Iraq Coalition casualty statistics

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This article is part of SourceWatch and Congresspedia coverage of the
Bush administration's war in Iraq
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Iraq Coalition Casualty Statistics are cited below. Includes links to: data, analysis, remembrance websites, and discussion of propaganda.

From Merriam Webster dictionary:

"Casualty: a military person lost through death, wounds, injury, sickness, internment, or capture or through being missing in action."

NB: Both the Pentagon and many media reports exclude wounded from their "casualty statistics". They may refer to some wounded soldiers, but then don't have a tally for them. In addition, soldiers injured in "non-hostile" circumstances aren't tallied either. Non-DOD US Government employees, e.g., State Department, aren't tallied either.


Mapping the Violence

IED Casualties

Related SourceWatch Resources

Data Sources

Comment: For a detailed discussion of data sources for military fatalities see Paul de Rooij's The Military Death Toll While Enforcing the Occupation of Iraq: A Weekly Data Sheet of US-uk Military Fatalities Post-May 1, 2003, updated weekly, DissidentVoice.org. The bottom section contains an annotated discussion of the main data sources.
NB: a basic problem with all resources is that once they focus on a slice of the data this may be a cause of disinformation. Example: Focusing exclusively on US military fatalities reduces the scale of the Iraq death toll because it excludes all the Iraqi casualties, all the other "coalition" casualties, non-coalition fatalities (e.g., UN staff), mercenary/contractor casualties, the wounded, etc. The proclivity for the media to focus on US fatalities is problematic, and all sources below are limited for the same reason — each focuses on a slice of the carnage.

Raw data or data for analysis ("Coalition" military data)

  • US soldiers CentCom Fatality announcements by U.S. Central Command in the Gulf. As soon as a fatality occurs, a very basic notification is made available on this official US-military website. Caveat: This listing is not complete, and it often leaves out some fatalities -- even some due to hostile causes. Further confusion is added because on a few occasions the fatality notification appeared in a release whose title had nothing to do with the incident leading to the death of a soldier, i.e., usually the heading indicates the nature of the press release, but this is not 100% the case. There are frequent errors, and if one cross checks with DefenseLink, Reuters, or AP, one finds errors in the number of soldiers killed and the dates of the event. NB: This website seldom announces fatalities due to "non-hostile" causes. Soldiers dying from accidents, heatstroke, suicide, etc., are usually only found in DefenseLink. Although very few obvious errors have been corrected in the past, for the past few month no corrections have been issued. Website reports on US military casualties exclusively, and it is updated daily (with delays when military action intensifies).
  • US soldiers US Department of Defense News Releases. A few days after the fatality has been announced by CentCom, there is a confirmation including the name and age of the soldier on this website. Again, the same problems found with CentCom are found here. However, "non-hostile" fatalities are usually only found on this webiste. While CentCom mentions instances of wounded personnel (and then only if in the same incident there have been fatalities), DefenseLink does not mention them. Although a few obvious errors have been corrected in the past, for the past few month no corrections have been issued. NB: There are quite a few errors in the announcements and sometimes it is not possible to reach the older records — a problem that seems to have been rectified recently, but it is not clear if the complete archive is available. Website reports on US military casualties exclusively, and it is updated daily.
  • British soldiers MOD: Operation Telic This is the British Ministry of Defense website, and it is very good quality. Note the fact that the notices given for the fatalities contain a tribute to the soldiers and express regret. This stands in stark contrast with the US military notifications that are cold renderings of some statistic. This website reports on British military casualties exclusively, and it is updated daily.
  • All "Coalition" soldiers Iraq Coalition Casualty Count (formerly known as LunaVille) Website tallies all military fatalities, and attempts to track the following: "contractor" fatalities, military injuries. A very good quality data source including most “coalition” fatalities. It has an excellent quality running news column — updated regularly. Some graphics and tables are available on the website. Downside: some of the time periods available for analysis are odd. However, this is a valuable website — the best website where one can obtain data for analysis and not for "remembrance". Note that this database removes CentCom announced fatalities if DefenseLink doesn't confirm them.
  • US soldiers Global Security Compiles data on US fatalities, and attempts to find contradictions or deliberate gaps by referring to official data. Important resource.
  • US-UK soldiers Paul de Rooij, The Military Death Toll While Enforcing the Occupation of Iraq: A Weekly Data Sheet of US-uk Military Fatalities Post-May 1, 2003, updated weekly, DissidentVoice.org. Contains a graph giving an overview of US-uk fatalities, a fatality forecast, monthly fatality averages, race/sex and age composition of fatalities, list of related articles, list of data resources, and a tally of the number of times prez Bush has visited soldiers in hospital or attended a funeral. The datasheet is meant to put into perspective the Pentagon reported numbers, and to highlight the creeping mendacity in their reporting.
  • US soldiers Graph: U.S. Military Deaths in the Conquest of Iraq. This is a simple graph of cumulative fatalities vs. time. It only uses official data for military fatalities, and therefore excludes other "coalition" fatalities, contractors, etc. It doesn't separate the "hot war" period from the occupation phase. Limited usefulness.
  • mostly US soldiers, some other Casualties in Iraq, AntiWar.com. Simple tabulations of fatalities and links to other data sources.
  • Overall Basic Statistical overview. Friends Services. Basic overview of stats of the US-Iraq war, and focuses on US fatalities.
  • US soldiers Calendar of US Military Dead during Iraq War, Cryptome. Includes month-by-month tally of the numbers of deaths and the "Names of the Dead and How They Died."

