Commentary for the
developments of the week. This week
DefenseLink issued a press release indicating seven fatalities that had
not been previously reported. The fatalities dated from March through
October. The question is how many more fatalities have been kept under
wraps? NB: the graph below already includes these fatalities. The second
oddity in the press release is the reassignment of one casualty from the
operations in Iraq to those in Afghanistan.
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 per month. The data used
is up to the date included in the top left corner of this page.
(inc. hostile and other)
The trend here was calculated using
monthly data using a simple linear regression. The forecast and the
trends indicated in the graph were derived from daily data.
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 — 8-Feb-04)
Classification done by
author from photographs. This is an imperfect means of classification,
but no other source is available.
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
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 the one of the justifications 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 fatalities 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.)
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.
Please note that the point of this forecast is meant to give an indication
of the terrible toll this occupation will exact, it is by no means presented
in a cruel and callous fashion. 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 quoted as “supporting the
operations in Iraq” are included here — 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. In August a translator wearing a US army
uniform was killed — he was included in this tally. (A “mine disposal”
expert “volunteering” in Basra to clear minefields was also added. One can
understand volunteers helping in humanitarian projects, but it is difficult
to believe that someone volunteering to clear minefields was not related to
the British army — hence the reasons for his inclusion.) 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 2% discrepancy.
Articles providing further background information:
Any insightful article on this topic will
be added to this list. Please submit
Websites providing basic data
As soon as a fatality occurs, a very basic notification is made available
on this official US-military website. Caveat:
This listing is not complete, and it often leaves out some fatalities —
even some due to hostile causes. Further confusion is added because on a
few occasions the fatality notification appeared in a release whose title
had nothing to do with the incident leading to the death of a soldier,
i.e., usually the heading indicates the nature of the press release, but
this is not 100% the case. There are frequent errors, and if one cross
checks with DefenseLink, Reuters, or AP, one finds errors in the number of
soldiers killed and the dates of the event. NB: This website seldom
announces fatalities due to “non-hostile” causes. Soldiers dying from
accidents, heatstroke, suicide, etc., are usually only found in
DefenseLink. The website updates daily, but usually not on weekends.
Although very few obvious errors have been corrected in the past, for the
past few month no corrections have been issued. Website reports on US
military casualties exclusively.
A few days after the fatality has been announced by CentCom, there is a
confirmation including the name and age of the soldier on this website.
Again, the same problems found with CentCom are found here. However, some
“non-hostile” fatalities are found exclusively on this webiste and not in
CentCom. The website updates daily, but usually not on weekends. Although
very few obvious errors have been corrected in the past, for the past few
month no corrections have been issued. NB: There are quite a few errors in
the announcements and sometimes it is not possible to reach the older
records — a problem that seems to have been rectified recently, but it is
not clear if the complete archive is available. Website reports on US
military casualties exclusively.
MOD: Operation Telic
This is the British Ministry of Defense website, and it is very good
quality. Note the fact that the notices given for the fatalities contain a
tribute to the soldiers and express regret. This stands in stark contrast
with the US military notifications that are cold renderings of some
statistic. This website reports on British military casualties
exclusively, and it is updated daily.
A very good quality data source including most “coalition” fatalities.
Some graphics and news are available on the website. Downside: some
obvious data errors have not been corrected, no photos are available,
updating is irregular, and some of the time periods available for analysis
are odd. However, all told this is a valuable website.
Good quality data on US and some “coalition” fatalities with a photo for
most of the victims. Updated daily except weekends. Downside: it is not
possible to obtain meaningful tabulations or graphs from the data.
Easy to use website with photos of US fatalities exclusively. This website
is best for an overview of the photos of all soldiers. Downside: updated
irregularly although it is supposed to be updated every Friday. It is also
not possible to view the data in a graph or tabulate it in a meaningful
A poor quality list of the US soldier fatalities. Although it is a British
news group, it only publishes American casualties! Odd to say the least.
Furthermore, it only publishes the “hostile” category fatalities; it
excludes soldiers killed clearing mines, heatstroke, suicides, etc. The
main purpose of this list is to justify using the low propaganda-compliant
fatality numbers. It is updated irregularly.
Paul de Rooij
is a writer living in London, and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org (NB: all emails with attachments will be automatically
deleted). © 2004 Paul de Rooij
articles by Paul de Rooij:
For Whom The
Death Tolls: Deliberate Undercounting of “Coalition” Fatalities
The Politics of Crying Wolf
Demolishing the Myths of the Israel-Palestine Conflict
International: The Case of a Rape Foretold
Predictable Propaganda: Four Months of US
Occupation of Iraq
The Parade of the Body Bags
Ambient Death in Palestine
The Hydra’s New Head: Propagandists, and
Selling the US-Iraq War
Gretta Duisenberg: An Activist in the Trenches
Propaganda Stinkers: Fresh Samples From the
Arrogant Propaganda: US Propaganda During The
First 10 Days of the US- Iraq War
A Glossary of Warmongering