US War Deaths per Day by Conflict (War, Battle) and How Iraq Compares
These should be in order chronologically and it’s admittedly a little weighted toward the Pacific Theater of World War II. In case you don’t want to read to the bottom, Iraq: 3,973 deaths in 1,806 days, 2.2 deaths/day.
Also worth considering is that the US was a much smaller country (population-wise) in these earlier conflicts. The US population in 1940 was 132 million (less than half of today’s estimated population of 303 million). The US population in 1860 (just prior to the Civil War) was only 31 million.
If you need a finer point put on this: the number of American troops killed in our (almost) five-year adventure in Iraq is about the same as the number of American troops who died in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) IN ONE DAY. Given that today’s US population is just over 9x that of the 1860 population, the current Iraq conflict has about 1/15,000th the relative death intensity of the Battle of Antietam (= 1 / ((3654.0 deaths/day / 2.2 deaths/day ) * (303.1 million population / 33.4 million population)) = 1/15,072 ). Or, other way around, the Battle of Antietam was relatively 15,000 times as bad as the current Iraq war (in terms of death rate and impact on the relative population).
If we wanted to go deeper, I could figure out what the death rate for civilians between 18 and 25 has been during the years of the Iraq war and discount the rate accordingly — but I’d also have to do that for the other battles and wars and I’ve spent enough of my Saturday on this already.
My point: I think the media should be required to report all of the above any time they report the number of deaths in the Iraq War+Occupation to date. Even better, news consumers should DEMAND this (not that they ever would). But perspective should matter. The rational reason Iraq is a crappy situation has more to do with how we’re destroying our own economy for the sake of making everyone in the world hate us than it does with the ferocity of the fighting and dying. As war deaths go, Iraq’s been relatively gentle. Our country should be making its foreign policy decisions based on clear objectives, rational analysis, and items of statistical significance, not on the media’s unwillingness to disseminate reason.
(Virtually all figures are from Wikipedia and are sourced there.)