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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

US casualties

Is the US government hiding the true figure of US and Iraqi casualties in Iraq? The Government of Puerto Rico thinks so during investigations of its own war dead. They claim over 4000 US and "coalition" soldiers have been killed during 799 days of fighting.

"Military affairs expert Jose Rodreguez Beruff from the University of Puerto Rico said that the figures showing more than 4,000 dead indicate that, far from winning the war in Iraq, 'what is happening is that the troops are being worn down.' He said that traditional theorists calculate that for an armed invading force to win a guerrilla war, its casualties should be one to ten of its enemy's. In this case, that would require 40,000 casualties among the insurgents."

14 Comments:

Blogger Iqbal Khaldun said...

What really frightens me is this. Even if the ‘insurgents’ successfully remove the Americans, the total cost of the war socially and economically as well as in terms of lives lost will never be known. But just because we won’t know doesn’t mean it won’t have an effect on security in the region or the world per se. To think, Iraq was once the most developed Arab nation. Now it is a quasi-medieval landscape littered with death, disease and nihilists. Cf Vietnam’s 2-3 million deaths and the effects of millions of mines and chemical warfare. Vietnam remains heavily debilitated by this legacy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 12:49:00 pm  
Blogger Iqbal Khaldun said...

Whoops, cut off the first bit of my comments...

Always difficult to work out precise casualties, especially when the US Government does everything it can to avoid telling the public what’s happening in Iraq. That isn’t at all unusual. The average Japanese during the Pacific War was being told that the Americans were being devastated, even as the Imperial Navy was sinking to the bottom of the ocean. A note of caution regarding the ‘one in ten’ principle annunciated in that report. If there’s been one fairly linear trend in Western military campaigns it’s that it takes fewer and fewer casualties for the population to start opposing a war. My impression is, and I note it is an impression, that most Americans consider even 1000 American casualties too many.

What really frightens me is this. Even if the ‘insurgents’ successfully remove the Americans, the total cost of the war socially and economically as well as in terms of lives lost will never be known. But just because we won’t know doesn’t mean it won’t have an effect on security in the region or the world per se. To think, Iraq was once the most developed Arab nation. Now it is a quasi-medieval landscape littered with death, disease and nihilists. Cf Vietnam’s 2-3 million deaths and the effects of millions of mines and chemical warfare. Vietnam remains heavily debilitated by this legacy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 12:50:00 pm  
Anonymous Dennis Smith said...

Who cares about these moral questions?

As long as some fat, Cuban cigar smoking, American arms manufacturer is making a motza, and Multi-national corporations are spreading across the world like cancer (or is that spreading cancer across the world?, and Wall Street is booming, such questions are unimportant.

Get your priorities right! Profits before people.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 1:04:00 pm  
Blogger Iqbal Khaldun said...

Well, I think they're important. But I agree there are other priorities.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 1:39:00 pm  
Blogger J F said...

The article does not claim that over 4,000 US soldiers have been killed. To arrive at the 4,000+ figure the article counts 1,649 US uniformed troops, 88 from Great Britain, 92 from other coalition countries, 238 private contractors and at least 2,000 Iraqi soldiers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 4:32:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Troops under US command, true enough, but the fact remains that many more than acknowledged have been killed in combat.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 4:50:00 pm  
Anonymous Dennis Smith said...

Iqbal, I was only joking!

I loathe everything that America stands for.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 5:04:00 pm  
Blogger Iqbal Khaldun said...

Sorry mate, went right over my head that one! The balaclava must be shortcircuiting my sarcasm radar.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 11:09:00 pm  
Anonymous Gilbert said...

You said 4000 US troops, and then extrapolated it to suggest a cover up. Do you stand corrected, or not?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 10:23:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Indeed, seems to be a cover-up AND not 4000 US troops, yes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 10:25:00 am  
Anonymous Gilbert said...

So, there are not 2351 unaccounted-for US troops. What is the cover-up, exactly?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 10:43:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

The cover-up is the number of US troops killed, firstly, allegedly higher than publicly released, and the ability of US authorities to hide serious casualties (and then death) as not part of the tragic death toll.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 11:46:00 am  
Anonymous Gilbert said...

OK. It's your blog, after all, but if you're interested in the true figures don't you think you should amend your original post to reflect the fact that no-one has suggested that "4000 US soldiers" have been killed in Iraq?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 12:10:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Gilbert, fair enough. Point taken. Will amend.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 12:40:00 pm  

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