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Iraq Coalition Casualties Count
January 17, 2004 10:48 AM   Subscribe

Iraq Coalition Casualties Count
posted by anastasiav (38 comments total)

 
Apparently the only place on or off the web you can get a complete accounting of US and Allied Soldiers killed or wounded in Iraq. Some background on this site can be found in this Slate article. Whatever your take on military action in Iraq, the question remains -- why is the best source for this factual information a private citizen and not the Pentagon? Doesn't the government have an obligation to make facts such as these easily available to anyone?
posted by anastasiav at 10:48 AM on January 17, 2004


Well, we've broken 500 deaths with more to come, and thousands wounded...are there still people who think this war on Saddam was worth it?
posted by amberglow at 11:02 AM on January 17, 2004


598 US and allied soldiers dead.
2893 wounded.

How many dead and wounded on the "other side"?
posted by ruelle at 11:13 AM on January 17, 2004


"Doesn't the government have an obligation to make facts such as these easily available to anyone?"

Morally, yes, imho.

In reality, there's Bush's Lysenkoism
posted by lathrop at 11:21 AM on January 17, 2004


Here is a chart based on that data. Another good (but sad) source is Today in Iraq.

ruelle: Between 7968 and 9801.
posted by subgenius at 11:28 AM on January 17, 2004


..are there still people who think this war on Saddam was worth it?

“We have found mass graves with women and children with bullet holes in their heads.” (BBC)

Absolutely.
posted by ednopantz at 12:12 PM on January 17, 2004


Oh and anastasiav, good post. The raw data is a boon to understanding what is otherwise a collage of divergent, impressionistic reporting.
posted by ednopantz at 12:32 PM on January 17, 2004


Actually, even though there is less raw data, and sometimes don't get updated over the weekend, I like this list by date and this list in alphabetical order of the dead. Partly because there are pictures, putting a human face on the deaths, and partly because both are on really big unfloodable pipes.
posted by ilsa at 12:44 PM on January 17, 2004


Jeez, ednopantz. They should really fire whoever was in charge of the CIA when that was going on. Imagine all those lives that could have been saved if they knew what was going on at the time.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:47 PM on January 17, 2004


They should really fire whoever was in charge of the CIA when that was going on.

You say this as if the mass murder had stopped at some point.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:29 PM on January 17, 2004


You say this as if the mass murder had stopped at some point.

The Kurds were gassed and Saddam passed on the Reagan-Bush41 dime.
Remember those calls for the Iraqis to rise up in 1991?
The Shia were massacred on the Bush41 dime.
Deposing Saddam in 2003 didn't save any of the above.
posted by y2karl at 2:04 PM on January 17, 2004


In the latest discovery in the town of al-Mahawil, near al-Hilla, Iraqis have dug up some 3,000 bodies from a site that is said to contain up to 15,000 "disappeared" people: Shia Uprising 1991.

3,000 bodies exhumed at Iraq mass grave:Shia Uprising 1991.

Mass Graves of Children Found: Kurdish Uprising 1991.

If you can find a mass grave dating from after 1991, feel free to post it.
posted by y2karl at 2:25 PM on January 17, 2004


You say this as if the mass murder had stopped at some point.

its too bad the new found defenders of human rights from the right have permanent blinders on ... when are you guys going to put "liberate Chechnya", "liberate aceh" or "liberate Uzbekistan" - or in fact "liberate Palestine" (all partners in the "war on terror") signs in your front yards?
posted by specialk420 at 2:39 PM on January 17, 2004


Sigh. I knew this was going to happen.

Not to try and moderate my own post, but I didn't post this to encourage discussion about the 'rightness' or 'wrongness' of the war. That's all water under the bridge at this point - we're there and we can't go back and uninvade. My question remains the same -- why is it left to private individuals (or even privately owned news organizations) to compile these sorts of lists? Shouldn't it be the responsibility of the government to make these figures publicly and easily accessible to the citizens? Why does Mike White have to get his information from "a civil servant in Baghdad" rather than directly from his own government?
posted by anastasiav at 2:48 PM on January 17, 2004


My god, anastasiav, can you imagine what would happen if the government were to make a news release every time a soldier died in Iraq?

The man would be un-re-electable.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:59 PM on January 17, 2004


Because the administration wants to suppress the information--civilian casualties were not counted for the very same reason.
posted by y2karl at 3:03 PM on January 17, 2004


Anyway, enough of that dead horse.

anastasiav, my theory is that it is private because the media has become a field of battle. The insurgents (what,maybe 10,000 guys with scavenged weapons and old banknotes) don't have a prayer of beating the coalition's 150K+ forces. They can only win if the US perceives this as an unwinnable quagmire. To compile that kind of data would be a huge strategic blunder.

