Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Al Qaeda and Taliban Deaths vs. US/UK/Allied Deaths

I've spent the last hour trying to find some kind of official figure. Does any junior deputy military economist happen to have these figures or know where I could find them?

11 comments:

Arthur said...

Can't help you there, captain, but I sure would love to see them.

Ecclesiastes said...

Sure,

http://terroristdeathwatch.com/ for the bad guys.

http://icasualties.org/oif/ for the good guys.

We're killing them at about 10 to 1.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, so after we all get a little emotional high from seeing the incredible discrepancy maybe we'll remember the same chart from the Vietnam Era.

ph said...

They stopped making that kind of figure public during Vietnam because it's not a good way of figuring how many US are killed and besides the enemy numbers are speculative.

Alex said...

We don't bother keeping a running tally, since body-counts are irrelevant to our goals in the middle east. The only time you'll find estimates of enemy casualties is in open engagements, and those are extremely lopsided. For instance, the last time Canadians went on the offencive against the Taliban, we inflicted something like 1,500 casualties while suffering 8. The Brits have seen similar successes, at one point taking 700 enemy lives while suffering a handful of their own. And, of course, the initial invasion by the US was a massively lopsided battle. There's also the body count for the initial invasion of Iraq - estimates vary widely, but it's generally accepted that the Iraqi military suffered something like 30,000 casualties, while the US lost under 150 men.

The only solid figures I can find are at wikipedia - a source whose reliability is questionable at best. Here are the relevant articles:

Iraq War

War in Afghanistan

As you can see from the linked articles, the estimated post-invasion insurgent casualties for Iraq and Afghanistan are roughly 20,000 per country. So the total death toll including invasion and post-invasion enemy deaths in both nations would add up to something like 75,000+. But, once again, most of these figures are rough guesses at best. There's very little reliable info out there.

Ecclesiastes said...

These numbers aren't speculative. They might not be perfect, but they are hardly guesses.

It is easy to forget, and even easier to have never heard the confirmation of our Army's 19 to 1 figure. Some years after the north had conquered the south, they released their casualty figures. They lost 950,000 to our 55,000.

That doesn't take into account the deaths or contributions of the South Vietnamese, but it is - roughly - 19 to 1.

The current 10 to 1 figure comes after the Anbar Awakening. Last year it was more like 4 or 5 to 1.

We're killing them.

Ryan Fuller said...

Body counts are shit for a metric of military success. We lost Vietnam on 19 to 1 odds.

Actually Captain, the best place to get the real deal on war in all its flavors is from an openly declared War Nerd in an English language newspaper based in Russia. He'd be easier to ignore if he wasn't right about damn near everything all the time.

Read the archives, too.

http://www.exile.ru/articles/list.php?IBLOCK_ID=35&SECTION_ID=156

Anonymous said...

You might as well quote The Onion as quote The Exile as a source of credible information on anything except where to pick up the hottest Russian chicks.

I hope Ryan was joking.

majgross (happy to pick you up the latest edition of The Exile when I arrive in Moscow next week)

Rob Miller, Ph.D. said...

The liberal Brookings Institute publishes its Iraq Index:

http://www.brookings.edu/saban/~/media/Files/Centers/Saban/Iraq%20Index/index.pdf

It used to contain estimates of insurgent and Al Qaeda deaths, but I think they have taken them out because the information didn't support their thesis.

The report shows we have over 50,000 of them imprisoned. We have likely killed about 25-30K.

You raise an excellent point. We hear tons about the cost of this war, particularly in human lives, but nothing about the benefits, e.g. how many bad guys who are no longer breathing our air.

Read this post of mine:

http://powinca.blogspot.com/2008/05/deaths-in-iraq-down-butttttttt.html

You'll really like the Orwell quote at the bottom.

It shows that, in terms of lives lost relative to days of combat or troops deployed, the Iraq War is the least bloody in US history.

It also debunks some of Stiglitz' arguments, although I must admit I haven't read his book.

Rob Miller, Ph.D. said...

Iraq isn't a training ground for terrorists.

It's their cemetery.

Anonymous said...


You've gotten impressive information at this point.