Almost 10,000 civilian deaths in Iraq?

Was curious about the number of innocents killed in Iraq during our occupation, so far.
The military doesn’t have any reason to keep tally, let alone publish any civilain death stats, so a certain amount of speculation is required on behalf of the media, I presume.
After some digging around I came across this site which has a breakdown of various media sources and the dates and numbers of civilians they claimed where killed. They estimate somewhere between 8100 and 9938 killed. I also found this cite which claimed back in May somewhere between 5 and 10 thousand deaths. USA TODAY claimed back in June some 3,240 civilians dead.

So, is 10,000 civilian deaths high for a war of this nature? Do you think this is a realistic estimate? As it’s widely assumed that liberals control the media, I’m surprised they haven’t leaped on this point. Especially in light of the humanitarian spin going on for the justification of war. And incidentally, has anyone heard of any Iraqi soldier casualty estimates?

If you think about it for a moment, you’d realize that the lack of press coverage for this situation might be a sign that “liberals control the media” is a myth. Indeed, if you believe that conservatives control the media, then the total silence makes even more sense.

Anyway, addressing the OP, I don’t see any reason to believe it’s grossly inflated. If anything, I’d peg it at the low end; my gut feeling tells me that 15,000+ dead Iraqi civilians would not be an unrealistic number. The destructive force of modern American military hardware doesn’t come across very well when it’s on a teevee screen.

Or the liberal USA Today’s estimate was vastly inflated, and the actual count is less than 1,000.

Since all we’re doing is speculating on this subject, my thoughts are as good as the next guy’s, eh?

Blind Fools! The Son of Satan has fooled you all! The American Butchers killed and ate over a million Iraqis and more die every day! You are tools of the MAN! You will be punished for your wicked ways when the savior Chomsky descends in Fire and Light from the Holy Mount!


I’ve been wanting to do that for a while. :smiley:

Check these links:

Iraq o Meter

11k Iraqi Soldiers killed… and 8k civilians
Iraq Body Count

Iraq Body Count seems the best and most balanced…
The Red Cross says to many casualties to count them:

Red Cross

I’d treat the figures with scepticism, but they are certainly plausable. Another important figure is the number of Iraqi conscripts killed in the war.

The “liberals control the media” and “conservatives control the media” arguments are nonsense. Some news sources have a liberal bias, and some have a conservative bias.

Not to hijack this thread, but I think “the media has a corporate bias” is the closest to the truth. Whatever position will benefit the bottom line the most is the one the media takes, whether that’s flooding the airwaves with 24/7 coverage of Janet Jackson’s nipple (ratings gold!) or kissing up to the President to ensure continued White House access.

But anything that throws out the “liberals/conservatives control the media” canard is okay with me.

Good point rjung.

That would be dangerous.

Somebody might remember that they also claimed that 5000 Iraqis died every month as a result of pre-war sanctions.

The OPs figures seem reasonable for a WAG ballpark figure to me. I would figure it would be something like 6-10k casualties for ‘civilians’ and maybe double that for Iraqi military as my own WAG. One of the reasons for impresision would be how do you distinguish between ‘civilian’ casualties and ‘military’? Especially since the occupation part, the two have tended to blur.

I think this hasn’t been reported as much because Americans really don’t want to know about this kind of stuff. Its kind of the down side of it all, and I think that most of the news organs here report more what folks want to hear (like J.J’s nipple at the superbowl, or the latest J.Lo. BS).

Have to agree with rjung (unbelievable as it may seem) about the ‘corporate bias’, but think the sucking up to the president to maintain access is a load of bullshit…he probably thinks that too and through that out gratutiously anyway. Since when has it stopped any reporters/news organizations in the past from tearing into the president?? Certainly I don’t remember the press pulling too many punches in the past as far as presidents go simply to ‘maintain access’. I’ll leave it at that, unless rjung wants to bring out some cites about this.

As to the rest of the OP…I’m not sure how to judge the civilian casualties. For something as major as a full blown war where the previous harsh regime was totally tossed out, I’d say the casualties were reasonably light, both civilian and military. I can’t think of another major war like this one that had so few casualties. The more recent war that is comparable on scale would be Bosnia, which had a hell of a lot more civilian casualties (though its complicated and doesn’t really match up…a lot of the 'civilian casualties weren’t caused by NATO after all). Certainly Vietnam had a hell of a lot more civilian casualties (a million? Something like that anyway). How many ‘civilian casualties’ was there in Afghanistan (either this time of for the russians)? I’m betting they were similar, though probably lower as we didn’t do a full scale ground war there. MUCH higher for the Soviets of course.

Not getting into the right or wrong of the Iraq war (I’ve pretty much said in the past the war was stupid and unnecessary), but strictly looking at the number of casualties, I think, considering the size and scope of the operation, that the casualties were pretty minimal. Cold comfort to those who lost loved ones, no doubt about it.


