US War Dead in Iraq for January

Here are the updated graphs for January. As you can see, we’ve entered the part of the Vietnam War where Johnson was dramatically increasing troop levels; from here on out, barring something really horrible, I’d expect the Vietnam numbers to exceed the Iraq numbers.

As always, I’m comparing the US military casualties in Iraq 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 48 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 were more troops in Iraq in the early going than were in Vietnam during the “corresponding” parts of the graphs. Similarly, for later years in Vietnam, when the monthly death toll exceeds 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.

2 Responses to “US War Dead in Iraq for January”

  1. newpearlharbor Says:

    Iraq is far worse than Vietnam..because Iraq is the start of a global positioning in the world by this administration.
    I am sick and tired of all these idiots that swallow the rhetoric passed out by the leashed mass media with their cute keywords ,spat out every five seconds so brain dead flag waving morons can reiterate them with an assumed air of authority …”cut and run” “fight them over there so we dont fight them over here ” “war on terror”…Its like training chimps.
    Look into the events of ..listen ..and question ..most of all question…
    Why when every major media outlet going stuck a mic under someones face when they were covered in dust and interviewed them and they said “I heard an explosion below me on the 7th floor ” or I heard a large explosion in the basement ” or a fire chief says I saw huge explosion damage in the basement with the marble wall blown off…were these interviews buried ..never to be shown again by the likes of cnn or fox or abc??? why were over 500 radio messages between firefighters or police or emts and their control stations held by the government under national security ???and when some were released recently under great pressure they too contained NUMEROUS reports of explosions going off that had nothing to do with the planes?
    Why did the buildings fall at freefall speed ( scientifically proven ) when it would be scientifically impossible to do so if it encountered resistance at every level on the way down ( science proves the only way is if the base and key points all the way up were demolished in unison)??
    Why is this the only steel structure in history to fall as a result of fire?despite the fact that a firefighter having got to the floor where the plane hit , called his control and said it was managable?
    Why did WT7 fall when it wasnt even hit by a plane?
    Why has traces of thermite been found on supporting beams at the base?
    The numerous helicoter footage from news crews show a 15-20 ft hole initially at the Pentagon ( before firefighters pulled the facade down later )
    A Boeing 757 has a 112 ft wingsan with two 6 ton engines made of titanium and steel 60 feet apart from each other .
    How does two 6 ton engines 60 feet apart hit a building at 500mph and not make a dent on the wall or windows yet somehow slip into a 20 ft hole?????
    How does a whole plane melt into nothing ( the official government suggestion) when steel and titanium will melt at 2600f and a carbon based fire could only reach 1300f maximum under ideal circumstances ( not this one either)..These are scientifically proven facts.
    This is not fantasy ladies and gents …This is what your government wants you to believe unquestioningly.
    The threat to this country was manufactured by a government who wanted a conflict with the middle east for oil and global expansion .This war will expand .
    Your government has been complicit in the worst mass murder this country has ever witnessed and you sit back and argue the pros and cons of a war strategy.
    History will condemn this time as one of the all time shameful episodes in human endeavours second only to the holocaust.
    Read and question…smoke and mirrors

  2. shcb Says:

    We all of course hope your predictions are wrong, I don’t think anyone wants to see our young men die in those kinds of numbers, but if that is what it takes to win, then the sacrifice will have to be made. Failure is not an option.
    Here is a link to a page that refutes your prognosis fairly well:

    In summary, this paper says the two wars are quite different in mission and method. One way I can see this campaign going the way of the Vietnam war is for liberals to get in the oval office, note I didn’t say Democrats. Micromanaged incrementalism stands a good chance of the need for a much larger force and higher casualties at a later date. This is the path we took Vietnam, history notes the results. We learned many lessons in Vietnam from a military standpoint, lessons we seem to have not forgotten judging from the success on the ground in this campaign. We haven’t been as successful learning our lessons at the ballot box. It should be obvious by now liberals and Democrats are not to be trusted with national security. This is a lesson I am afraid we will have to learn all over again.

    Short Haired Country Boy

    PS I see NPH is on a tear for his conspiracy theory again please read my rebuff on the
    Closing Arguments in the Scooter Libby Trial page.

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