US Fatalities Mount as Bush Vows to ‘Stay the Course’

November 6th, 2003 - by admin

by Friends Committee on National Legislation –


March 20-April 30:
115 hostile; 23 non-hostile; 138 total
May 1-November 3:
139 hostile; 103 non-hostile; 242 total
March 20-November 3:
254 hostile; 126 non-hostile; 380 total

(November 5, 2003) — On May 1, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, under a banner declaring “Mission Accomplished,” President Bush declared that combat operations were over in Iraq. (The phrasing “major combat operations” reflects a later White House addition.) On that date, according to US Central Command, US deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom totaled 138: 115 from hostile action and 23 from accidents, illness, suicide, or undetermined causes.

Six months and three days later, the grim total reached 380 dead, 87 more than died in the first Gulf War. (This 380 does not include eight US civilians under contract to the Pentagon who have died.)

British armed forces have suffered 51 fatalities since March 20, when the war started. Iraqi dead, military and civilian, are uncounted and may never really be known, but recent estimates put the combined total at about 13,000.

With better equipment and body armor, more soldiers are surviving injuries from hostile action. US Central Command reports 1,770 have been wounded in combat since March 20, with another 340 suffering non-combat injuries. However, the commander of the US military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, the first stop for most troops wounded in Iraq, said the facility had treated 7,701 US military personnel since the Iraq war began (New York Times, November 3, 2003).

Attacks Have Doubled to 33 per Day
Daily attacks against US forces have more than doubled since September, from 15 to 33. In press interviews and releases, White House and Coalition Provisional Authority officials repeatedly claim that attacks by regime die-hards and “foreign terrorists” are limited to the 100-mile “Sunni triangle” encompassing Tikrit, Baghdad, Fallujah, and Ramadi.

Yet further south, in the Shi’ite heartland, periodic — sometimes very bloody — outbreaks of violence in the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf frequently occur against US and Polish-led forces. Fewer incidents occur around British-controlled Basra in the far south. But just below Kurdish-dominated northern Iraq, violence against US forces around Mosul — including a series of closely coordinated attacks in late September — is common.

Every state and US possession except Montana, Hawaii, West Virginia, and US Virgin Islands has suffered at least one fatality in this war (New York Times, November 2, 2003). Unlike Vietnam, the public will not see the toll this war takes. Pentagon policy forbids media coverage of coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

The killing on all sides will go on until control of affairs in Iraq is returned to Iraqis, aided as needed by the UN and the international community, and US and British forces withdraw. “Returning Iraq to Iraqis” includes re-establishing security, reconstituting the economy (particularly employment), and rebuilding the institutions of governance.

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