The War List

Semi-obsessively perusing the death reports on Iraq Coalition Casualties, I thought about where the Iraq war ranks statistically among U.S. wars. Without going into the peculiarities of the numbers I’ve come across, here’s a list of total killed and wounded derived from the current "America’s Wars Fact Sheet" from the Veterans Administration. The VA actually folds the Iraq casualty figures into a total number for the Global War on Terrorism, which apparently combines casualty figures for operations in both the Afghanistan and Iraq theaters. The one change I’ve made to the list is to use today’s sum of killed and wounded in both theaters from numbers available through Iraq Coalition Casualties.

War  Deaths  Wounded  Total 
Civil War 529,332 420,000* 949,332
World War II 405,399 671,846 1,077,245
World War I 116,516 204,002 320,518
Vietnam War 58,209 153,303 211,512
Korean War 36,574 103,284 139,858
Mexican War 13,283 4,152 17,435
American Rev. 4,435 6,188 10,617
Spanish-Am. War 2,446 1,662 4,108
War on Terrorism 2,330 16,356 18,681
War of 1812 2,260 4,505 6,765
Indian Wars 1,000 (Not reported) 1,000
Gulf War 382 467 849

*Number of Civil War wounded an estimate based on non-VA sources; the VA lists Confederate wounded simply unknown.

One other note about the casualty numbers: The VA lists non-combat deaths for the American Revolutions as unknown, so the total who died in both wars is likely much higher. Also, the VA lists about 87 percent of the U.S. deaths in the Mexican War and 83 percent of those in the Spanish-American War as "other deaths in service" — which includes deaths from wounds that weren’t immediately fatal, disease, accidents, and other non-combat causes. In fact, the VA’s listed "battle deaths" comprise a majority of war dead in only World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the current war.

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