Iraq War Dead for May, 2006

I’m a little late, but here are the updated graphs of US war deaths in Iraq for May.

As always, I’m comparing the military casualties to those from the Vietnam war at a similar point in each war’s political lifetime (which some have charged is misleading; see disclaimer below). The data come 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 39 months of the comparison. (Click on any image for a larger version.)

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

Disclaimer: I’ve been accused of comparing apples to oranges in these graphs. For the record, here’s what I am not arguing:

  • I’m not saying that Iraq is somehow deadlier per soldier-on-the-ground than Vietnam. For both wars, the number of fatalities in any given month tracks pretty closely with the number of troops deployed (along with the intensity of the combat operations being conducted). There are more troops in Iraq today than were in Vietnam during the “corresponding” parts of the graphs. Similarly, for later years in Vietnam, when the monthly death toll exceeded the current Iraq numbers, there were many more troops in place.
  • I am not saying that Iraq is somehow “worse” than Vietnam. I include the first graph mainly because I wanted a zoomed-in view of the Iraq data. And I include the second graph, which shows the entire span of the Vietnam war, because I want to be clear about what the data show about overall death tolls — where any rational assessment would have to conclude that, at least so far, Iraq has been far less significant (at least in terms of US combat fatalities) than Vietnam.

I was just curious how the “death profile” of the two wars compared, and how those deaths played out in terms of their political impact inside the US. For that reason, I chose as the starting point for each graph the first fatality that a US president acknowledged (belatedly, in the case of the Vietnam graph, since US involvement in the war “began” under Kennedy, but the acknowledgement was made only later by Johnson) as having resulted from the war in question.

As ever, you are free to draw your own conclusions. And for that matter, you’re free to draw your own graphs, if you have a way of presenting the information that you believe would be better. In that case, feel free to post a comment with a URL to your own version. Thanks.

4 Responses to “Iraq War Dead for May, 2006”

  1. treehugger Says:

    14,000 dead Iraqi civilians this year alone. Almost 6,000 for May and June.

    Democracy is great, except for when you’re dead.

  2. TeacherVet Says:

    The curiosity of how the “death profile” of the two wars compare seems to have disappeared as the molehill approaches the mountain. Predictable?

  3. jbc Says:

    I’m not sure what you mean. For myself, I remain as curious as ever about how the two wars compare to each other. True, I’ve been bad about doing the updates quickly lately, but that’s not due to a lack of curiousity as much as a lack of time.

    I’ll get the June numbers up before I go to work today, though.

  4. Rick vietvet Says:

    I was in Vietnam in 1971 to 1972 compare Iraq to that shit. it was the hardest fighting of the war,there is no real comparision to Vietnam it was a much different time in history,we had nuclear weapons with us and Nixon was ready to use them.Not only that everybody was against the war,America hated us to.I hope you bunch of republican fighting asswipes get the shit blown out of you.ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !!!!!!!!!!!!

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