Attrition: The Terrorist Death Rate

Archives

October 7,2008:  Last month, terrorist deaths in Iraq were 359. That's an annual rate of about 17 per 100,000 people per year. As things settle down, it's been easier to get a better idea of what the civilian losses have been over the last five years. In that time, the terrorist death rate has averaged about 60 per 100,000. A century ago, during the four year Philippine Insurrection, civilians died at the rate of about 600 per 100,000 population per year. As in Iraq, many of those deaths were the result of local factions fighting each other. During the Vietnam war, the civilian death rate from military operations was about 400 per 100,000 per year, and, again, a lot of these were due to Vietnamese fighting each other. Most of the violence in the world is locals fighting each other over local issues. The media likes to put a different spin on this local fighting (making it seem like part of a larger plot or external influence). But violence, like politics, tends to be intensely local in its origins.

Up through the Summer of 2005 in Iraq, the death rate was running at about 45 dead per 100,000 population per year. This is far higher than the usual rate in Middle Eastern countries (under 10 per 100,000). Well, most of the time. During civil wars and insurrections, the rate has spiked to over 100 per 100,000, sometimes for several years in a row. During Saddam's long reign, the Iraqi death rate from democide (the government killing its own people) averaged over 100 per 100,000 a year. This does not include the several hundred thousand killed during the war with Iran in the 1980s. During 2006-7, the rate peaked, as the terrorists were defeated, and the death rate plummeted.

In Afghanistan, the death rate for civilians, mostly from Taliban violence, has been 6-7 dead per 100,000 people, in the last two years. But just like Iraq, the media concentrates mainly on the incidents of violence, and not the pattern and overall intensity.

American military losses are also way down in Iraq. In September, 25 U.S. troops died, but most (two-thirds) of those were from accidents and disease. During the last five months, U.S. deaths in Iraqi have averaged about 23 a month, with less than half of them because of combat.

 

 


Article Archive

Attrition: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close