Somewhere over there, beyond the horizon, beyond the four-buck-a-gallon gasoline and the foreclosure crisis and the campaign sniping over what it means to be rich and who owns how many houses, there’s a war on. To date this month:

18 U.S. troops killed in Iraq. Ten of those deaths are listed as “non-hostile.”

191 Iraqis killed, including 158 civilians.

18 U.S. and 24 other coalition troops killed in Afghanistan. Scores of civilians, too, judging from the latest reports.

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.

April in Iraq

“But Iraq has — have got people there that are willing to kill, and they’re hard-nosed killers. And we will work with the Iraqis to secure their future. A free Iraq in the midst of the Middle East is an important part of spreading peace. It’s a region of the world where a lot of folks in the past never thought democracy could take hold. Democracy is taking hold. And as democracy takes hold, peace will more likely be the norm.”

–Bush, press conference, April 28, 2005

Killed in April:

–51 U.S. troops, including 11 in the month’s final three days. The total for March and April is the lowest two-month toll since February and March 2004, immediately before the Shiite uprisings in Baghdad and elsewhere. The total number of U.S. soldiers who’ve died in the Iraq war is now 1,586.

–501 Iraqi civilians, police and military. The breakdown: 302 civilians, 199 police officers and troops. Those are rough numbers compiled by Iraq Coalition Casualties and don’t include any accounting of insurgent deaths; nor do they resolve uncorroborated casualty reports.

–At least 20 foreign contract workers, from Australia, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, Fiji, the Philippines, and the United States.

Iraq by the Numbers

The Iraq Coalition Casualties Web site offers a glimpse at a dimension of the human toll often missing from U.S. reporting on the war. For last month, the site’s operators compiled all the stray day-in, day-out reports of violence around Iraq and tallied casualties among Iraqi civilians and members of the Iraqi security forces. As the site cautions, it’s not a complete list, just what folks could scrape together from a careful reading of daily news wires.

The toll reported for March was 440, including 240 civilians and 200 military. The compilation continues this month.