So we don't have enough troops in Iraq to medevac sick soldiers out, and the brass are lying about the number of afflicted soldiers? Juan Gonzalez writes this today in the New York Daily News:
Iraqis call it the Baghdad Boil or Black Fever - and it's attacking American soldiers.
In its most virulent form, the rare parasitic disease, known officially as Visceral Leishmaniasis, or VL, infects the kidneys and spleen and is usually fatal if left untreated.
A milder form leaves ugly lesions on the skin that can lead to permanent scarring.
Last month the Pentagon announced that 22 U.S. soldiers from the Middle East have come down with the milder form of the disease during the past year - 18 of them in Iraq, mostly around Baghdad and Nassiriya in the south. The others got sick in Afghanistan or Kuwait.
But the number infected could be much higher than military brass is admitting, two Army medics recently returned from Iraq told the Daily News last week.
"A lot of people are being medivacked for Leishmaniasis," said one medic, an Army sergeant back in the states on leave who asked not to be identified. "In briefing sessions several months ago, we were told the number of in-country cases was almost 800," he said.
And the most dangerous time for catching the disease is during the month of November.
According to the second medic, who also is a sergeant, some commanders are so strapped for manpower, they've started to resist shipping out all but the sickest soldiers....