Of course, there are obvious political reasons too, but they aren't the only reasons. The govt is something like 4 million people, not all of them want to see Bush reelected.
posted by ednopantz at 3:06 PM on January 17, 2004


The insurgents (what,maybe 10,000 guys with scavenged weapons and old banknotes) don't have a prayer of beating the coalition's 150K+ forces. They can only win if the US perceives this as an unwinnable quagmire.

Developments in Iraq at the End of 2003 PDF
Anthony H. Cordesman

At this point in time, the real issue is what the US can achieve between the end of 2003 and some point no later than the end of 2005, when it will have largely or totally exhausted its ability to directly influence events in Iraq.

The prognosis is mixed at best. The US may be able to start a great deal in the time it has remaining in Iraq, but there is little it will be able to finish or even be sure it can build up enough momentum so that Iraqis will execute US plans in the future. As a result, it is necessary to consider what now seems likely to happen after that exit occurs before one even considers the events leading up to a US exit....

A few experts feel that the US can reduce the impact of attacks to minimal levels by the spring of 2004. They feel that US intelligence is making major improvements, and that the insurgents are led by former regime loyalists from the upper and middle ranks of five extended families from a few villages near Tikrit, and centered around Auja (Saddam's birthplace), Dawr, and Abu Ajeel. If these networks can be destroyed, they feel the resistance may largely collapse.

Most experts, however, are far less optimistic. They feel the direction of the insurgent effort is far more diffuse, and that dismantling the structure most loyal to Saddam will simply lead other insurgents to act who are Ba’ath loyalists, Arab and Iraqi nationalists, Islamic extremists, Sunnis who fear a Shi’ite takeover, and foreign volunteers.

It seems likely that the US and its allies will continue to take similar levels of casualties long in to 2004 and may well continue taking casualties until the day they depart Iraq. No one can do more than make the roughest guesses about the future, but 2004 may well cost another 360 US dead and 2,640 wounded.

The costs to its allies are likely to be proportionate, and the costs to Iraqis will probably be much higher – reaching several thousand more Iraqi civilians, officials and security forces. It also seems likely that the insurgents will seek to steadily broaden the scope of the war beyond the so-called Sunni triangle (The area including Bayji, Tikrit, Balad, Baqubah, Baghdad, Fallujah and Ramadi).

The US will have to go through an election year, having to retrench on a commitment not to seek more aid funds in FY2005 and facing a constant stream of casualties. It will almost certainly do so having failed to find enough weapons of mass destruction to justify the prewar assessments of the threat, and discovering by the day that the reality of Iraqi nation building will fall far short of the goals of those neoconservatives (and some liberals) who saw the fall of Saddam Hussein as a “transformational” event for the entire Middle East.

No matter how well coalition and Iraq security forces do in fighting the insurgents, there are certain to be some terrible moments. US political sensitivities are well known to both former regime loyalists and Islamic extremist terrorists. So are the dates for key primaries, Congressional hearings, and speeches.

The example of Israel is also one that needs careful consideration. Attackers do not need to maintain a constant level of attacks; they only need to hit hard at critical points in time and the political sensitivity of the target will always be as important as the casualties produced. Only sheer luck can prevent at least one incident on the scale of “Blackhawk Down” or the Marine Crops Barracks. An election year is a poor time to call for bipartisan restraint, and it is already clear that little may be shown...

There are real world limits on what the US can do to stay the course that could become all too apparent during the course of 2004. The US will have to accept the strategic cost of leaving Iraq if loses the support or tolerance of the Iraqi people as a whole at any time before the end of 2005, or if it should lose the tolerance of the Shi’ite majority.


We shall see...
posted by y2karl at 3:53 PM on January 17, 2004


"The war was just because of the mass graves."

"Those mass graves are from decades ago when we knew they were happening."

"Let's stop beating this dead horse."

Right.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:57 PM on January 17, 2004


That's all water under the bridge at this point - we're there and we can't go back and uninvade. My question remains the same -- why is it left to private individuals (or even privately owned news organizations) to compile these sorts of lists?

There are, as far as I can see, only a few possible reasons:

(1) They don't know the numbers
(2) They don't have the resources to prepare and distribute the information
(3) They don't want to

#1 would indicate a complete abdication of basic stewardship and indicate a level of incompetence more associated with losing wars than winning, so I'm willing to rule it out. #2 is possible, I suppose, but pretty much rendered rather improbable if a private citizen can do it part-time.

I suppose #3 is what's left.
posted by weston at 4:08 PM on January 17, 2004



ednopantz - We've got Saddam Beat by 8 a day. (read the bold)


"A human rights official for the US-led administration in Iraq announced that they expected to find some 300,000 Iraqis who had been killed by Saddm Hussein's regime in the last 23 years buried in over 250 mass graves. 300,000 savage murders, some the result of terrible torture, divided by 8400 days, works out to, oh...almost 36 brutal deaths a day.

