Record US Deaths in April

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.

20 Responses to “Record US Deaths in April”

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  5. hossman Says:

    you may not need to put your disclaimner on these graphs anymore…

       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.

    Iraq has allready reached well over the number of deaths Vietnam had 3.5 years into that war.

  6. Dave Says:

    I would like to see these graphs adjusted for the number of troops so that its more of a “deaths per hundred troops” than a total deaths graph.


  7. Sean Says:

    I would like to see a graph showing total of injured soldiers from each conflict. The ratio of injured to killed in this conflict is higher than in previous wars due to better training, equipment and medical knowledge. I wonder how many injured soldiers are being forgotten in Army hospitals around the country.

  8. Deepak Datta Says:

    We all would be well suited to pay our respect to our brave soldiers who are fighting to preserve our freedom.

    These graphs do not prove any thing, but stir up sentiments among nay sayers. We are at War and the country MUST unite around our leadership and our brave armed forces. We are in the midst of a GWOT (Global War on Terrorism) and succeed we will. Our God is with us!

    May God Bless our troops and May God Always Bless America!

  9. Deepak Datta Says:

    No, you are not an idiot. Just another person with a differing view, albeit an extreme minority view, in a FREE and DEMOCRATIC USA! You are at odds with overwhelming US population who support this Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and this president who has the moral clarity to lead the nation at this difficult hour. Iraq is but a theater in that war and we will win this war!

    Vietnam was in a different era and different realities.


    Leaders in the white house sat around maps of the battlefield and selected targets for our armed forces who were fighting with one hand tied behind their backs. In many cases, the enemy was long gone before the photographs were processed, analyzed and target sets were sent to Vietnam through a target vetting process by President Johnson, Defense Secretary McNamara. Troop strengths were never approved, as requested by Gen. Westmoreland repeatedly, which were needed to win the war. Armed forces were prohibited to attack North Vietnam, or the enemy supply routes through neighboring countries (Cambodia etc.) Only until, President Nixon authorized attacks on the North (Operation Rolling Thunder) that the situation changed and by that time public sentiment was so much turned against the war, by the liberal press that he withdrew the troops. Today, Vietnam theater would be over in few weeks with overwhelming use of precise firepower all over the then North Vietnam and supply routes obliterated, before they could be part of the menace. Supplies would never be allowed, today, to be manufactured first of all, secondly they would never be allowed to travel down Ho Chin Minh trail or through Cambodia. What world are you living in, smell the coffee. You want to let a military force win the war — ask the Bush’s. They know it. Let the military do its job. They proved it in 1991 and again 2003. We are the only standing superpower in the world and I truly believe that God has ordained so!


    The armed forces are given the best equipment and training in the world. God has blessed us with the best of the best.

    The Officers in command are asked if they have what it takes to win the task at hand, i.e., victory. If yes, they are simply given a go ahead and left alone to execute the war plans, which do change after the contact with the enemy. But our forces are agile and they adapt to those changes. They have the best technology working for them in aerial surveillance platforms, satellites, UAV drones like Global Hawk, Predator, Hunter, and Backpack drones like Micro Air vehicles (MAV), which provide our soldiers on the field better situational awareness, , and accurate weaponry in Laser and GPS guided JDAMS bombs, Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, M1A2 Abram’s Tanks, F16, F18 jets, Attack helicopters etc, to take out bad guys with minimum collateral.

    We did win the war as we set out to accomplish. The “Mission was accomplished” to dislodge a brutal dictator who gassed his own people and filled mass graves with innocent civilians who only dared or sometimes only in his imagination dared to confront him. He was caught in a spider hole, which even a dog would not like to crawl into. We also took out his ability FOREVER to manufacture WMDs in future as soon as the sanctions were lifted. We stopped him from funding homicide bombers in Israel. We stopped him from training terrorists in Iraq.

    His terrorist sons were killed while trying to attack our soldiers. The terrorists can not be left alone to roam around Iraq while we are attempting to install a democratic foundation in Iraq which would be a role model for the whole middle east. Al Qaeda have deep roots in Iraq and they will be uprooted entirely.

    The problem in Iraq is not whether we can win over the terrorists, it is the desire to minimize collateral damage and avoid indiscriminate firepower in civilian areas.

    Why do the terrorists thugs of Saddam loyalists hide in civilian areas of Falluja and other cities? Why do the terrorist funded by Iran, Shiite “cleric” Al Sadr hide in one of the holiest shrines in Najef? Because they know that we are compassionate people, we do not like to just go in and kill every one. They know their days are numbered. Just like terrorists like Rantissi and Yassin opened the “gates of hell” for themselves in Gaza, Sadr’s turn is coming soon. Democratic middle east is good for the entire world.

    People like you should be thankful that you are in a God’s blessed land–USA, where you are allowed to say what ever you want. In Saddam’s world you would have been shot, mutilated, hung, or better yet blown up with explosives(take your pick). I am sure you never wrote any where about Saddam’s atrocities.

    Terrorism must be stopped every where. This includes Iraq, Israel, Kashmir, Afghanistan and the entire middle east.

    Remember what President Bush said, either you are with us or you are with the terrorists! That is so true.

