Giving their lives for our freedom

Maybe it's just objective news; maybe the AP is making a point. Who knows? All I know is that the AP is once again announcing the number of US forces who have died in Iraq: 2,392. This averages out to less than 1,000 deaths per year of war. While I find the number saddening, since each death is a child or sibling or parent lost, the number itself is pretty darn impressive — impressively good, that is. Just a few points of reference.

  • On September 11, 2001, in under an hour, 3,030 noncombatants died.
  • Not counting the Iraq War, deaths in the American military from 1980 to 2000 averaged 1,586 deaths per year (mostly attributable to accidents). 1983 was an especially bad year (probably because of the bombing at the Marine barracks in Beirut) and 2000 was a very good year. If I were statistically brilliant, I'd tell you how this death rate measures against the mortality rate in the population at large. You'll have to do that yourself if you're interested.
  • Vietnam saw a total of 58,209 American deaths in Vietnam.
  • The "police action" in Korea resulted in 36,574 American deaths directly attributable to the war.
  • World War II? 405,399 deaths, both from combat and "other." (To give that a little perspective, keep in mind that roughly 62 million people died world wide, from Europe to Africa to Asia to the Anzac nations, because of WWII. I find it impossible to wrap my mind around that Malthusian number.)
  • World War I — 116,516 American dead — and we were in that war for a little over a year.
  • During the Civil War, 364,511 Americans gave their lives on the Union side to hold together the nation and defeat slavery. The Confederate side, which had a smaller population to draw on, lost 258,000 to wounds and disease. The numbers of this truly savage civil war also help to give a little perspective to the civil war now taking place in Iraq.
  • The Revolutionary War, which citizen militias waged in the cause of freedom, saw 4,435 deaths, a staggering number when you considering America's small population.

By all means, let us mourn our dead and be thankful for the sacrifices these men and women made on our behalf. And then let us be grateful that we live in a day and age when our Army can take down a dictatorship, be swarmed daily by truly evil gnat-like militias, and still have such a low casualty rate at the end of the day.


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  • jorgen

    Hear! Hear! Good to see things in the right context.

    The AP as usual fails to do so as they prefer to print lefty propaganda, rather then give the public a balanced view of the situation. Perhaps the numbers would be a lot lower if the lefties (which includes the Mainstream Media in general) stopped giving moral support to the enemy.

  • Ymarsakar

    One of the reasons for the casualty numbers (iraq) is the high risk and realistic training the Middle East Command partakes in. Train like you’ll fight, for the more you sweat, the less you’ll bleed. This unfortunately means “training accidents”. But if they didn’t train as hard in the field, they would get murdered once engaged with the enemy.

    The meda I tend to think, lumps together the casualty figures cause they don’t know what a theater is or what areas of operations and responsibilities are.

  • Barrett

    According to the CIA Factbook the US death rate for the general population is 8.26/1,000 population per year (2006 est). That is 0.8% per year

    Considering that we have had a minimum of 120,000 troops in Iraq for four years now the death rate is slightly less than .485% per year. I have to use that as an estimate because our troop strength was greater at one point than it is now. I’m not sure exactly how this matches up with the age groups that our troops are a part of. Obviously mortality rates for people age 18-49 are going to be significantly lower than the general population. This chart is the best I could find. It is based off of census info from 1990 and is itself only an estimate.

    0-4 0.00251 (0.2% per year)
    5-24 0.00065 (0.06% per year)
    25-34 0.00135 (0.13% per year)
    35-44 0.0022 (0.22% per year)
    45-54 0.00486 (0.48% per year)

    So the death rate for our troops is probably somewhere around .15% per year. What does all this mean? Well, it means that fighting in Iraq increases your risk of death by about 300% or in other words to the rate it would be if you were 45-54 and living here in the US. I hope that helps to put things in perspective.

  • Barrett

    Minor correction: The first sentence in the last paragraph should say: The death rate for our troops outside of combat is somewhere around 0.15% per year.