The Military Death Toll While Enforcing the Occupation of Iraq:
A Weekly Data Sheet of US-uk Military Fatalities Post-May 1, 2003
by Paul de Rooij

"With the military death toll mounting in Iraq, Congressional leaders are sheepishly conceding the need to raise the current $12,400 paid as a "death gratuity" – cash to cover immediate expenses – to the spouses and children of men and women killed in the course of service. Public awareness of such a token amount for the ultimate sacrifice has been quietly building, prompting Senate Republicans to vow to raise this one-time, tax-free payment to $100,000. This is more in line with some of the lump-sum payments to families of police officers, firefighters and other civilian responders who are killed on the job."
Pricing the Ultimate Sacrifice, New York Times, Jan. 26, 2005

Comment: To place this into context, it should be mentioned that at the same time this "death gratuity" increases, Congress is debating reducing veterans' entitlements, services, and compensation.

Derek Seidman: One thing that doesn't get enough honest attention is the number of soldiers wounded in Iraq, and what this really means. So far, well over 10,000 soldiers have been "wounded". You worked as a medic, so you have a good idea of what this means.
Patrick Resta: One thing I want to make absolutely clear is my skepticism that this number is anywhere near accurate. An injury can be anything from eardrums ruptured in an explosion, gunshot wounds, shrapnel injuries, blast injuries, and on and on. Obviously, this number makes no accounting for those that are mentally traumatized by what they have seen, and the numbers that have substance abuse problems or even end up taking their own lives. Just as in Vietnam it will take years before the true effects of this conflict are known. They will continue to manifest themselves in increasing numbers of individuals as more people return home. Or more importantly, return home for the second or third time from Iraq. The VA was under manned and under funded well before September 11th, and is simply not equipped to deal with what is coming in the next few years.
— Derek Seidman, An Interview with Army Medic, Patrick Resta, CounterPunch, Jan. 21, 2005.

Commentary on the developments of the week

US-uk Military Fatality Forecast (using data thru 26-Jan-05)
Period from 01-May-03 thru:Fatality forecast
May 1, 2005 1,632
Dec. 31, 2005 1,870
The forecast is based on a simple linear regression — it doesn’t attempt to be fancy in forecasting the threat potential, etc. However, even such a simple method yields good forecasts. The data used for the forecast is »daily« data — performs better than monthly data.
NB: the point of this forecast is to give an indication of the terrible toll this occupation will exact; it is by no means presented in a callous fashion.

Main foreign military forces in Iraq
ProvenanceEstimated numbersDate/Source
United States 150,000 Dec. 2004 [1]
"Contractors" & mercenaries 20,000 – 30,000 Oct. 14, 2004 [2]
UK 9,300 Oct. 14, 2004 [3]
[1] US to deploy more troops in Iraq, AlJazeera, Dec. 2, 2004. 150,000 within weeks. NB: the previous highest number was 148,000 in May 2003.
[2] Phyllis Bennis on Oct. 13, 2004 stated that the second largest contingent of soldiers were "contractors" – there are more of them than UK soldiers. She quoted an estimate of 20,000; at present 17 contractors are dying p/month. Ha'aretz quoted an estimate of 30,000 in July 2004.
[3] BBC, Oct. 14, 2004. NB: this is a likely an overestimate at present since the UK has pulled out one of its units without replacement. NB: On Jan. 10, 2005, G. Hoon, the Minister of Defense, stated that 400 more troops would be sent to Iraq. He refused to answer how many troops would be stationed in Iraq. The 400 seem to replace some of the troops taken out in December, thus the total must remain around 9000.

Cost of the US-Iraq war
Through June 2004 [1] US$151bn
Estimate through 27-Jan-05 [2] US$188bn
[1] Source: Phyllis Bennis
[2] Updating using the estimates from the "Times Square" cost meter which is based on the following formula: "increases at a rate of $177 million per day, $7.4 million per hour and $122,820 per minute". Please note that Bennis's estimate refers only to the US budget allocations, and refer only to costs once the war started (Source: personal communication). These figures exclude: lead-up to the war, increasing "security" costs in the US, reduced trade with Arab countries, etc. The true cost of this war, if it can be computed at all, is much higher.

NB: The Pentagon recently reported that the cost p/month of the war had gone from US$4bn to US$5.8bn. Since these figures were reported by UPI, they will not be used until better estimates are published elsewhere. The current monthly cost estimate used to generate the current figure is about US$5.3bn/month.

Alternative estimates can be found here.

The 31 fatalities in the helicopter crash were listed here as hostile in nature. CentCom hasn't ruled on the cause of the crash, and this info will be amended as soon as the info becomes available.

Note also on the increase in the "death gratuity", but at the same time Congress is deliberating on reducing veterans' benefits, social services and entitlements.

Remembrance down the Memory Hole…

Several of the "remembrance" websites are starting to neglect updating their output. The Seattle Times website has not been updated since March 2004.

Why this data sheet? The US military doesn’t allow the compilation and publication of Iraqi casualties, and it is very difficult to know how bloody the occupation of Iraq has resulted. The only indication of the intensity of the conflict are the military fatalities. We can use this as a proxy measure to determine if the occupation is a bloody quagmire or if the dust is finally settling on the rubble.

Furthermore, as demonstrated elsewhere, the Pentagon and their media surrogates are attempting to hide the true extent of the carnage among its soldiers. It is very difficult to find accurate fatality figures, the classification of fatalities leads to exclusion in the official death tally (“accidental” deaths are excluded), and the number of errors creeping into the official fatality reports is increasing, e.g., fatalities originally reported, but then not confirmed; long delays in reporting; excluding the subsequent deaths of wounded soldiers after they were transferred out of Iraq. If it is only the American and British fatalities that are going to stop this bloody occupation of Iraq then it behooves us to amplify the information on these fatalities — primarily to counteract the attempts by the Pentagon and its media surrogates to cover this over.

