Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Casualty Rates in OIF

I located some solid data on troop strength from, which is usually a reliable source. What strikes me is that the U.S. force level in Iraq appears to have remained fairly stable: in terms of raw numbers, the "surge" is not particularly significant.

Not surprisingly then, when one normalizes the data by force level to look at the casualty rates (percentage of deployed troops killed or wounded), the graph looks almost the same.

[Data from and]
Click to enlarge images


USWest said...

The trick that the miltiary and the Adminsitration pulls is that while they send over "more" troops on one side, they remove other troops. Last October, they announced that they were bringing 30K troops home. At the same time, they extended the tours to 15 months and sent over another 24K to cover some other part of Iraq. That was a mid-term election game.The surge was only 30K stroops, however, they are supposed to be concentrated in Baghdad. It is all slight of hand.

Because of the constant rotation, and the small numbers, the number of troops has remained fairly stable.

Looking at Dr. S' earlier graphic,it appears to me that as the number of dead rises, so does the number of wounded. That makes sense. The more wounded, the better chance of killing someone. They tend to track each other except for a brief period between Dec. and March 04 and again betwene March and Dec 06 where the wounded are delcining while the dead are rising. This last year, you see the dead rising pretty far above the wounded. What the tells me is that the wounded are Dying more often.

So are the attacks becoming deadlier? Quite possibily. Or is it that the numebr of attacks are increasing? Equally possible.

Raised By Republicans said...

Thanks! Dr. S., that data is very instructive. All we're doing by staying is increasing the cost to ourselve. We are not achieving any of our stated goals at the outset of the war.

Those of us who opposed the war from the start can say "we told you so" but it doesn't help bring the dead back or get the rest of the troops home. It might make people think twice about invasions for a while though.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I'm glad you appreciate the graph. It sure would be nice if the powers that be thought twice before launching another invasion... but I am not all that thopeful. I recall USWest's remark, made some time ago, that she feared that Democratic leaders who campaigned on withdrawal would "drink the Kool-Aid" on the whole Iraq business as soon as they got to Washington. It may well be.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I showed these graphs to a conservative in my office who simply refused, at first, to believe they could possibly be real. I then showed him the CNN website and other sites. Gradually, he came to accept what he was seeing, and to accept that the increased casualties over time were the result of enemy action, not our own offensive successes. He had already concluded that we should leave Iraq, but I think he did not fully appreciate the "grave and deteriorating" nature of the situation until he saw this graph. This graph needs to be out in the public!!

Dr. Strangelove said...

Funny how we always are skeptical of data we wish were not true.

I'm glad to see that the graphs have helped change the mind of at least one voter. The subsequent graphs (casualty rates, force levels, number of insurgent attacks, and civilian death) help tell the story much better. Thanks to USWest for her graphs and to others for suggesting them.