The United States Air Force, Navy, Marines, Special Forces, Grey Fox, and a few Tornadoes from England and Australia began bombing Iraq around March 20, 2003. From that date to, say, Nov 10th, comes to 235 days. According to IraqBodyCount.net, about 10,500 Iraqi civilians have either been killed by us, or by the ensuing anarchy after the war. 10,500 deaths in 235 days comes to a little over 44 deaths per day.
"
(link)

then read this
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 8:33 PM on January 17, 2004


Four Wars and Counting: Rethinking the Strategic Meaning of the Iraq War {PDF} - Iraq and Asymmetric Warfare: The US vs. FRL/Islamist Duel {PDF} - Developments in Iraq at the End of 2003: Adapting US Policy To Stay The Course (PDF)
Anthony Cordesman More Here
posted by y2karl at 11:00 PM on January 17, 2004


Oh, the double post part just above was unintentional--I toyed with making that comment a front page post a day or two ago but decided against it. Too IraqFilter. On a related topic: Iraq Rebels Seen Using More Skill to Down Copters. This and the above comment are pretty much info dump and you decide.
posted by y2karl at 11:19 PM on January 17, 2004


One point about the actual content of the post - the US and coalition wounded number cited. The "evacuation count" - of military personnel evacuated from Iraq and sent stateside for medical treatment for all causes - illness, accidents of all sorts, especially traffic accidents, "friendly fire", "hostile fire", and so on is over 20,000 and counting. Now in a relatively small percentage of cases, individuals show up in this count more than once as they are sent to the States for medical treatment and then sent back to Iraq following said treatment.

That number does not include British or other coalition forces' casualties, nor does it include casualties from the Afghanistan theatre.

There is a rather large discrepancy between those numbers and the "hostile fire" wounded count from anastasiev's post - which is the standard figure, by the way. I am not challenging that figure per se. That is the official count of US hostile-fire wounded in Iraq.

But, my figure cited above is also an official count. Over 20,000 evacuations to the US for medical treatment.
posted by troutfishing at 7:58 AM on January 18, 2004


There sure are a surprising amount of drownings.
posted by milovoo at 8:55 AM on January 18, 2004


The point is that killing soldiers isn't winning. Knocking a chopper out of the air isn't the same as denying your enemies the ability to use choppers.

Knocking down the chopper isn't an end in itself. Killing the soldier isn't an end in itself, they are means to acheive goals.

The Pentagon missed this point in the late 1960s and the "quagmire" folks have missed this point today.

Oh, and I don't put a whole lot of stock in Tony Cordesman's ability to predict the future. He is a lot better bean counter than soothsayer.

tryp, you note that in the last 9 months of war, the coalition has killed proportionally more noncombatants than Saddam did during the entirety of his reign. By judging these actions solely on their cost in lives you are arguing that it is as bad to kill innocents (through accident or negligence in an effort to destroy fascism as it is to kill them (by design) to impose and maintain it.

Is there no really difference between putting in the wrong coordinates (or having your foes use a Russian GPS jammer to guide your missiles into civilian areas and spare military targets (double parenthetical snarking: if the US used people as human sheilds like this people would have gone apeshit, but the Baathists get a pass)) and lining up civilians and machine gunning them, then bulldozing their bodies into mass graves?

Are you really arguing that there is no difference betwen mass manslaughter in the act of destroying fascism and mass murder one in the act of preserving it?

If the characters were reversed, with the Iraqis accidentially (and maybe negligently) killing the innocent while destroying one of the world's most oppressive regimes and the Americans deliberately massacring them to impose such a regime, would you condemn the Iraqis for their interference?

I think not.

If your ethics can't survive a reversing the protagonists, you should re examine them. All else is cheerleading.
posted by ednopantz at 2:23 PM on January 18, 2004


The insurgents (what,maybe 10,000 guys with scavenged weapons and old banknotes) don't have a prayer of beating the coalition's 150K+ forces.

And that isn't cheerleading?

They can only win if the US perceives this as an unwinnable quagmire.

Cordesman's thesis above is that neither side can achieve their objectives. Saddam is out of power and can't threaten us with his rudimentary weapons programs but what else did we get for our bangs and our bucks? Judging from their election year driven bug out schedule, that the present administration appears to perceive this as an unwinnable quagmire already.
posted by y2karl at 2:49 PM on January 18, 2004



The point is that killing soldiers isn't winning.

With the word insurgents substituted for soldiers, is that sentence less true?

