Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Review of Recent US Death Trends in Iraq

Most people know that more US soldiers are dying than at any previous time in the Iraq war/occupation. 2007 was the deadliest February, March and May, and the second deadliest January and April. June will surely be another grim record-setting month.

542 troops have already died in 2007. In 2006, the 542nd troop died in October. That's one surge no one wants - even the NeoCons. ICCC

This got me thinking about the causes of US deaths. My expectation was that, given the surge, we would see a lot more troops dying in combat operations as they take the fight directly to the enemies. This is what the military has had us expect.

Unfortunately, this presumption doesn't hold up to the facts on the ground. The Brookings Institute tracks the cause of US deaths into broad groups - IEDs, mortars/rockets, RPGs, helicopter losses, other hostile fire (which I presume be to mainly from enemy rifles and guns) and non-hostile causes.

Breaking this down, non-hostile deaths have generally numbered between 5 and 10 per month recently. Mortars/rockets, RPGs, and helicopter losses are very small contributors - one percent or less of total troop losses. (Note that deaths from each of these categories have come way down over time.)

This leaves two categories - IEDs and other hostile fire. Here's the breakdown for the entire war and for the time period from March 1 through June 10.

Percent of US troop fatalities from:

IEDs: Entire War = 39%; March-June 10, 2007: 63%
Other hostile fire: Entire War = 31%; March-June 10, 2007: 28% Brookings

Even through the percent of deaths from non hostile file is slightly down recently, more soldiers are dying from this cause because, well, more soldiers are dying, period. I presume these soldiers are mostly dying fighting the enemy - a point the military brass have been making. I never want to say any death is acceptable, but the point is merely made that these men and women are dying fighting.

On the other hand, the huge increase in IED fatalities is simply unacceptable to me. These soldiers are simply sitting ducks, dying as the drive the roads of Iraq. This is an incredibly tragic outgrowth of the occupation, and I presume, the surge. And it is yet another example of why the surge is failing.


Chuck said...

Hi Ron. Thanks for stopping over & commenting on my blog!

I wonder, really, if we are even being told the truth about the number of fatalities and woundings as a direct or an indirect result of this war (LIE). After all, its the Pentagon that releases the "numbers".

Good post. Great blog name, btw!

TomCat said...

Ron, look at it this way, from the Bush perspective every troop killed is one Bush does not have to cheat out of benefits.

Larry said...

All this list and 14 more killed today.

Bush is partying through the rafters over this.

Mentarch said...

According to Bill'O, that post should be categorized as "meaningless".

I'll take such "meaningless" reading day in and day out - big time. ;-)

Excellent post, Ron!

LET'S TALK said...

This surge is nothing but a death warrant fot the troops.

Break it down if you must get some type of justification, but the fact still remains... Americans are dead and not coming back period.

I must now ask, for what reason? We have yet to be told the true reason for such death and this invasion.

CHUQ said...

IMO, the admin is lying, it always lies about its casualities as well as its enemies casualities.

Realist said...

There is no solution to the IED problem except having enough troops in Iraq to be able to control the roads. But there will never be enough troops available to do that. In order to have a ghost of a chance at pacifying Iraq they would need many many more troops than they have in there, surge or no surge. Consider: A good rule of thumb is, for a country as restive as that it would take roughly 10,000 troops per million occupied population to have any chance of pacifying the country, meaning for a country of about 27 million people, that would be about 270,000 troops occupying it. Bare minimum. There are about 150,000 troops there now and there sure as hell isn't 120,000 more in the pipeline so to speak. The Iraq adventure is doomed and has been since the start. It was premised on as faulty information as the Bay of Pigs invasion, and had as little grounding in morality and international law as that fiasco in Cuba.

As far as the Pentagon telling us the truth about anything, their word isn't worth shit. If the Pentagon says it's raining you'd be a fool to put on your raincoat without looking out the window first. Remember, these are the same people who, every time a helicopter gets shot down, insist it "made an emergency landing". Yeah. Upside down. Onto electrical lines. Come on. The same people who brought us the Pat Tillman fairy tale. The same people who brought us the Jessica Lynch made-for-t.v. propaganda special. The same people who... well you get the idea. They are about as reliable a source as John Lovitz's character in Saturday Night Live, the pathological liar character. "Yeah, that's the ticket... I'm late today because I was ambushed by terrorists on my way in, yeah that's it". Basically, if the Pentagon says something you can usually regard it as being the opposite of what actually happened.

TomCat said...

Realist, a good point. My estimate at the time Bush embarked on his war for oil and conquest was an occupying force of 300,000. But that was before his incompetence took it from bad through worse to worst.


I hardly doubt the war is going the way Bush envisioned. I am sure he thought our troops would be home by now, a new Iraqi government would be set up and the middle east would be more stable. The fact is - it is simply a crazy part of the world. If Iran or some of those other fanaticals get nukes we are in a world of hurt too - Iraq or no Iraq war. The truth is there is no easy answer and no one in either party has the solution so far. The next 10-20 years are going to be very interesting.Phoenix, car, auto, life, insurance

Anonymous said...


"I wonder, really, if we are even being told the truth about the number of fatalities and woundings as a direct or an indirect result of this war (LIE). After all, its the Pentagon that releases the "numbers"."

It is not any of our business how the troups are dying. All that matters is that they are and you should be praying for the ones still over there and for the families of the ones that have died.

Ted said...

More information on the 4000+ deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan can be found here:
Number of Operations Iraq Freedom and Enduring Freedom casualties
as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 4014