    So Mister, Get behind it! NOW.

    May God always bless our brave soldiers and our leadership and our beautiful country — USA!

  10. Dave Says:

    ok deepak… i think you’re right about one thing. we should fight the war on terrorism. but torturing drivers who didn’t have their papers with sodomy isn’t exactly my idea of doing that.

    we should help iraq get on their feet. and get them a government without established religion, and maybe they’d have a chance.

    I’d like to point out to you that the REAL war on terrorism is being completely neglected. right now Al qaeda is training tens of thousands of new terrorists with things like marshal arts (so they don’t even need a weapon to take over an airplane) and its all happening in countries BESIDES Iraq. take syria for example. if we were actually fighting a war on terrorism, we’d be in syria destroying those camps and arresting the people running them.

    instead, we are looting iraq of its assets and hiring tens of thousands of “contractors” aka hired thugs. to do the dirty work.

    I guess the neocons were afraid we’d not have some huge enemy skapegoat to help build military pork. but now that’s not such a problem anymore.

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  15. Frank ( aka Vietnam Vet) Says:


    The graph that he put up is fine and gives one the real story.
    Iraq is in deed another Vietnam with the sappers and ” In the day light hours, I am an iraqi citizen” At Night I am sympathetic to the cause of Osama” and his boys

    Im not really a fan of Bush’s but the reality is that Bush misled this country into a phony WMD claim. Thats the long and short of it !

    That being said we are there now and we must restore order and support the troops. War is not a good thing but when you are there, you simply clean house. We are loosing 3-4 troops a day, paying almost three dollars a gallon for gas, and still screwing around playing a nut and shell game with Osama, and his few dirty dozen.

    First it was the war was over, then it went to worse than expected, then it was we need to allocate more money, then it was someother finatical broke dick who is now hiding in holy places. Get Iraq off the dime start pumping oil into this nation at a reasonable price, Do away with the finantical muslims, and get this over with. This is another Vietnam,a prudent person will see that no matter where you draw the line someone will object. Its a nad deal that Bush got us into allo the signs are there for another leader 40.00 oil, war. etc. Its over for Bush as a leader, Im not certain that Kerry is any better.

  16. CS Says:

    I am currently active duty right now, and have a first hand experience with all the “Iraqi War” BS. If anyone has seen what is over there first hand then people would not run there mouths so much. I find it interesting how posts all the war death numbers, but fails to tell people, only 2/3’s of those are combat related. The other third (300 or about) is from accidents ie vehicles, weapons miss firing, etc.. along with heart attacks, heat stroke, suicides, and other freak accidents. So now that you have this information, please be a little more accurate in your numbers. All we ask is support for what we are told to do. Some plans take a little longer than others, just let President Bush finish. As we like to say some turds float to the top and others sink, but in the end they all get flushed down the toilet!

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Having done my own numeric analysis of both coalition deaths (using US DOD figures exclusively) and civilian deaths, I take an especial interest in other such projects.

    At present, using LSM method shows a steady rising incline from 19 March to present, which is staggering considering that includes the heavy casualities from establishing the occupation.

    Cutting off the days from 19 Mar to 15 Apr – which means, starting from the insurgency proper – it amounts to a much steeper incline.

    It kind of saddens me that people always crawl out of the woodwork to complain about anyone who provides tools which can result in accountability, such as graphs of this nature.

    I guess that those who claim to so cherish democracy have no clue that it’s only accountability and transparency that makes democracy function. The present administration, has an awful lot to account for as well.

    If people do not continually question the administration, and just blindly obey their leaders, the consequences can only be identical to tyrrany.

  18. American Says:

    First, to the troops out there serving our country, you are heros.
    Keep up the fight and get back home to your families safe.

    Second, to our President, fix the situation! When the decision to invade Iraq came, I did not support it, not because I didn’t think Saddam was crazy, but because our priority has to be eliminating Al Qaeda. We can chase crazy dictators later, especially ones who don’t have any WMD.

    But now that we’re there, we have an obligation not to turn and leave the mess we made of Iraq. I think the only way to fix it is to bring in a third party (e.g. UN or NATO) to open up fresh avenues of trust with the Iraqis, and attempt to bring the ‘insurgents’ to the political (negotiating) table. Like Moqtada Al Sadr, some rebels want a voice more than violence, and if we just ignore decenting voices, violence is all that is left. Then it will be like Vietnam, in that we are the only thing (temporarily) proping up a weak and unpopular interim government.

    And remember folks, the Iraqis did not attack us on 9/11. Nor did they have anything in common with the Saudis that did, except that they are Arab Muslims. Should we just kill all Arabs and call it a day? Or focus on the countries that had a hand in 9/11: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

    Get Osama.

    -Sincere American

  19. Patty Says:

    I think you should make one on how many deaths there were in the year 2004 during winter weather.

  20. Nico-Arg Says:

    Greetings from Argentina. I will say nothing regarding US troops in Iraq since I wouldn’t consider it my business. I will say something regarding American’s post saying to bring in a third party (UN or NATO).
    I’m really sorry for those who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, war is horrible but I would also be sorry if I see my country’s troops involved in the War in Iraq which is your business and you will have to solve it alone.

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