The question of Iraqi casualties will probably never be nailed down to hard numbers. But I rise to ask a related question: How many were expected? How many were they willing to accept?

Perhaps in the ghastly calculus of realpolitik, 10,000 innocent casualties is a price they were willing to bear. After all, they aren’t our casualties. At what point would they have hesitated? Were there pre-war estimates of the civilian casualties, and were they based on the same rosy scenarios as the rest of the post-war plan? Were they based on the same shrewd insight as the Bushivik’s clear calculation of the threat from WMD’s? What price in innocent blood were they willing to accept? 10,000? 100,000? Surely, someone made such an estimate. Just as surely, that estimate was approved as “acceptable”.

Sen. Kerry posed a sharp question, lo, those many years ago: how do you ask someone to die for a false cause. The unspoken question is: how do you ask someone to kill for one?

A sad fact of war is that, historically speaking, they kill more civilians than soldiers. The Iraq war was probably little diferent in this respect, especially as its not hard to argue that Iraqi conscripts could be counted as civilians.

Possibly the only real justification for the Iraq war is that Saddam’s regime would have killed more people than the war did. The answer to this question is a resounding “maybe”.

That’s not a real justification at all. There’s a UN convention on genocide, which could have been invoked if the US really gave a rat’s ass about preventing the deaths of Iraqis under Saddam.

Well, its a better justification than the ones we have been given by our governments.

Not to hijack the thread further, but it’s an open secret with the White House Press Corps that anyone who displeases the Administration (such as not kowtowing to the Administration’s line) gets their access revoked. No White House access = no ratings, since viewers would rather tune in to a competing network who does have access.

If you think the White House coverage we’ve gotten in the last few years is “not pulling too many punches,” you have a very lax definition of “hard-hitting journalism.” The pre-Iraq-war press conference alone is a shining example of how non-controversial the WHPC is.

There’s a whole page of them here.. I’ll just quote from one example:

How did you learn of this “open secret”? Do you have any examples of people whose press credentials were revoked because of “displeasing” the Admin? And how do you explain Helen Thomas?

Right. Because before the war, I had a hard time finding articles saying we should not have invaded Iraq, or saying that Iraq had turned into a quagmire, or saying that we hadn’t sent enough troops in to do the job, or saying that we were going to lose the war. And I sure can’t find any articles saying that we’re now “losing” the peace. Yep, articles critical of the President hardly ever make it into reputable papers.

I don’t think you could have chosen a worse example.

At that time, Baghdad wasn’t exactly a stable environment, and not everyone in Baghdad was Bush’s biggest fan. If word had leaked, we could have expected an attempt in Bush’s life. The Admin (and the press) kept a lid on the fact that the Pres was in Baghdad because knowledge that the Pres was in Baghdad could have put the Pres’s life in jeopardy.

Hell, the Admin wanted everyone to know where the Pres was. They probably wanted them to know while the Pres was in Baghdad. Bush was criticized on these boards for engaging in a cheap publicity stunt. “Publicity” stunts imply publicity. And now you’re suggesting that the press showed that they were cowtowwing by not revealing facts until those facts would not have put the President’s life in danger?

I think your standard is a bit askew.

So all we had to do was invoke the UN convention on genocide, and the genocide would go away? So why hasn’t this magical convention been invoked in other parts of the world to avoid war? Say, Bosnia, for example?

There are those that opposed invading Iraq, despite the fact that Saddam Hussein was torturing and killing thousands of his own citizens, and the UN sanctions were reputedly causing the death of 5,000 Iraqis every month.

Perhaps in the ghastly calculus of realpolitik, those opposing invasion thought that 5,000+ innocent casualties per month is a price they were willing to bear. After all, they aren’t our casualties. At what point would they have hesitated? Were there pre-war estimates of the civilian casualties, and were they based on the same rosy scenarios as the rest of the Demostylus “invoke the magic convention” plan? Were they based on the same shrewd insight as the rjungivick’s clear calculation of the threat from a conservative press? What price in innocent blood were they willing to accept before invading? 10,000? 100,000? Surely, someone made such an estimate. Just as surely, that estimate was approved as “acceptable”.

In other words, “pot, kettle, black.”

Those certainly are other words, in that one regard you are entirely corrrect.

You flop a statistic as though reading from the Gospel, “those opposing invasion thought that 5,000+ innocent casualties per month is a price they were willing to bear” I hesitate to guess from whence you pulled this number. Was it perhaps from a speech given by the Shining One? I don’t recall him saying anything about a mad dash to save “5,000” lives per month. Does this statistic carry with it the same adamantine reliability that we’ve come to expect from the Admin? Does it carry the Ahmed Chalabi Seal of Honesty? These are important questions. In your haste to expose my hypocrisy, you seem to have overlooked them. Perhaps when you have more time…

Maybe you mean to ring in that oldy but goldy…that those people were dying from the sanctions we imposed, and it was Saddam’s fault that we imposed them, therefore he was killing them. This is pure weasel-think. Of course, I hold you in too high a regard to even suggest you might have tried to foist off such an unseemly argument.

