41 US Iraq War Dead in December

December’s US bodycount wasn’t as bad as November’s, merely as bad as the previous awful months. I’ve updated my Iraq-Vietnam comparison graphs accordingly.

Again, I’m getting these figures from the advanced search tool at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund site, and from Lunaville’s page on Iraq coalition casualties. The figures are for the number of US dead per month, without regard to whether the deaths were combat-related.

The first graph shows the first twelve months of the Vietnam war, and the first ten months of the Iraq war. (Click on any image for a larger version.)

Next, the same chart, with the Vietnam numbers extended out to cover the first four years of the war:

Finally, the chart that gives the US death toll for the entire Vietnam war:

Obligatory note: I am not claiming any military significance in this particular comparison. I’m just talking about the wars’ respective political histories. See lengthy discussion in my previous postings here, here, and here.

And for a somewhat more personal look at the human cost of Bush’s failed Iraq policies, check out this page from militarycity.com: Faces of valor.

13 Responses to “41 US Iraq War Dead in December”

  1. lies.com » US War Dead in Iraq for May Says:

    [...] US deaths in Vietnam and Iraq by month Iraq war deaths November: The cruelest month 41 US Iraq war dead in December Post-Saddam death toll up slightly February [...]

  2. lies.com » US Soldiers Continue to Die in Iraq Says:

    [...] US deaths in Vietnam and Iraq by month Iraq war deaths November: The cruelest month 41 US Iraq war dead in December Post-Saddam death toll up slightly February [...]

  3. lies.com » Eighteen Months In Says:

    [...] US deaths in Vietnam and Iraq by month Iraq war deaths November: The cruelest month 41 US Iraq war dead in December Post-Saddam death toll up slightly February [...]

  4. lies.com » The Bush Legacy in Iraq Says:

    [...] US deaths in Vietnam and Iraq by month Iraq war deaths November: The cruelest month 41 US Iraq war dead in December Post-Saddam death toll up slightly February [...]

  5. Roger Says:

    I don’t see any value in this graph comparison, other than to see what you want to see. At best it’s like comparing apples to oranges, at worst it’s “voodoo statistics” used to spin a particular point of view.

    Vietnam and Iraq are entirely different situations, and for that reason alone there is no predictive value to laying one graph on top of the other. For example:

    - In Vietnam, the insurgents enjoyed widespread support from the general population. In Iraq, polls show that the overwhelming majority of the population is against the insurgency (even if they are not pro-coalition).

    - In Vietnam, the insurgency was constantly being massively resupplied by outside powers. In Iraq, the insurgents depend mostly on previously stored supplies and money, the quantities of which are being depleted (or captured) daily.

    The list of differences (terrain, technology, rules of engagement, political will, etc.) goes on and on.

    People made comparisons like this when we went into Afghanistan. Everyone dragged out statistics from the Soviet invasion and we all heard about the “meat grinder” we were getting sucked into. Even though we were fighting a war in the same country against some of the same people, the outcome was radically different.

  6. John Callender Says:

    Like I said several times previously, I’m not making any claims for predictive value. I just got to wondering how the bodycount we’ve seen so far in Iraq compared with the bodycount in the early years of the Vietnam war. So I graphed them, and laid them one on top of the other, using as my starting point for Vietnam the point at which Lyndon Johnson publicly acknowledged the first of that war’s deaths as having occurred.

    I guess it’s human nature to ignore my words and just assume I’m trying to make some kind of “Iraq is more deadly than Vietnam” case based on the images. But I’m not doing that.

    I’m not talking about military history. I’m not looking at the behavior of soldiers and generals. I’m looking at the behavior of electorates and politicians. I’m curious how many US troops had died at what stage in Vietnam, and how Johnson dealt with the political fallout at home. I’m curious how that compares with the bodycount Bush is dealing with from the Iraq war.

    I think the data can clearly be spun whichever way you want. You can point out how Bush’s hundreds of US war dead represent a substantial amount of carnage compared to the first several years of the Vietnam war. Or you can point to the really bad parts of the Vietnam war, and how Iraq really can’t compare to it in quantitative terms.

