The War Casualty Numbers Nobody Is Talking About

August 10th, 2005 7:54 PM
Want to find out how many Americans have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts over the past couple of years? The number of sources available for learning such information is astonishing, and many include a list of the names of our troops killed since the invasion of Afghanistan.

A lot of websites, newspapers, and tv/radio networks are also keeping track of civilian war casualties, particularly in Iraq, however, the numbers vary widely between them, and few seem to be able to distinguish between civilian innocents and civilian terror suspects when compiling their data.

While it may come as no surprise to most people that such sources rarely include any references to enemy war casualties, what I find to be truly disturbing is that I have yet to discover one truly authoritative source for the total number of enemy combatants killed and captured over the past three years and ten months.

As best I can determine, the Defense Department is not keeping a comprehensive tally of casualty figures beyond those pertaining to Coalition deaths and injuries, although former Army Deputy Chief of Staff, General Jack Keane, recently estimated that in the past 7 months alone, some 50,000 terrorists have been killed or captured in Iraq.

Still, this is hardly what one would call a complete, or even an indisputably accurate partial assessment of the overall enemy casualty/capture rate, and although I understand that coming up with an exact figure is not possible, I cannot believe that no government organization is keeping track of all the daily reports that have been coming in from the battlefield since October 7, 2001.

In fact, the Brookings Institution is the only independent organization I've found that has compiled, along with all its Coalition and civilian casualty reports, a fair amount of information on "insurgency" casualties, however, the degree of accuracy of its figures is completely unknown to me. Still, its Iraq archive shows that a total of about 44,000 enemy combatants in Iraq have been killed or captured since May of 2003, with only about 12,000 of them dying or being detained between the beginning of 2005 and the end of June.

These number clearly conflict with the estimate of General Keane, unless upwards of 38,000 enemy casualties and detainments occurred during the month of July, and what little information I've managed to find elsewhere does not help clear up this discrepancy.

Finding good information on the Afghanistan War is even more difficult, yet I did manage to find the following data not long ago. According to the Project on Defense Alternatives (PDA), between October of '01 and January of '02, roughly 3,500 Taliban had been killed in Afghanistan, and another 7,000 were captured.

While I have no way of confirming the above claims, having read the PDA's article, I find them to be as credible as anything else I've read concerning the issue, so I'm willing to accept these figures as being fairly close to accurate until a more substantial report comes to light.

Of course, even if we consider this information to be true, it still doesn't give us any idea as to how many Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists have been wiped our or jailed in Afghanistan since the start of 2002.

I'll grant you that I have not spent all that much time trying to find enemy casualty rates since I started writing this article. In fact, I've probably only dedicated a few hours to the search so far, however, I only had to spend about one tenth of that amount of time looking for Coalition troop and civilian casualty numbers in order to come up with literally hundreds of sources.

No wonder most Americans seem convinced that the war is not going well for our side. All they ever hear is the negative statistics. I wonder what folks would think if the "mainstream" media decided to put their researchers to work uncovering the kind of statistics that are favorable to the United States, and report on the many thousands of scumbags that our brave troops have killed and captured over the past few years.

So far though, nobody in the journalistic community seems to think it's important for Americans to know how many terrorists are either locked away or pushing up daisies, and the federal government is totally ignoring the issue as well.

I can't speak for anyone else in the country, but I for one would really like to see some definitive figures in this regard. Considering that my tax dollars are paying for this war, I think I have a right to know how many of these Islamo-fascist parasites we've been able to eradicate, and I suspect that most Americans feel the same way.

By Edward L. Daley
Owner of the Daley Times-Post