In the first tally of its kind, a federal investigative agency has calculated that at least 719 people, nearly half of them Americans, were killed working on projects to rebuildIraq following the U.S. invasion in 2003.
The toll represents an aspect of the Iraq war that is rarely brought to public attention, overshadowed by the much higher number killed in combat as well as the billions of taxpayer dollars squandered on reconstruction.
There is no confirmed total number of Iraq war deaths. The U.S. military lost 4,488 in Iraq, and its allies a little over 300. The number of Iraq deaths has not been established but is thought to exceed 100,000.
Navy Cmdr. Duane G. Wolfe was among the 719. He was not fighting the insurgency, but it was fighting him.He was among the army of lawyers, engineers, contractors and others who paid a heavy price trying to put a broken Iraq and its shattered economy back together. Their deaths were recorded among the war's combat fatalities, but until now no one has carved out the "rebuilder" deaths as a subset of the overall casualty list.