Benchmarks: Casualties in Iraq climb again

By MARTIN SIEFF, UPI Senior News Analyst   |   July 28, 2006 at 3:33 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 28 (UPI) -- The escalating violence against civilians in Iraq this week did not prevent insurgents from inflicting casualties on U.S. forces at greater rate.

The total number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq through Thursday, July 27, since the start of operations to topple Saddam Hussein on March 19, 2003, was 2,571, according to official figures issued by the U.S. Department of Defense. Therefore, 14 U.S. soldiers were killed in the seven-day period from July 21 through July 27 at an average rate of two per day.

This was 12.5 percent higher than the rate of 1.75 killed per day during the previous eight-day period from July 13 through July 20. And it was 50 percent higher than the rate of 1.36 U.S. soldiers killed per day during the previous 15 day period from June 29 through July 12. But it was still 33 percent better than the period of June 21 through June 28 when 24 U.S. soldiers at an average rate of three per day.

The latest figures still fit within the parameters of casualties we have recorded during the past three-and-a-half months. Some 1.75 U.S. soldiers per day died in Iraq during the seven-day period from June 14 through June 20. During the eight-day period of June 6-13, 2.5 U.S. soldiers were killed per day. During the six-day period of May 31-June 5, some 11 U.S. troops died in Iraq at an average rate of 1.82 per day.

The latest figures were still about 10 percent better than the longer-term trend of the 48-day period from April 13 to May 30, when 107 U.S. troops died in Iraq at an average rate of just over 2.2 per day. But they were about 20 percent worse than the previous longer-term trend during the 68-day period from Feb. 4 to April 12, when 112 U.S. troops died in Iraq at an average of 1.65 per day.

The rate at which U.S. soldiers are being injured in Iraq rose quite dramatically during the same most recent seven-day period. From July 21 through July 27, 169 U.S. soldiers were injured in Iraq at an average rate of 24.14 per day. This was an increase of more than 70 percent on the rate of 14.25 injured per day during the previous eight-day period from July 13 through July 20 when 114 U.S. soldiers were wounded in Iraq.

As of July 27, 19,157 U.S. soldiers have been injured in Iraq since the start of hostilities.

The latest rate of U.S. troops wounded per day was significantly worse than the figure of 178 U.S. troops wounded over the 15-day period from June 29 through July 12 at an average rate of 11.2 per day, a figure less than half the most recent rate..

The latest figures are also worse than the figures of 124 wounded during the June 21-June 28 eight-day period at an average rate of 15.5 per day and the 82 wounded in seven days from June 14 through June 20 at an average rate of 11.7 per day.

The latest figures, however, were still not as bad as during the eight-day period of June 6-13, when 236 U.S. troops were wounded in Iraq at an average rate of 29.5 per day. But they were far worse than the levels of May 31 to June 5, when 70 U.S. soldiers were wounded at an average rate of 11.67 per day.

Most significantly, however, the latest figures were more than 80 percent worse than the long-term average rates for U.S. troops wounded in Iraq over the previous four months from February through May. Some 635 U.S. soldiers were wounded in the 48-day period from April 13 to May 30 at an average rate of just over 13.2 wounded per day. That figure showed a remarkable statistical consistency compared with the previous 68-day period from Feb. 4 to April 12 when 943 U.S. soldiers were wounded in 68 days, an average rate of just below 13.9 wounded per day, according to figures issued by the U.S. Department of Defense.

As of July 27, 8,773 of these U.S. troops were wounded so seriously that they were listed as "WIA Not RTD" in the DOD figures -- in other words, Wounded in Action Not Returned to Duty. This marked an increase of 112 such casualties in only seven days at an average rate of 16 per day. This rate was more than three times worse than the 101 such casualties recorded in the previous 23 days at an average rate of just under 4.4 per day. Or the eight days before that when 52 U.S. troops were wounded in action and not returned to duty at an average rate of 6.5 per day.

The latest figures were 1,600 percent worse than during the June 13-June 20 lull when U.S. forces suffered only seven such casualties in seven days, or an average of one a day. And they were marginally worse than during the most recent "spike" in the rate of casualties during the eight day period from June 5 through June 12 when U.S. forces suffered 115 Wounded In Action and Not Returned to Duty at an average rate of 14.38 per day.

These figures were also more than twice as bad as during the six day period from May 31 through June 5 which saw 42 such casualties, at an average rate of seven per day. And they were also more than twice as bad as the longer term trends we recorded during the first four months of this year. There were 286 such casualties over 48 days from April 13 through May 30, at an average rate of just under six per day. The time period from Feb.4 through April 12 saw a rate of 5.5 such casualties per day over 68 days for a total of 375 seriously injured.

It is therefore clear that the Sunni insurgency in Iraq has not diminished to any significant degree.

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