiced by the Pentagon about its dead military personnel.
In general, the Americans have something to hide in their losses. So during the Allied Force operation in Yugoslavia in 1999, when the whole power of NATO fell on a small country, whose population is less than the population of New York, the Americans carefully concealed their losses. Then the US Congress allocated a “quota” for its losses of one hundred people to its military and, as claimed, they did not exceed it. In fact, the losses of both the Americans themselves and their allies were incomparably higher. According to official reports by representatives of the NATO military command, the operation against Yugoslavia was relatively bloodless and, allegedly, only a few aircraft were lost.
According to the Yugoslav side, in 78 days of NATO air raids, 61 aircraft, 7 helicopters, 30 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and 238 cruise missiles were shot down. The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff (GRU) then cited data on the loss of alliance forces comparable with the Yugoslav ones. Similar figures were voiced by Chinese military sources. In the United States, they tried to make the losses of that operation “invisible”, like aircraft using stealth technology, which were also shot down by Yugoslav anti-aircraft gunners.
Sometimes NATO officials talked too much about real losses to the Western media. At the very beginning of the operation, British Secretary of Defense George Robertson (resigned on October 11, 1999) recognized the loss of three English Tornado fighter bombers in the sky over Yugoslavia. American publications were not so frank because of the censorship of the Pentagon, but even there, the International Association for Strategic Studies a month after the outbreak of hostilities issued data that the Allied aviation losses amounted to 38 aircraft, 6 helicopters and 7 UAVs. However, after the end of Operation Allied Force, the final data on losses, including those on aviation, were no longer published.
That’s what NATO’s official recognition did not include restrictions, namely because of UAV losses – the alliance recognized 32 downed drones (this is even more than the Yugoslavs voiced). The fact of their loss is not related to the deaths of the pilots, so it’s not particularly and pitifully expensive equipment, the main thing is to exclude the loss of people – the “funeral” did not fly to the States and Great Britain. Only equipment was damaged, and it is in the arsenal of the United States quite a lot.
The NATO operation, in which the United States dominated, was curtailed after two and a half months. The final goal was never achieved, Serbia could not be broken in the end, the results in Kosovo are also quite dubious. The American military simply said: “Stop!”, The limit of losses of one hundred people was exhausted. According to some reports, the Allied forces lost more than 700 people in Yugoslavia, including Albanian mercenaries. The American military killed about two hundred. In Washington, they decided that further the situation should not be escalated.
Many, of course, remember Steven Spielberg’s movie, Saving Private Ryan, an American epic war drama that describes events during the Norman Operation of World War II. Almost the entire US army in Europe was saving (the real story) the last of the five Sullivan brothers who survived.
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No words – the film is amazing, it is no coincidence that it was awarded five Oscars and in December 2014 was included in the US National Film Register. There is a tough element of propaganda in the cinema – the United States does not abandon its citizens in any situation and is ready to give up all its strength to save the ordinary private. Even for this, dozens of other soldiers will die. But beautiful. And America knows that each of those who have a passport in their pocket will not be left without protection.
Americans hide the losses in any of their military adventures. They prefer only a beautiful picture of victories – against the background of a star-striped flag. Which coffins are covered with “a load of two hundred.” They prefer not to show.
They tried to hide the fact about the injured US troops in Iraq as a result of shelling by Iranian ballistic missiles now. After a retaliatory strike, in response to the assassination of Americans by General Qassem Soleimani, who fell at US bases in Iraq, the Pentagon immediately stated that there were no casualties. Like, retaliation did not take place and all these “scarecrows” of Tehran are not worth a damn. We spent time in the bunker, having received an appropriate warning.
Then, after eleven days, it became clear that there were still casualties – without casualties, only with head injuries. Well, nonsense by and large, something like a concussion. But the Pentagon tried not to advertise this fact, so as not to frighten the public. Do not worry about the possibility of a military operation in Iran. About the impending losses – not a word. And, apparently, there may be even more of them than in Vietnam.