Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Iraq and Vietnam

Since we've passed the grim milestone of 1000 deaths in Iraq, I thought I'd compare the death rate in Iraq with that in Vietnam. I've used April 1965 as the starting point for Vietnam since that is when LBJ sent in the first ground combat units.

As you can see, the two conflicts don't even compare in terms of their intensity, with about 7 times the deaths in Vietnam over the same number of months. This is true even when you compare the different troop levels. In 1965, there were 184,000 U.S. forces in South Vietnam and in 1966 this number rose to 385,000. In comparison, there are about 135,000 U.S. forces in Iraq.

Vietnam Iraq
April 196560 March 2003 65
May 196588 April 2003 73
June 1965147 May 2003 37
July 1965104 June 2003 30
August 1965179 July 2003 47
September 1965151 August 2003 35
October 1965236 September 2003 30
November 1965545 October 2003 43
December 1965326 November 2003 82
January 1966400 December 2003 40
February 1966510 January 2004 47
March 1966562 February 2004 20
April 1966404 March 2004 52
May 1966590 April 2004 135
June 1966597 May 2004 80
July 1966561 June 2004 42
August 1966504 July 2004 54
September 1966528 August 2004 66
October 1966514 September 2004 (Up to 9/7) 23
Total7006 1001

Sources: Iraq deaths from Iraq Coalition Casualties and Vietnam deaths from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (the advanced search engine on the latter allows you to find deaths by month).


Anonymous said...

Perhaps irrelevant, as the data are almost certainly not available, but I'm wondering if total casualties, not just KIA might be a more accurate comparison? Reason being, there has been a lot of info all over the media about how many soldiers in Iraq are being sent home maimed instead of dead due to advances in body armor, medical technologies, etc.

asllearner said...

Please see:

Iraq 2004 Looks Like Vietnam 1966
Adjusting body counts for medical and military changes.
By Phillip Carter and Owen West
Posted Monday, Dec. 27, 2004, at 3:34 PM PT

asllearner said...

Published on Friday, November 14, 2003 by Reuters
US War Dead in Iraq Exceeds Early Vietnam Years
by David Morgan

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. death toll in Iraq has surpassed the number of American soldiers killed during the first three years of the Vietnam War, the brutal Cold War conflict that cast a shadow over U.S. affairs for more than a generation.