Trying to Understand the Numbers

Iraq5.jpg I just read in the Times that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October. That’s 119 people a day. Other figures from the article.

3,345 in September.
3,009 in August.
3,590 in July.
3,149 in June.
2,669 in May.
1,129 in April.
710 in January.

This is insane. Every month, more people die in Iraq than died on 9/11. The grand total is between 47,440 and 52,642. I’m having a little trouble finding what their military/police death totals are.

The total U.S. soldiers dead so far is 2,866. There have been 48 so far this month. We’re .05% of their total dead (based on an average of the disputed total).

I’m trying to understand what those numbers mean. The population of Iraq is 26,074,906. (We’re 295,734,134.)

Essentially they’re sliding into civil war. 620,000 died in our Civil War, which was four years long (1861 – 1865). Our population in 1860 was 31,443,321, so they’re 18% smaller than we were then. Still, it’s not anywhere near as bad yet. It’s hard to tell what their numbers would be if it was a full-out war. We’re three years in right now.

I started looking at figures for Vietnam. We had 58,178 casualties in Vietnam. (We had troops there from 1965 – 1973.) Based on an average of the various disputed figures for civilian deaths, the percentage of our dead to the total dead civilian dead looks like it’s in the area of .01. So the death rate of our soldiers now is higher.

It’s just a fucking mess for everyone, no matter how you look at it, isn’t it?

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

2 thoughts on “Trying to Understand the Numbers

  1. Yes, it is a “fucking mess”. But don’t expect to hear it characterized that way by the White House or the NYT. I’m still trying to figure out why the Democrats are happy they won!

  2. Let’s remember how this all got started. I wonder how much money American corporations have made on this war. Take that amount and divide it by the number of lost lives. That’s what they do. So sad.

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