Both opponents and supporters of current US foreign policy in Iraq use casualty figures to help support their assertions. I thought I would do some investigation and try to place current events in historical perspective. However, I discovered that those who paid the highest price were as likely to be innocent victims as they were to be wearing a uniform. Additionally, suicide is a much bigger problem than most people realize. In fact, the total number of people who died during all wars/conflicts combined during the past 6-7 years is equaled by the number of people who took their own lives. For example, the U.S. teen suicide rate for the period between 2001-2007 dwarfs the military casualty numbers in Iraq.
WW2 is clearly the most costly modern war in terms of civilian casualties (even if you discount the Holocaust). 40,000,000 civilian died during this world wide conflict. The impact of war on civilians (or so called non-combatants) is quiet clear – 50% of all war related casualties during the 20th century were civilian.
It is also clear that the total number of casualties from the War on Terror is rather low when compared to other modern conflicts. However, like Vietnam, the War on Terror is prolonged when compared to prior conflicts. Perhaps this is a natural result of a lack of clear military objectives (much like Vietnam). Or perhaps this is a side effect of the United States’ unwillingness to go “all in” in recent conflicts.
Another sobering statistic – the number of young Americans who committed suicide during the same time period as the War on Terror is about 7 times higher than the total number of military deceased. Where is the news coverage on this topic?
Better yet, who represents the interests of the children both here and abroad? Where is the public outcry over the loss of our children? When a child loses both arms because he was playing near a concealed mine or IED. where is the outrage? When children die or are injured because they live in war zone, why does the media resist giving the children a voice by not separating child from adult casualties? When a child’s father or mother comes home in a body bag, who is responsible for explaining the logic behind such a monumental sacrifice? Who can make amends for the loss of a parent or the loss of a child? Who dares to justify the sacrifice of family for oil, WMD, politics, and, most of all, religion?
According to WHO and the CDC:
1) In the 20th century, an estimated 191 million people died as a result of warfare, half of them civilians.
2) During 2001-2007, there were approximately 10,000,000 violent deaths (including the War on Terror) and of those, about 5,000,000 committed suicide.
3) During 2001-2007, the total number of suicides for Americans ages 10-24 was about 30,000.
|Revolutionary||Civil War||WW1||WW2||Korea||Vietnam||War on Terror||Other Conflicts|
|Military Deaths (All)||50,000||620,000||9,720,453||25,037,500||700,000||1,000,000||25,000||58,000,000 *|
|Military Deaths (USA)||25,000||620,000||116,708||407,300||46,911||58,000||4,246|
|Military Wounded (All)||45,000||412,200 *||21,228,813||26,400,000||1,000,000||1,900,000||42,000|
|Military Wounded (USA)||25,000||412,200 *||200,000||670,000||100,000||150,000||29,000|
|Civilian Deaths||unknown||50,000 *||8,865,649||47,118,500||2,000,000 *||4,000,000||105,000 *||33,000,000 *|
|Civilian Deaths (Terrorism)||5,000|
|Civilian Deaths (Military/Insurgent)||100,000 *|
* estimated, exact number is not known
WW2 civilian casualties include Holocaust victims
War on Terror figures include all fronts world wide