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« Pundit Roundtable | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 343 -- Uncle Sam Awash In Cash. »

Surprising Iraq Casualty Stats

Here is an unexpected statistic: nearly one-quarter (21.4%) of the casualties in Iraq were from non-hostile incidents - that is, they have no connection at all to combat:

Cause of Death Total Percentage
Hostile fire 2137 78.6%
Non-combat related 581 21.4%
Total 2718  

581 deaths from accidents and situations having nothing to do with combat seems quite high. But then again, in 1991, the year of the Gulf War, 1,787 soldiers died while on military duty worldwide, but of those only 147 were killed in combat during the first Gulf War (according to the Defense Manpower Data Center statistics provided by the DoD. Look at that .pdf and you will see the surprisingly large number of casualties every year that are self-inflicted, as well).

If you go to this page you can even see incident-by-incident how the non-hostile fatalities occured if you put in the right filter. Many are health-related as you might expect. Many are helicopter and other vehicle accidents. (The Iraq Coalition Casualty Count site is grim and efficient - and rather fascinating and well-put together).

Paul at Wizbang informs us, in addition -

An analysis of the Army's ground accident database, which includes records from March 2003 through November 2005, found that 60 of the 85 soldiers who died in Humvee accidents in Iraq or 70 percent were killed when the vehicle rolled, the newspaper reported. Of the 337 injuries, 149 occurred in rollovers.

Rollovers that some are blaming on needless uparmoring of Humvees. Paul is right about a little demagoguery going on here - some Democrats (Hillary!) have made a point of harping on the issue of body armor for the troops as well, to the point where troops objected.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 11 June 2006 10:47 PM


There is a bit of a difference between body armor and up-armored vehicles. For the most part, military members haven't asked for, don't really want and can't handle more body armor. Different armor maybe, but not more.

Up-armored vehicles, on the other hand, are wanted and needed. The problem is that the HMMWV was never intended to be an LAV, at least not a lot of the models that they are up-armoring. There is a need for an LAV that has the mobility of the HMMWV but is also more agressive on the road.

That up-armor HMMWV accident story sorely misrepresents its point. It talks about accidents going up, never offers any numbers to represent its point, and only talks about the percentages of deaths in roll-over accidents. While tragic, the story misses the mark.

I don't doubt there is a problem, but that story didn't address it.

Posted by: Cullen at June 12, 2006 04:40 PM

I agree and just posted on this armor issue for the 2nd time myself. Too much of a good thing isn't the answer yet the armchair quarterbacks eat it up every damn time.

Posted by: Greensickle at June 12, 2006 05:22 PM

What a crappy way to go...

Family: How did our boy die? Did he put up a fight? Did he suffer?

Military Official: Well, his overturned Humvee crushed his lungs... we’re still trying to figure out if he’s eligible for a Purple Heart. We’ll get back to you on that in so many years...

I hope I never have to go though what some of these families have to endure.

Posted by: Greensickle at June 12, 2006 05:53 PM