    But the data are real. The graphs represent real lives ended, plotted X versus Y to get a sense of how many people were dying at what stage in the war. The big lesson I take from the Vietnam graph is the way it suddenly jumped up after Johnson won the 1964 election. Freed, at least temporarily, from the need to campaign for peoples’ votes, and anxious to end the conflict on favorable terms, he dramatically altered the situation, leading (sadly) to those horrible peaks in the graph during the latter half of the 1960s.

    You can take whatever lesson you want from these graphs. But again, the data are real. If you’re going to argue that they have no value, other than seeing whatever it is I wanted to see, well, I think you’re not looking close enough.

  7. Liberal Says:

    Look at me… I’m a liberal! I believe that no one will harm me because I can talk. I forgot what life is like outside the safe little habitat that I created for myself. So I will negotiate with the wolves when they come to blow down the house, because I forgot to build with brick.

    Look at me… I’m a liberal! I love the death of others, it allows me to sink comfortably into my own self delusion that I’m logical. I pray for a soldier to die in order to espouse my lies because I hate a leader who leads.

    Look at me… I’m a liberal! I forgot the basis of morality. I love to give away what others have worked for. Stateship should usurp ownership. I didn’t work for it, but I can use government to get it for me and those I pander to. Forget gainful employment, it’s much too painful.

  8. Roger Says:

    I understand your point, but clearly, in the context of this web site, you are trying to imply that this war is a disaster and the worst may be yet to come. The very fact that you are comparing it to ‘Nam, and not to a “just” war such as WWII suggests it.

    While you are indeed presenting facts, the way those facts are presented, along with the fact that other important facts are omitted is a clear case of spin.

    It would be interesting to see a graph showing the number of Iraqi’s killed over time.

    In Saddam’s 25 year rule, some 300,000 were exucuted and buried in mass graves. That equates to about 1000 a month, on average.

    To that one could add in several hundred thousand more killed in his wars against Iran and Kuwait.

    I wonder how that graph would look…

    I could lay that graph over yours, and change the heading to “1000 Innocents Saved This Month in Iraq” and spin the exact same data as a humanitarian mardi gras.

    I’m convinced that if Al Gore or Bill Clinton led us into this adventure, sites like these would be trumpeting the innocent Iraqi lives saved by getting them out from under Saddam. They would argue that all lives are equal so if one American can die to save 50 Iraqi’s, then the price was worth it.

    All that being said, I feel the administration clearly spins things for their purposes as well. I just wish there was less spin in the world and more useful analysis.

    That’s my 2 cents.

  9. Dave Says:

    I have to agree with Roger and reject the notion that that nothing is being implied in the above graphs. The clear implication is that Irak is another Vietmam.

    Try this. The number of U.S. casualties in Vietnam were something in excess of fifty thousand. At the rate of five hundred casualties per year, the U.S. would have to be in Irak for one hundred years in order to suffer the same number of casualties.

    Those opposed to the war willfully fail to realize that the president’s policies are aimed at heading off a disasterous world war. In other words, at the cost of hundreds of american lives, we are buying the lives of millions and even billions of world citizens. As it is, if we stay the current course, the longterm benifits worldwide are likely to include, a peaceful and stable middle east, peace between the Palestinians and Israel, and therefore a new and peaceful world dynamic.

    I for one believe that these things can be achieved if we persist. Toward that end I intend to vote for George Bush in the next presidential election. That is, if some rage-aholic from the Dean campaign doesn’t shoot him first.

  10. xyz Says:

    very somber chart:

    http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~stephan/USfatalities.html

  11. Roger Sweeny Says:

    Said a different Roger:

    “I understand your point, but clearly, in the context of this web site, you are trying to imply that this war is a disaster and the worst may be yet to come.”

    And what’s wrong with that? Science proceeds by making hypotheses and testing them.

    If Bush wins in November and escalates the war and casualties go way up, then that is evidence for the hypothesis.

    If casualties go down, that’s evidence the Vietnam analogy is not a good one.

  12. The Commissar Says:

    I would have started the comparison in 1965.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    you suck cheese

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