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.
|World War II||405,399||671,846||1,077,245|
|World War I||116,516||204,002||320,518|
|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|
*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.