The Associated Press discovered that CENTCOM put up numbers of Iraqi deaths on its website in July 2010 with little fanfare. The military claimed that 76,939 Iraqis had been killed from January 2004 to August 2008. That broke down to 63,185 civilians and 13,754 members of the security forces. Another 121,649 people were wounded during that period. There was no explanation of how the figures were arrived at, but AP speculated that they were based upon the charts that the Defense Department began releasing during the Surge in 2007.
In October, Wikileaks publicized thousands of U.S. daily intelligence documents from Iraq. The Guardian’s Data Blog culled through the papers and put together a chart on monthly casualties from January 2004 to December 2009. The Guardian found 83,300 Iraqi deaths for those six years and 176,382 wounded. Another 23,984 enemy combatants were also killed. For the time period covered in the CENTCOM posting, the Guardian noted 74,830 deaths, 2,109 less than the military’s.
Comparing Iraqi Death Counts (2004-2009)Brookings Institute, and 10,834 by the Iraq Body Count. In 2005, the U.S. counted 8,993 deaths, which was close to icasualties’ 8,225. Icasualties only relies upon Western sources however, and notes that it misses many fatalities. In comparison, Iraq Body Count had 15,031 deaths and Brookings had 20,163. From 2006-2009 though, the numbers were roughly the same. For instance, in 2009 Brookings had 3,000 deaths, Iraq Body Count 4,681, the U.S. military 2,891, and icasualties 3,119. In total, from highest to lowest, the Brookings Institute had 100,481, Iraq Body Count 92,318, U.S. intelligence 83,300, and icasualties had 54,866 fatalities from 2004-2009. A simple explanation for the differences early on between the U.S. and private organizations, and then their later congruence could be that the Americans were not systematically keeping track of deaths from 2004-2005, but then made it a priority afterward.
|Brookings Institute||Iraq Body Count||U.S. Intelligence Reports||Icasualties|
The Iraq War has had a devastating affect upon the country. Fortunately, the sectarian civil war ended, and although bombings and assassinations are still a daily occurrence, they are nowhere near what they were before. The numbers from CENTCOM and Wikileaks provide important new details about the cost of the conflict. They should be analyzed and compared to the other sources available to provide a fuller account of just how many people have died in this tragedy.
Fadel, Leila, “77,000 Iraqis killed from 2004 to August 2008, U.S. military says,” Washington Post, 10/14/10
Iraq Body Count
Jakes, Lara, “US military says 77,000 Iraqis killed over 5 years,” 10/14/10
O’Hanlon, Michael, Campbell, Jason, “Iraq Index,” Brookings Institution, 11/30/10
Rogers, Simon, “Wikileaks Iraq: data journalism maps every death,” Data Blog, Guardian, 10/23/10