|From National Review:
Some fascinating statistics about the war on terror
11/20 08:21 AM
Every day, we are reminded of how many fine men and women have paid the ultimate price in the war on terror. I began to wonder, what is the casualty rate for the other side in this war?
In Iraq, I?ve seen several sources cite ?about 55,000? insurgents killed; they?re listed as ?Iraqi insurgents,? but I have not seen any specification of what percentage are Iraqi and what percentage are foreign fighters.
As of this writing, the number of U.S. troops who have died in Iraq stands at 2,867. I?ve also seen the figure 2,493 for deaths from hostile action.
This suggests that about 22 bad guys are killed for every U.S. combat death; 19 to 1 if you use the total U.S. death figure.
I can find no clear and specific number as to how many Taliban and al-Qaeda have been killed in Afghanistan since the start of hostilities there in 2001. I would prefer a better source than Wikipedia, but they list 5,500 killed and 1,000 captured. According to Wikipedia, 187 Americans have died in hostile action, 102 died in non-hostile action.
Again, about 29 to 1 in terms of combat deaths, or 19 to 1 in terms of all U.S. deaths.
(I also note that CIA Director Michael Hayden stated on the five year anniversary of 9/11 that the U.S. had killed or captured more than 5,000 since the attacks. I presume that at least some of that number represents strikes from Hellfire missiles in places like Pakistan and Yemen and perhaps other places where the reach of the U.S and its allies has eliminated al-Qaeda members and their allies.)
Are those ratios about as good as we can possibly expect against a non-uniformed foe who hides among civilians and uses IEDs, car bombs, and explosives in backpacks instead of tanks and infantry?
If you start from the assumption that the U.S. is in a war with the ideology of jihad, Islamism, Islamo-fascism, whatever you prefer to call the mentality that the murder of nonbelievers is a holy duty, and that there is no alternative to fighting and killing this foe, than by these measures both Iraq and Afghanistan are exceptionally effective offensives in this war. The bad guys who die on a battlefield in those faraway places cannot detonate a suicide belt in the middle of Times Square.
I?m sure there will be those who will contend that some of the insurgents killed in Iraq are only fighting for their homeland, and who would never ever in a million years join an international jihadist organization like al-Qaeda. I am sure there are those who will also contend that ?we?re creating terrorists? with our policies, that so many of these young Arab and Muslim males would be living in perfect harmony with the West, if only we had pursued different policies in the Middle East. Yes, yes, it?s not what they?re hearing from their imam, or at their madrassa, or on the Internet or from their rabidly anti-American media and political leaders; it?s entirely our policies that motivate sensible young men to become suicide bombers.
I tend to believe that if you?re willing to blow yourself up in Sadr City, you?re probably willing to consider blowing yourself up in Seattle. If you?re willing to wire a car bomb in Kabul, it?s not unthinkable that you might try the same in an American city.
As the new Democratic Congressional majorities attempt to hammer out a new Iraq policy, they would be wise to keep an eye on the casualties on the other side of the battle.
UPDATE: Over at North Shore Journal
, they recently started a project to keep track of terrorist and insurgent deaths. Unfortunately, they only began keeping records since November 1. Yet in a half a month or so, 144 enemy dead recorded in Iraq, 34 recorded in Afghanistan.