Remember back on April 15, when Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers said the growing Iraqi insurgency was a sign of our “success“? Well, I’ve updated my Iraq-Vietnam comparison graphs with the numbers of US dead for April, so you can now get a graphical representation of that success.
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 fourteen months of each 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 disclaimer: As large numbers of people have previously pointed out, we have more troops in-theater in Iraq than we had during the corresponding parts of the Vietnam War graph. Vietnam didn’t get numbers of US troops comparable to the number currently in Iraq until shortly after Johnson won the 1964 election, some three-and-a-half years after the starting point of the Vietnam graphs above.
I’m not claiming that these graphs prove that the Iraq war is somehow equivalent to, or worse than, the Vietnam war. I was just curious how the “death profile” of the two wars compared, and these graphs let me see that. Those of you who like to defend the Iraq war by pointing out that many more US troops died each month at the peak of the Vietnam war than are currently dying in Iraq are welcome to make that case using the data shown above. Those of you who want to explain why I’m an idiot for suggesting a comparison between the two sets of data are likewise welcome to contribute via the comments.