The Department of Defense (DOD) has made available significant data on the dead and wounded from the war. Among others, two particularly useful entities have analyzed DOD's and other data to help us understand the numbers. One is the website for the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count; another is a study released last August by the Population Studies Center of the University of Pennsylvania: " Mortality of American Troops in Iraq. " The material below summaries their data (and provides additional links to them).
The data at www.icasualties.org for American military fatalities include:
2,268 deaths from hostile fire, which occurs in many forms; and 550 non-combat deaths.
improvised explosive devices (IEDs) caused at least 998, or 35 percent of all deaths, which exceeds all other causes.
unspecified hostile fire: 425, or 15 percent;mortar attacks: 85, or 3 percent;rocket propelled grenades (RPGs): 104, or 4 percent;cars bombs: 76, or 3 percent;suicide car bombs: 54, or 2 percent;other suicide bombers: 30, or 1 percent.
The leading cause of non-hostile deaths were vehicle accidents (201 deaths, or 7 percent of the total). Other causes included:
helicopter accidents: 74, or 3 percent;weapon accidents: 76, or 3 percent."friendly fire:" 8, or 0.3 percent;homicides: 7, or 0.2 percent; andsuicides: 3, or 0.1 percent.
(See various details at http://icasualties.org/oif/Stats.aspx. )
Wounded: Contrary to the approximate 20,000 wounded that the press typically reports, the www.icasualties.org website reports the following:
14,414 wounded--no medical air transport required;6,273 wounded--medical air transport required;6,430 non-hostile injuries--medical air transport required;17,662 diseases--medical air transport required.
Assuming medical air transport is an indicator of serious wounds, injuries, or sickness, these data can also be described as follows:
6,273 seriously wounded;6,430 seriously injured in non-hostile events (e.g. vehicle accidents)17,662 seriously ill (e.g. serious heat prostration)
14,414 wounded who could be treated without air evacuation.
Branch of Service Fatalities
Army (active duty): 1,435Marines (active duty): 712Army National Guard: 377Army Reserve: 103Marine Reserve: 97Navy: 46Air Force: 25Navy Reserve: 13Coast Guard: 1Air National Guard: 1Department of the Army: 4Department of the Air Force: 2Department of Defense: 1
(See http://www.icasualties.org/oif/Service.aspx. )
Using data for the period between March 21, 2003, and March 31, 2006, the University of Pennsylvania study provides some analysis of these numbers, as follows:
the risk of death is greatest in Iraq for Marines (both active and reserve) at 8.5 per 1,000;Army (active and reserve) personnel are experiencing 3.4 deaths per 1,000 deployed;Navy personnel are less exposed at a rate of 0.83;Air Force personnel are the least exposed at a rate of 0.4.
30 majors, lieutenant colonels, and colonels have died;156 lieutenants and captains have died;the vast majority of the dead are:sergeants (738 dead); andprivates, corporals, and specialists (1,359 dead).
The University of Pennsylvania study assessed the relative risk:
Army and Marine enlisted personnel have 40 percent and 36 percent higher mortality than all officers, respectively.
Race and Ethnicity
Hispanics have a mortality rate 21 percent higher than non-Hispanics;blacks have a mortality rate about 60 percent that of whites, and less than 50 percent the rate of "other" ethnicities (American Indian, others natives, and "multi-race.")
As Republican and Democratic candidates for elective office position themselves on the politics of the war in Iraq for advantage in the upcoming congressional elections, it is useful to inform ourselves about who and how many are experiencing the real risks. Currently, the politicians are waiting for a more favorable environment after the elections to sort out what they are actually going to do, if anything, about the war; meanwhile, the military personnel in Iraq--all of them--have more important things to worry about.