Remembrance websites

There are hundreds of remembrance websites in the U.S., and nearly every newspaper maintains one. Several right-wing groups also maintain extensive lists with special effects and so forth. Note however the limited usefulness of these websites. They only carry photos, basic bio data of the person, and the date of death. Nothing else. For research purposes most of these websites are useless.

  • US military Faces of Valor, Army Times. Announcement of US fatalities in Iraq or Afghanistan, basic bio-info, some photos. No analysis.
  • US military Fallen Warriors: Operation Iraqi Freedom, DefendAmerica.mil. Listing of soldiers by name, unit and "operation" (Iraq or Afghanistan). Source: official military website.
  • US-UK military Iraq War Online Memorial. Some portraits of fatalities, many photos missing, yet another tacky website (turn off sound).
  • US military honored by Gary Trudeau, Doonesbury. Single cartoon dealing with the list of US fatalities.
  • US military Fatality List, Houston Chronicle, basic searchable database dealing exclusively with US fatalities in Iraq.
  • US military Fatality List, USNewsLink, basic list of the names of fatalities per day.
  • US military Fatality list, TulsaWorld.com using AP data. Very basic list of fatalities (yet another one).
  • "Coalition" military Fatalities List, CNN, basic list of fatalities with (age, photo, hometown, cause of death, date of death, unit) Can be arranged by date or by name. No other analysis avaialable.

Remembrance websites down the memory hole

The initial patriotic fervor that the newspapers rode by publishing extensive lists of the fallen soldiers has been abandoned by several news organizations. Maybe these lists are having a detrimental effect on the public's appetite for this war, and it also brings forth a realization that the cost is likely to be very high for the forseable future.

  • US military Fatalities List Baltimore Sun, basic listing of names/photo/unit/date of fatality/circumstances. Stopped updating in February 2005.
  • Seattle Times, stopped updating in March 2004.

Veterans Groups sites

Analysis of data, interpretation, propaganda discussion

Comment: For a long list of articles dealing with military fatalities in Iraq see Paul de Rooij's The Military Death Toll While Enforcing the Occupation of Iraq: A Weekly Data Sheet of US-uk Military Fatalities Post-May 1, 2003, updated weekly, DissidentVoice.org.

Landmines and unexploded ordnance

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Andrew Weaver and Ray McGovern, "Troops Return to Painful Wait for Needed Help," Baltimore Sun (Common Dreams), February 4, 2007: "The California Nurses Association reported that in the first quarter of 2006, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 'treated 20,638 Iraq veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder, and they have a backlog of 400,000 cases.' A returning soldier has to wait an average of 165 days for a VA decision on initial disability benefits, and an appeal can take up to three years."

Friendly Fire

Comment: The exact extent of friendly fire will only surface sometime in the future…

Fragging

Fragging is the killing of soldiers or officers by a fellow soldier. There already has been at least one case of this in Iraq; before the war started in 2003 a soldier of "Arab" ancestry was harrassed by members of his own unit, and in response he lobbed a granade among them. In a DemocracyNow (March 2005) interview with a conscientious objector it was evident that fragging may be worrying the US army because when officers confront soldiers who voice dissent the first question they ask is: "are you intent on causing your unit bodily harm."

Major Bombings

Comment: This will be a fairly large article, just counting the external links found while searching for this article. NB: the only bombings that are reported are those where either (1) US or associated military were killed and (2) when a large number of civilians were killed. There are many bombings that aren't reported, e.g., a bomb that injures no one is ignored. On March 18, 2005, Patrick Cockburn stated about 3,000 attacks on "coalition" soldiers occur every day, and about half of those are IEDs. If so, the number of reported attacks is a fraction of the actual number. So, any listing of "major bombings" has the inherent problem of ignoring an underlying level of violence. The bombings that would be ignored also cause harm and destruction. The real issue of reporting major bombings is the fact that the US and British (2004 and 2005) bombings in Iraq are not reported by the media. The bombs used by the US military make the Iraqi resistance IEDs or even car bombs look puny by comparison. No "major bombing" list is significant without their inclusion.

  • Timeline: Iraq bomb attacks, BBC. List of major bomb attacks on "coalition", Iraqi soldiers/police, civilians. Begins May 1, 2003. Updated irregularly, and there is no sensible order in list. (Comment March 22, 2005: The BBC stopped updating this page in February 2004. Despite the fact that there have been many major bombings since this date, this page has not been updated. If it were kept current, perhaps it would be an uncomfortable reminder to the British public that the war has turned out very different from the original claims used to sell this war.)