A Quarter Million Dead; Half a Million Wounded

May 29th, 2006 - by admin

UnknownNews.net – 2006-05-29 00:34:46


Casualties in Afghanistan & Iraq

Most recent update: May 7, 2006. All numbers are actual counts or lowest credible estimates.

A note about varying casualty counts cited elsewhere.
2,986 people were killed in the ghastly attacks of September 11, 2001.
About 78 times as many Iraqis and 4 times as many Afghans have been killed in these wars.

More than six times as many people have been killed in these wars, than the 36,869 people killed in all terrorist attacks worldwide since 1968.






US and coalition deaths and injuries listed above include deaths and injuries reported in all of “Operation Enduring Freedom,” which is the Pentagon’s public-relations name for what’s commonly called the war on terror.

About 75% of these deaths and injuries have occured within Afghanistan and its neighbor nations, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. Other US and coalition deaths and injuries included in the above numbers may have occured in Cuba (Guantanamo Bay), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yemen.



2,417 U.S. TROOPS KILLED and 37,198 SERIOUSLY INJURED May 2006




US and coalition deaths and injuries listed above include deaths and injuries reported in all of “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” which is the Pentagon’s public-relations name for the invasion and ongoing occupation of Iraq. US and coalition deaths and injuries included in the above numbers may have occurred in neighboring or nearby nations, in support of OIF.

Special thanks to Mark Herold at the University of New Hampshire, for information on Afghan casualties.
Thanks also to Cynthia Hills, Al W., Michael, Steven D., AC, and Peter B.
for questions answered and research assistance.

A note about varying casualty counts cited elsewhere:

About much lower death tolls:
From the start of the Iraq war and occupation, a volunteer-staffed organization called Iraq Body Count (IBC) has offered public counts of the civilian death toll in Iraq.

Offering their JavaScript box to other websites, the IBC tallies quickly became ubiquitous on the web, and IBC’s numbers eventually came to be seen as “the responsible standard” in death counts. There are, however, severe flaws in IBC’s methodology.

As the cornerstone of its work, IBC counts only Iraq civilian deaths that are reported in newspapers or on television. It is inconceivable that all civilian casualties in a nation at war would be reported in the media, and even IBC states, “We have always been quite explicit that our own total is certain to be an underestimate of the true position, because of gaps in reporting or recording.”

Much more problematic, however, the staff at IBC claims no fluency in any language but English. As IBC states, “We have not made use of Arabic or other non English language sources, except where these have been published in English. The reasons are pragmatic. We consider fluency in the language of the published report to be a key requirement for accurate analysis, and English is the only language in which all team members are fluent.

It is possible that our count has excluded some victims as a result.”

“Possible?” It’s impossible to imagine that many casualties are not being excluded. Arabic, Kurdish, Assyrian, and Armenian are the principle languages spoken in Iraq. Only a fraction of the population speaks English, but IBC’s methodology relies entirely on English-language reports.

Furthermore, IBC’s stated methodology ignores even English-language mainstream media reports of Iraqi civilians’ deaths, unless matching reports of the same casualties are published in at least “two independent agencies.”

It is difficult to even comprehend the hugeness of the ‘blind spots’ created by IBC’s methodology.

An obvious analogy would be to “count” civilian casualties in America’s war with Vietnam by scouring English-language media accounts written and reported during that war, tallying the number of Vietnamese civilians whose deaths were reported, but excluding any deaths that were not reported by at least two different English-language media sources. It would be preposterous to suggest that this would yield an accurate tally of Vietnamese civilians killed during that war.

Quite the contrary, common sense suggests that such a “count” would find only a small fraction of civilian casualties.

We don’t question or impugn the motives of the Iraq Body Count project, but their methodology is absurd.

That’s why IBC’s totals are — by far — the lowest numbers offered by any organization concerning civilian casualties in Iraq.

Yet IBC’s numbers are also — by far — the most commonly cited casualty figures in mainstream media, where caveats about its methodology are rarely mentioned.

Even President Bush, when asked in December 2005 how many Iraqis had lost their lives in this war, seemed to cite IBC’s number.

IBC’s numbers provide false comfort for those who want to believe (or want others to believe) that the war and occupation have gone well, but in our opinion, no honest observer who understands IBC’s methodology could accept its numbers as even approaching a complete or credible count of Iraqi civilians killed in this war.

About much higher death tolls:
Many readers have cited this popular article at TBRNews. It gives voice to a theory we’ve heard whispered since even before the attack on Iraq; in its earliest versions, the theory was that many more American soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan than the Pentagon and media had reported. Now it’s about American casualties from Iraq.

In a nutshell, the theory is that the toll of American military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan includes only military deaths where the moment of death is in Iraq or Afghanistan — but ignores thousands of American service members whose deaths occurred in military hospitals in other countries, after they were injured in Iraq or Afghanistan and evacuated out of country.

It’s not an unreasonable suspicion, and it’s actually in line with the way the military is under-reporting the number of injuries among US troops in Iraq. And certainly, high-ranking officials in the Bush administration have told so many lies, lying should be seen as the administration’s official policy.

But this is one matter (perhaps the only matter) they can’t plausibly lie about, and we don’t believe the military is under-reporting American deaths in Iraq.

First and most pertinent, the US Department of Defense has announced numerous deaths of American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines at hospitals in Landstuhl, Germany, or at hospitals in Kuwait or in America, from injuries sustained in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read for yourself, press releases announcing the sad deaths of David M. Kirchhoff, William D. Chaney, Bradley C. Fox, Tyler D. Prewitt. If you simply go through the Pentagon press releases, you’ll find numerous other deaths outside Iraq and Afghanistan, included in the count of military casualties.