Please note that the graph updates on a weekly cycle ending on Wednesdays.

Another means to determine the intensity of the resistance against the US-uk troops is to analyze the average daily death toll for each month (first column). The center column pertains to a linear trend of the average fatality rate – enables one to obtain some (limited) perspective of how this will continue. The last column is the percentage of “hostile” fatalities out of the total for the month.

Month Average US-uk fatalities per day
(inc. hostile and other; 1-May-03 thru 26-Jan-05)
Linear trend of av. fatalities p/day Pct of fatalities due to hostile action
May 03 1.4 1.1        23%  (!!)
Jun 03 1.2 1.2 69%
Jul 03 1.6 1.3 57%
Aug 03 1.4 1.4 51%
Sep 03 1.1 1.5 58%
Oct 03 1.5 1.6 76%
Nov 03 2.8 1.7 87%
Dec 03 1.3 1.8 65%
Jan 04 1.7 1.9 79%
Feb 04 0.7 2.0 67%
Mar 04 1.7 2.2 65%
Apr 04 4.6 2.3 94%
May 04 2.7 2.4 81%
Jun 04 1.5 2.5 87%
Jul 04 1.8 2.6        80%  (!!)
Aug 04 2.3 2.7 85%
Sep 04 2.9 2.8 88%
Oct 04 2.2 2.9        90%  (!!)
Nov 04 4.7 3.0 92%
Dec 04 2.4 3.1 78%
Jan 05  3.2* 3.1         86%*   (!!)

The trend was calculated using monthly data using a simple linear regression (using only complete monthly data). The forecast and the trends indicated in the graph were derived from daily data. There have been some amendments to the early data because CentCom recently released data pertaining to earlier fatalities.

Asterisk indicates a statistic was computed on incomplete monthly data.

(!!): simply not credible.
(d): long delays in reporting.

The US and British armies are professional. (NB: a propaganda-compliant means of referring to them is: “volunteer army,” which they are not.) As soon as an army hires soldiers then there is a concern that it will not be representative of the population at large, and that it will hire minorities or poor in disproportionate numbers. The table below provides the race/ethnic composition of the US-uk fatalities, and the main objective is to determine if some minority groups are over-represented. The reader is responsible for the interpretation.

Race/ethnic group of US-uk soldiers
(1-May-03 – 26-Jan-05)
pct UK
White 884 68.1% 43 97.7%
Black / Afro-American 129 9.9% 0 0.0%
Hispanic 142 10.9% 0 0.0%
Other 43 3.3% 1 2.3%
NA 100 7.7% 0 0.0%
Total 1,298   44  
Women 31 2.4% 1 2.3%
Classification done by author from photographs, last names, and additional archival search. This is an imperfect means of classification, but no other source is available.

This article deals specifically with the US Army composition and that of the fatalities.

Alternative official source.

Age of US-uk military fatalities post 1-May-03 thru 26-Jan-05
Age interval Percentage
age <= 25 57.7%
25 < age <= 35 30.7%
35 < age <= 45 9.8%
45 < age <= 55 1.7%
55 < age <= 65 0.1%

Is president Bush empathy-impaired or maybe callous? Judge for yourself.

Number of times president Bush has visited wounded soldiers or been present at funerals since May 1st 2003.
Funerals         0
Hospital visits 5
Jog around the White House with veteran limb-amputee with leg prostheses 1
Related article
Source: White House list of events schedule is checked regularly.

Explanatory Notes:

The propaganda-compliant terminology for the post-May 1st period is “after the end of major combat operations.” Of course, conceding that the US is occupying Iraq would mean that another justification for this war was a sham. This is the reason the common media terminology aims to avoid the usage of the word “occupation”.

The military fatality statistics are collated for the post May-1st period because this refers exclusively to the enforcement of the occupation of Iraq. Including the earlier fatalities would be confusing because it would include those incurred during the “hot war”. The nature of these fatalities is different, and therefore they should be analyzed separately. Furthermore, the concern now is to end the occupation of Iraq, and therefore Americans should be aware of the cost of this current policy.

Honest accounting would dictate the inclusion of all the military fatalities enforcing the occupation, and thus include British, Italians, Spanish, etc. It would be ideal to be able to include mercenary fatalities too — alas, no data is available. However, there is much work involved in collating quality data, and hence the data was restricted to the US and “uk” (yes, lowercase “uk” because they are less than 10% of the “coalition” contingent.)

NB: Whereas in previous conflicts “casualties” referred to both fatalities and wounded soldiers, in the current Pentagon arrogant and grisly accounting the wounded soldiers have been ignored. The statistics it makes available refer only to US military fatalities.

This analysis also aims to be as accurate as possible, and any observation about its accuracy should sent to Amplifications & Corrections.

On the data used. All entries are obtained from the US and UK military websites in the list found below. All the soldiers killed in Iraq or who were listed as “supporting the operations in Iraq” are included here — that is, some soldiers killed in Kuwait or in the Persian Gulf were also included here. Furthermore, if there is a good indication that a person was directly employed by the US-uk armies, then their fatality was also included. For example, in August a translator wearing a US army uniform was killed — he was included in this tally. There are a few instances where via Reuters or AP references can be found to fatalities, but subsequently these are not found in the official military sites. The unconfirmed fatalities are included if found in two or more reputable sources, e.g., Reuters, AP, BBC. All entries have been cross-checked with the LunaVille database, and there is a less than 1% discrepancy.

Articles providing further background information:

Any insightful article on this topic will be added to this list. Please submit Recommendations.

Sources of basic data