An IDC Report


New Delhi, 15 December 2004

November was the deadliest month in Iraq and up to Sunday, 12 Dec 04, at least 1,289 US military personnel had died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003. The British military reported 74 deaths; Italy–19; Poland–13; Spain–11; Ukraine–nine; Bulgaria–seven; Slovakia– three; Estonia, Thailand and the Netherlands–two each; and Denmark, El Salvador, Hungary and Latvia–one each. Since 01 May 03, when President Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 1,151 US military members have died of which at least 898 deaths resulted from hostile action. This proves that it was only a battle that was won on 01 May 03 but the war continues.

The above fact is reflected in President Bush’s acknowledgement on 06 Dec 04 that American military forces ’can never guarantee 100 per cent security' for Iraq's elections on Jan 30. Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawer’s commented on 13 Dec 04 that the US-led coalition was wrong to dismantle the Iraqi security forces leading to long-term instability in his country which could give birth to an “Iraqi Hitler.” Daily bombings and kidnappings plagued Iraq since last year’s US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein and the relentless Sunni-led insurgency has crippled reconstruction and development projects in the country.

US military casualties (wounded and killed) stand at a monthly average of 747 since the so-called "transition" to Iraqi rule on June 28, 2004. This contrasts with a monthly average of 482 US military casualties during the invasion (20 Mar–01 May 03) and a monthly average of 415 during the occupation (03 May 03–28 June 04).

As for non-combatants, till Sep 04, there had been an estimated 154 civilian contractors, missionaries and civilian worker deaths since 01 May 04. Of these, 52 had been identified as Americans. Forty-four international media workers died in Iraq as on 22 Sep 04, including 33 since President Bush declared the end of combat operations. Eight of the dead worked for US companies.

While there was no official count of Iraqi casualties, some independent estimates had reported their deaths and injuries. As on 22 Sep 2004, between 12,800 and 14,843 Iraqi civilians had been killed due to the US invasion and ensuing occupation, while an estimated 40,000 Iraqis had been injured. During "major combat" operations, between 4,895 and 6,370 Iraqi soldiers and insurgents were killed. Of late insurgents had resorted to killing a larger number of Iraqi civilians and armed personnel –– possibly to create fear and uncertainty before the forthcoming election in Jan 05.

The number of US military deaths in Afghanistan was 132. Once again, though there was no official record of the Afghan death toll, a study by an American academic estimated that at least 3,800 civilians died in Afghanistan and independent estimates suggested that military deaths could be close to 10,000.

The total figure of 30,000 deaths was more than the number of people killed in terrorist acts in the last 35 years –– studies showed that 22,000 persons had been killed in terrorist incidents since 1968. The cost of reconstruction and related aid was estimated at $23 billion in Iraq and $30 billion in Afghanistan, which seems much smaller than the $100 billion loss caused by the WTC attacks. But while the WTC losses translated to 0.91% of US GDP, it amounted to 59% of Iraq's GDP and 150% of Afghanistan's GDP in 2003.

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