There could be several, or even several dozen American soldiers who have been killed in these wars but are not on the official DoD tally, due to oversight, errors, secrecy about their missions, or even an official policy that discounts certain American military deaths. But the number probably can’t be in the hundreds, and certainly can’t be in the thousands — because American military deaths are never an abstract number.

Behind every number in the official DoD tally of Americans killed, there’s a name remembered, a life sadly cut short, and grieving friends and family who will never forget the loved one lost. And let there be no doubt, Americans really are paying quite close attention.

When people visit the Vietnam Memorial, they look for their dead uncle’s name, their father, their friends, because they knew people who died in that war. If their names weren’t there — as has happened with a small number of overlooked American deaths from the Vietnam war — the friends and families complained, and the missing names were added.

If thousands of American dead from these Middle East wars had been forgotten, not included in the ongoing tally of grief, their names not engraved on the eventual memorial, imagine how furious those friends and families would be — and how newsworthy. There would be loud, angry, headline-making protests from the parents, wives, husbands, siblings, and friends of the dead, demanding that their sacrifice be honored and remembered.

Where are these people, understandably angry that their loved ones’ deaths have been ignored? Where are the friends’ and families’ letters to the editor, their interviews on local newscasts, their protest marches, their makeshift memorials?

It defies credibility, when nobody’s friends and family have made a ruckus. Until we hear from the neighbors and loved ones of the dead, we just don’t believe it.

We’re certain that TBRNews has their heart in the right place, but we’re also certain they’re dead wrong.

Sources and Methodology:
US and coalition authorities rarely provide any public estimates of Afghan or Iraqi troop or civilian casualties or injuries. In this absence of official data, we present the latest and lowest credible estimates we’ve found. Where a range is estimated (for example, 2,500-4,000), the lower figure is always cited.

Afghan troop deaths based on unpublished November 2003 estimate (8,000) by Mark Herold, Ph.D at the University of New Hampshire, augmented by Dr. Herold’s tracking of media reports since. See Dr. Herold’s website for more information.

Afghan civilian deaths based on estimate and tracking by Dr. Herold: 3,073 through May 2003, augmented from media accounts since then, as listed at Dr. Herold’s website. Deaths since Dr Herold’s latest update are not included.

US military deaths in Afghanistan are announced by US Department of Defense and CENTCOM. Coalition deaths in Afghanistan are not officially tallied by any government agency we’re aware of, but are being tracked by the good folks at Wikipedia:

As of May 2, 2006, there have been 356 coalition deaths in Afghanistan and other theaters of war during Operation Enduring Freedom — 281 American, 18 German, 17 Spanish, 15 Canadian, 7 British, 4 French, 3 Danish, 3 Italians, 3 Romanians, 2 Swedish, 1 Australian, 1 Norwegian, and 1 Portuguese. In addition to these deaths, 62 Spanish peacekeepers returning from Afghanistan were killed in 2003 when their plane crashed in Turkey.

To the best of our knowledge, no organization is tracking the total number of US and coalition civilian deaths and injuries in Afghanistan. If you know a reliable source for this information, please contact us at the email address below.

Iraqi troop deaths based on estimate (30,000) by US Gen. Tommy Franks, cited by the Washington Post on Oct. 23, 2003. No estimate has been made publicly since that time.

Estimate of Iraqi civilian deaths is based on a study published in The Lancet medical journal in October 2004. The study concluded that at least 100,000 and as many as 280,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed in the first 18 months of the occupation. We have taken the lowest estimate, 100,000.

US authorities loudly questioned the methodology used in this study, but it is the same methodology used by the US Centers for Disease Control to estimate deaths from disease outbreak anywhere in the world, the same methodology the US and UK have always accepted in the past when counting deaths in nations where the American or British military are not directly involved.

Based on The Lancet’s low-end estimate of 100,000 deaths occurring over the first 18 months of occupation, we have extrapolated this rate of civilian deaths (5,556 deaths per month) over subsequent months of the extended occupation. Of course, we will adjust this figure when more accurate or credible information becomes available.

US and coalition military deaths and US military injuries in Iraq are announced by US Department of Defense and CENTCOM, and tracked by the good folks at Iraq Coalition Casualty Count. Our heading “seriously injured” reflects DoD listing of injuries described as “Wounded in action, [did] not return to duty within 72 hours,” and excludes injuries wherein troops return to duty within 72 hours.

The officially-announced number of US injuries is deceptive, however, because the US military does not include in its figures service members who are evacuated “from Iraq and Afghanistan for injuries or illnesses not caused directly by enemy bullets or bombs.” This would leave out, for example, soldiers sickened by radiation or injured in transport accidents.

According to this article by Salon reporter Mark Benjamin, an additional 25,289 service members had been evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan for injuries or illnesses, but not included in the official numbers. Based on Salon’s article, dated December 2005 and including injuries through the first 34 months of occupation, we have extrapolated this rate of un-reported military injuries (743 injuries per month) over subsequent months of the extended occupation. Of course, we will adjust this figure when more accurate or credible information becomes available.

Coalition injuries are not tracked, and posted number reflects an estimate, per ratios explained below.

US and coalition civilian deaths in Iraq are tracked by Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.
Where no credible data on serious injuries to citizens or troops has been made public, our rough estimate uses a conservative, historically-based ratio of 3:1 (serious injuries to fatalities) for troops, 1.8:1 for civilians.

Deaths and injuries included are generally only those resulting directly from military actions — bombs, missiles, bullets, etc. Civilians’ deaths and injuries from the chaos of Afghan and Iraqi day-to-day life after the invasions, from disease, from malnutrition, from depleted uranium, from post-traumatic stress disorder, and other incidental effects of warfare are not included.

Numbers are updated often, so if you find more recent or more credible numbers, please let us know. Our email address is unknownnews at myway.com.
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