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THE ISSUES

Originally Published: 3/14/2007

HUMAN COST OF THE WARS

IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN

By The Issue Wonk

 

According to General Tommy Franks, “We don’t do body counts.”  Indeed, the United States has no method of collecting information about deaths and injuries.  Attempting to determine the numbers of dead and wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is almost impossible.  I can only report the numbers given from various sources.  We can only assume that the truth is in there somewhere.

 

Deaths

 

Civilians.  According to IraqBodyCount.org,1 civilian deaths in Iraq alone is somewhere between 58,486 and 64,273 as of today.  (This number is continuously up-dated.)  Unknown News estimates 3,485 civilian deaths in Afghanistan and 720,461 in Iraq.  However, according to a study released in October 2006 done by the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, more than 655,000 Iraqis have died.2  This report encompasses gunfire and bombs but also includes people who died due to poor health and environmental conditions directly related to the conflict.  As the report says, “an additional 2.5% of Iraq’s population have died above what would have occurred without conflict.”  And the British Medical Journal Lancet, in 2004, estimated that in Iraq alone there were approximately 100,000 civilian deaths.3

 

Coalition Troops.  Antiwar.com estimates that 3,162 Americans have died in Iraq, 2,569 of those in combat situations.  Another 360 military were killed in Afghanistan.  Among other coalition forces, they estimate that 628 have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Department of Defense lists 3,159 deaths in Iraq and 366 in Afghanistan.  And Unknown News estimates there have been 357 Americans and 223 other coalition forces killed in Afghanistan and 3,123 Americans and another 256 coalition forces killed in Iraq.

 

Contractors.  According to icasualties.org, a partial count of Iraq Coalition contractor casualties is 389, 155 of those are Americans.  However, a report by Pratap Chatterjee of CorpWatch, states that, for the period March 2003 to July 2006, 608 contractors have died in Iraq alone.  Unknown News says that there have been 388 contractors killed in Iraq.  While there are numerous articles discussing civilian contractor deaths in Afghanistan, I found no clear count of how many there have been.

 

Journalists.  According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), there have been 96 journalists and media people killed in Afghanistan and Iraq and another 37 support workers.

 

Enemy Troops.  Unknown News estimates that 8,587 Afghani troops and 30,000 Iraqi troops have been killed.

 

Wounded

 

Civilians.  Unknown News estimates that 6,273 civilians have been wounded in Afghanistan and 1,296,830 civilians have been wounded in Iraq.

 

Coalition Troops.  According to Antiwar.com, officially 23,677 Americans have been wounded but they estimate that the number is actually between 23,000 and 100,000.  Unknown News reports 1,071 Americans and 669 other coalition forces have been wounded in Afghanistan and 45,798 Americans and 768 other coalition forces have been wounded in Iraq.  However, icasualties.org says that there has been 5,994 non-mortal casualties in Afghanistan alone.

 

Contractors.  A report by Pratap Chatterjee of CorpWatch states that, for the period March 2003 to July 2006, 6,000 contractors have been injured in Iraq.  I found no count of contractor injuries in Afghanistan.  Unknown News lists 698 contractors injured in Iraq.

 

Journalists.  While there are multiple reports of journalists who have been injured, I found no total count. 

 

Enemy Troops.  Unknown News lists 25,761 Afghani troops and 90,000 Iraqi troops as injured.

 

Summary

 

According to the above reports, here are the estimated ranges:

 

Civilians

 

          Deaths:         58,486 - 723,946

          Wounded:      6,273 - 1,296,830

 

Coalition Troops

 

          Deaths:         3,162 - 3,959

          Wounded:      23,677 - 48,306

 

Contractors

 

          Deaths:         388 – 608

          Wounded:      698 - 6,000

 

Journalists

 

          Deaths:         133

          Wounded:      Unknown

 

Enemy Troops

           

            Deaths:         About 38,587

          Wounded:      About 115,761

 

__________

 

1  According to the Web site, this is “the world’s only independent and comprehensive public database of media-reported civilian deaths in Iraq that have resulted from the 2003 military intervention by the USA and its allies.  The count includes civilian deaths caused by coalition military action and by military or paramilitary response to the coalition presence (e.g. insurgent and terrorist attacks).  It also includes excess civilian deaths caused by criminal action resulting from the breakdown in law and order which followed the coalition invasion.”

 

2  Burnham, Gilbert; Doocy, Shannon; Dzeng, Elizabeth; Lafta, Riyadh; & Roberts, Les. The Human Cost of the War in Iraq, a Mortality Study, 2002-2006.  Bloomberg School of Public Health, John Hopkins University, Baltimore Maryland and School of Medicine, Al Mustanshiriya University, Baghdad, Iraq.  In cooperation with the Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

 

3  BBC News.  Iraq Death Toll ‘Soared Post-War.”  October 29, 2004.

 

 

© The Issue Wonk, 2007

 

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