How many innocent civilians died? I’ve no idea. It seems as though comparatively few perished, and this must gladden any humane heart. But it is more a marvelous circumstance than anything else, anyone with any awareness of history knows that war is chaos made manifest, the thing unanticipated is the thing most likely, and no one can anticipate chaos. We risked many more lives than were actually lost, under a false flag of pre-emptive self defense, and now try to pretend we were on a campaign of selfless and noble liberation.

If anyone ever again believes a word we say, it will be a wonder.

Not arguing with you but I would just like to point out, because from your post one could get a different impression, that this has pretty much been the way it is for the last several administrations, whether republican or democrat, probably stretching back to the 19th century at least. Clinton, Bush Sr, Raygun, Carter, Ford, LBJ etc etc etc all had chief of staffs that used white house access as carrots and sticks. Im suprised someone actually asked for a cite.

elucidator, you said:

I can’t think of another major war like this one that had so few casualties. The more recent war that is comparable on scale would be Bosnia, which had a hell of a lot more civilian casualties (though its complicated and doesn’t really match up…a lot of the 'civilian casualties weren’t caused by NATO after all).

Im not too sure this casualty list is comprised only of casualties caused by the US/British military; I would bet almost anything that civilian casualties of suicide bombers etc in Iraq are being placed amongst the casualties in that list. I think it is just as complicated in that regard as Bosnia.

The Ministry of Health in Iraq was orderd to STOP counting civilian deaths a while back by the US. In addition, they were prohibited from releasing any of the numbers they already had. The numbers gathered from hosipitals and funeral homes is between 6 and ten thousand civilians. But that’s a low estimate. Most deaths were not recorded in hospitals. People died in the rubble of their homes. They died in remote towns and villages. They continue to die every day. We’re not getting the numbers of military deaths or wounded. Election year strategy is clear. No numbers of those dead because of our embargo, either. Only estimates. What the heck…war is a game. People die. Not too many people care. Janet Jackson’s breast exposure upsets people. Not dead people. So long as we don’t see them. Uh…the flag draped photos of incoming dead are not allowed. It has to look surgical and sanitary so Bush can be elected. Ugly world.

From rjungs fair and balanced cite. Definitely up to your usual standard of attempting to maintain perspective and be fair in your analysis of the opposing side, as usual. Bravo!!

You are right, rjung…this calm and balanced look certainly shows me the light. Thanks for providing it. At least I got a good laugh.

Were we speaking strictly of the WHPC?? I thought we were talking about journalism in America in general. I see little different than I’ve seen in other administrations as far as reporting on the President. I remember folks on the conservative side howling about Clinton and how the press gave him an easy ride too. Same for Bush I. Certainly the same for Regan. I also remember the howls of the Clinton side that the press was out to get him…same with all the others mentioned. Its always good for a laugh, IMO, reguardless of which side is in power, or who is currently howling.

Personally I think that if YOUR guys isn’t in power and the press isn’t spending 24/7 attacking him, you are apt to think that the press is giving him an easy ride. If YOUR guys IS in power, then you are apt to think the press is out to get him. From my perspective, it seems pretty much business as usual. But I’m biased, right? :slight_smile:
Voodoochile, that quote was from me, not 'luci. You’ve probably terribly offended him attributing something from my unworthy keyboard to him. :slight_smile:

As to your statement, my WAG is my WAG. The numbers came out of the air to be honest…based on my own speculations. Its my impression that, relatively speaking and looking at it dispassionately, the casualties were fairly light considering what was done. Of course, as 'luci pointed out, you CAN’T really look at the deaths of innocent civilians (or even NOT innocent military personnel) without some pangs…especially in something that has every appearence of being a war fought for no good reason.

As far as how many would have died if the US had NOT invaded, its a moot point really. Its not the US’s JOB to fix all the problems with the world…the world doesn’t want our help, folks. People die every day in little shit hole countries around the world, unfortunately. Should the US fix all of those too? SHould we invade northern Africa and impose order and peace (they REALLY fucking need the help after all)? Should we march into North Korea and depose KjI and his band of lunitics? A hell of a lot more than 5000 people die a month in those places due to the current regimes. I was and remain all for what we did in Afghanistan. But Iraq, IMHO, was not necessary, and has distracted us from what we should be doing…hunting down AQ wherever they are.

I’m not wanting to hijack this into yet another Iraq war screed so I’ll stop there. From a purely numerical perspective I’ve already given my opinion on civilian and military casualties. I’ll probably once again get hammered from both sides. Sam Stone will call me a leftist and rjung will call me a Bushista republican conservative, blah blah blah. C’est la vie I guess.