As the election gets
nearer, as the Americans continue to bleed in Iraq — and believe me the
resistance movement knows very well that an election is coming up in the
United States. These are not guys who get up in the morning, eat some
houmus, and say ‘lets go and attack a Bradley fighting vehicle.’ This
resistance movement has a coordinating power behind it now.
— Robert Fisk, Feb. 17, 2004,
Commentary on the
developments of the week. “US soldiers in Iraq shot dead people they
knew were wounded in a potential breach of Geneva conventions, according to
an account due to be screened Thursday on German public television.”
— “US soldiers in Iraq killed injured Iraqis: German TV,” AFP, Feb. 25,
Important addition to the Data Sources list:
Memory Hole — worth viewing.
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. The data used is current through
the date included in the top left corner of this page. The last column is
the percentage of “hostile” fatalities out of the total for the month.
||Average fatalities per day
(inc. hostile and other)
|Linear trend of av. fatalities p/day
fatalities due to hostile action
|The trend was
calculated using monthly data using a simple linear regression. The
forecast and the trends indicated in the graph were derived from daily
Asterisk indicates incomplete data for the month, but the statistic was
(!!): simply not credible.
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 — 25-Feb-04)
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.
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
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
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
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. 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. In August a translator wearing a US army uniform was killed — he
was included in this tally. (A British 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:
New technology and medical practices save lives in Iraq, Knight
Ridder, Dec. 17, 2003.
Body Count Redux, Feb. 18, 2004.
US soldiers’ suicide rate up in Iraq, AP, Jan. 14, 2004.
Paul de Rooij,
For Whom The Death Tolls : Deliberate Undercounting of “Coalition”
Fatalities, Jan. 24, 2004.
Paul de Rooij,
Predictable Propaganda: Four Months of US Occupation of Iraq, Sept. 3,
Paul de Rooij,
The Parade of the Body Bags, Aug. 2, 2003.
The Ultimate Betrayal, CommonDreams, Feb. 19, 2004.
Any insightful article on this topic will be added to
this list. Please submit
Sources of 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. 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, and it is updated daily.
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,
“non-hostile” fatalities are usually only found on this webiste. While
CentCom mentions instances of wounded personnel (and then only if in the
same incident there have been fatalities), DefenseLink does not mention
them. Although a 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, and it is updated daily.
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.
LunaVille 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.
CNN 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.
Washington Post 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 — and it almost seems as if they have given up
updating it completely. It is also not possible to view the data in a
graph or tabulate it in a meaningful way.
Memory Hole The media references to “injuries” don’t convey the
meaning of what has happened to these soldiers. The image of these wounded
soldiers is banned from most media, and therefore it is instructive to
examine the photos in this important website.
BBC A poor quality list of the US soldier fatalities. Although it is a
British news group, it only publishes American casualties! It is 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.
Hendersonville Police Dept. is a rather tacky website, but it has the
largest number of photos of US fatalities.
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:
The BBC and
the Quiet Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians
* 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