Attrition: Patterns Of Civilian Deaths In Iraq


April 23, 2009: Researchers are digging into the casualty statistics from Iraq, especially civilian deaths. There has been some interesting analysis of the civilian deaths that occurred  between March 20, 2003 and March 19, 2008. Not included are deaths of the Iraqi security forces or foreign civilians working for coalition forces. The deaths include terrorists and Iraqis and foreigners fighting coalition forces and the Iraqi government.

Most of the fighting, and killing, was Iraqis against Iraqis. For example, only two percent of the 60,000 deaths occurred during the use of warplanes (bombs or gunfire.) Moreover, 92 percent of those killed were adult males. Some 43 percent of the deaths were executions, mainly Shia death squads murdering Sunni men in revenge for the post-2003 terror bombings, and pre-2003 terror against Shia by Saddam's secret police and death squads. Suicide bombs caused 14 percent of deaths, with vehicle and roadside bombs accounting for another 14 percent. Mortar fire, usually Sunnis firing at Shia neighborhoods, accounted for another three percent of deaths. Small arms fire accounted for 20 percent of the dead. These deaths occurred during 14,196 separate violent events.

Another 10,027 civilian deaths occurred during long term periods of combat (the initial 2003 invasion and prolonged battled like that in Fallujah. There were another 20,850 civilian that could not be linked to any crime, combat or act of terrorism. The data used here was collected and recently published in New England Journal of Medicine.



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