I’ve updated my Iraq-Vietnam comparison graphs with the number of US dead for August. The number was up from the previous month, with 66 US fatalities.
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 18 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:
Disclaimer: I’m aware that 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.
These graphs are not intended to say anything about the relative lethality of the two conflicts. Nor am I trying to make a case 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. You are free to draw your own conclusions.
My conclusion, 18 months in: Bush has no exit strategy. These deaths will continue in approximately their current numbers until the US electorate musters the political will to call for a change of course. I’m hoping that’s in 60 days, but we’ll see. In the meantime, when you listen to those chants of “four more years,” don’t kid yourself. You’re talking about four more years of this. These soldiers are not dying to keep America safe from terrorism. They’re dying so Bush doesn’t have to admit he made a mistake.
You can view more discussion of these charts on the following pages, if you’re interested. The graphs are all the same; I just update them in place when the new numbers become available.
- 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 death toll down for us, up for them
- Thirteen months in
- Record US deaths in April
- US War Dead in Iraq for May
- US Iraq Deaths Down in June
- US Soldiers Continue to Die in Iraq