From jbou's link here:

Yet if predicting the future is a hopeless endeavor, learning from the past is not. The counterinsurgency books that Nagl studied do impart an important lesson. The goal the United States hopes to reach in Iraq -- a successful counterinsurgency that does not drag on for years and does not involve a large amount of killing -- has never been achieved by any army.
posted by y2karl at 3:03 PM on January 18, 2004


you are arguing that it is as bad to kill innocents (through accident or negligence in an effort to destroy fascism as it is to kill them (by design) to impose and maintain it.

Innocent is innocent, and dead is dead. Heads you die, tails, I kill you. We had to destroy the village blah blah blah.

I read yesterday that the father-son regime in N. Korea is responsible for 3.5 million brutal deaths. Does this mean the U.S. would be justified in killing 3,500,000 or so civilians to liberate them? Because if that's true - why not drop a half dozen nukes, and call it a day?
posted by bashos_frog at 3:25 PM on January 18, 2004


The insurgents (what,maybe 10,000 guys with scavenged weapons and old banknotes) don't have a prayer of beating the coalition's 150K+ forces.

And that isn't cheerleading?


Its unclear is what it is. Let's get rid of "beat " and go with what I was thinking instead of typing: Insurgents...don't have a prayer of forcing the coalition to relinquish control of Iraq due to an inability to supply, move, and reinforce their troops. In other words, Dien Bien Tikrit just isn't going to happen.

Yes, counting insurgents is just almost silly as counting soldiers, which is why that would be a stupid way to evaluate success or failure. Note the Pentagon isn't doing this. They have learned something from the Vietnam experience.

The number that I think is interesting is the rising cost of a dead US soldier. The insurgents have to be paid to attack US forces because it is a really risky endeavor. (I can't find the news source on this one.)

Nagl is obviously a clever guy, and the message I got from the piece was that simplistic understandings don't fit the reality. Guerillas can be beat, but it takes brains, mostly local ones, which explains why the formation of the IP and ICDF are key objectives.

I would also note that romanticism is the enemy of understanding: Many have a belief in the power of guerilla armies that is at odds with their track record. Everybody mentions Vietnam, nobody mentions the dozens of insurgencies that increase misery around the world without achieving their objectives. Despite fifty years of Marxist guerilla warfare, only two (?) countries in Latin America have seen guerillas march into the presidential palace.
posted by ednopantz at 3:32 PM on January 18, 2004


bashos: so murder one and manslaughter are the same thing: to the victim, maybe, but we recognize this distinction in our legal and ethical codes. Why shoudn't we in politics.

I would suggest that "dead innocents from doing nothing" and "dead innocents from doing something," "oppressed innocents from doing nothing," "free innocents from doing something" should be a part of the moral calculus in matters of war and peace. Is that so insane? I don't claim to have perfected the science, but obviously these should be used in making and judging these decisions, not just slamming your favorite enemies (be they country club Republicans or leisure suited dictators).

I'm at a loss as to why this seems so radical a concept other than the obvious fact that it undermines the demonolgy of a certain inarticulate Texan that mefi-ers love to hate.
posted by ednopantz at 3:44 PM on January 18, 2004


I would also note that romanticism is the enemy of understanding: Many have a belief in the power of guerilla armies that is at odds with their track record.
posted by y2karl at 3:46 PM on January 18, 2004


Here is a detail of my point - as high as 22,000 medical evacuations to the US since the beginning of the invasion of Iraq ( my thanks to Brad Delong for publicizing these numbers )

A whole division's worth of casualties
posted by troutfishing at 4:04 PM on January 18, 2004


OK, whatever. This is a waste of time.
posted by ednopantz at 4:22 PM on January 18, 2004


ednopantz - I hope you don't think I'm arguing with you. I don't have the time to do it justice right now - so that's between you and y2karl, I'd say.
posted by troutfishing at 5:34 PM on January 18, 2004


What is a waste of time is trying to talk to someone who labels anyone disagreeing with him as indulging in the demonology of a certain inarticulate Texan that mefi-ers love to hate. Talk about a straw man.
posted by y2karl at 6:05 PM on January 18, 2004


bashos: so murder one and manslaughter are the same thing: to the victim, maybe, but we recognize this distinction in our legal and ethical codes. Why shoudn't we in politics.

That's so nice.

Now you tell us right now who gets to make these judgments, mmmkay? No doubt this magical moral authority and hocus pocus like "mass manslaughter in the act of destroying fascism and mass murder one in the act of preserving it" that you are peddling doesn't just come down to the bullshit of "us" verus "them", right?

Right?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:47 PM on January 18, 2004


People killing people dying
Children hurtin you hear them crying
Can you practice what you preach
Would you turn the other cheek?
Father Father Father help us
Send some guidance from above
Cause people got me got me questioning
Where is the love? Where is the love? The love?

posted by nyukid at 4:44 AM on January 21, 2004


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