Iraq war death toll at 162 000

2012-01-02 23:04

Baghdad - Around 162 000 people, almost 80% of them civilians, were killed in Iraq from the start of the 2003 US-led invasion up to last month's withdrawal of American forces, a British NGO said on Monday.

Iraq Body Count (IBC) warned that, contrary to apparent trends in figures released by the Iraqi government, the level of violence has changed little from mid-2009, though attacks are markedly down from when the country was in the throes of sectarian war in 2006 and 2007.

In all, the non-governmental organisation said an estimated 162 000 people were killed in Iraq in the nearly nine years of conflict.

It said around 79% of the fatalities were civilians, while the remainder included US soldiers, Iraqi security forces, and insurgents.

"The violence peaked in late 2006 but was sustained at high levels until the second half of 2008 - nearly 90% of the deaths occurred by 2009," IBC said in a statement.

But it warned that "there has now been no noticeable downward trend [in civilian deaths] since mid-2009".

"Recent trends indicate a persistent low-level conflict in Iraq that will continue to kill civilians at a similar rate for years to come. While these data indicate no improvement, time will tell whether the withdrawal of US forces will have an effect on casualty levels."

US troops, who at their peak numbered nearly 170 000 on as many as 505 bases in Iraq, completed their withdrawal from the country on December 18 and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki dubbed Saturday to be "Iraq Day", marking when the bilateral pact allowing American forces to stay expired.

3 911 children

IBC said it had recorded more than 114 000 civilian deaths in Iraq since the invasion, and said the addition of figures from US military logs published by whistleblower website WikiLeaks, as well as officially recorded US and Iraqi security deaths and insurgent tolls, put the overall figure at 162 000.

The worst non-civilian group affected were the Iraqi police, with 9 019 reported deaths, and Baghdad was the most dangerous city in the country, with half of the recorded deaths, equating to 2.5 times the national average.

At least 3 911 victims were children, IBC said. A total of 4 474 US soldiers died in Iraq, as well.

The NGO's overall toll differed markedly from that published by the Iraqi government, which said on Sunday that 2 645 people were killed in violence in 2011, compared to IBC's toll of 4 063.

Iraqi government figures, unlike IBC data, indicate attacks decreased significantly last year from 2010, when 3 605 people were killed.

The government's monthly data, which does not go back to 2003, puts the death toll since the beginning of 2007 at 34 485.

The IBC release came a day after Maliki called for Iraq to kick-start the rebuilding of its violence-wracked economy and infrastructure, with the country mired in a political standoff between the Shi'ite-led government and a key Sunni-backed bloc that has raised sectarian tensions.

"The coming period is no less important or dangerous than the previous stage," Maliki said on Sunday during a speech in Baghdad's Al-Rasheed hotel, in the capital's heavily fortified Green Zone. "Our work has just begun."

Maliki had declared last Saturday to be a national holiday dubbed "Iraq Day", and said the country's days of dictatorship and one-party rule were behind it, even as rival politicians have accused him of centralising decision-making power.

  • bernpm - 2012-01-02 23:15

    "US, peacekeeper of the world on a god given mission...." Romney said a few weeks ago.

      Paul - 2012-01-03 09:22

      @Atheitis the stereotypes through the ages have always had a justification for the slaughter of foreign civilians by their own crusaders.

      Barry - 2012-01-03 10:19

      Would be interesting to know a rough world wide dead body count through history that have been "justified" as crusades or jihads. What a waste.

      Kyle - 2012-01-03 12:37

      what would really be interesting is the figure of all the abuses committed by Muslims on their own people, especially women.

      Barry - 2012-01-03 19:46

      @Kyle..There are plenty of christian people doing the same thing. So your point is moot.

      John - 2012-01-06 20:15

      Reality CHECK: Year Murders in South Africa: NO Jihad or Drug War: 2003 20 000 2004 20 000 2005 20 000 2006 20 000 2007 20 000 2008 20 000 2009 20 000 2010 20 000 2011 20 000 Total 180 000! No Jihad, No Drug War!

      Graziella - 2012-01-06 20:23

      To kill civililans you don't need to shoot them - you just destroy their infrastructurte. Remove electricity - babies can't get their food cooked - they catch tummy bugs, and die from diarrhoea. Take out the bridges - old men who have heart attacks, die on the way to hospital. Don't let supplies in - people steal to survive, so they form gangs and attack shop owners. A cunning trick to know......... In any wartime, one needs to be very precise, about what one is discussing. My criticism is confined to people who directly acted to bring this situation on.

  • Masemolatumi - 2012-01-03 00:32

    Just wondering why Bush and Blair have not been hauled in front of the International Court on charges of genocide, while African leaders are dragged through the mud on similar charges? I mean these guys started a war on lies and this war has killed over 160000 people and the world sits back and does nothing!! Why is that??

      Heibrin - 2012-01-03 01:02

      Ever wonder how many of those killed was due to sectarian violence, and has nothing to do with the US? Much the same as South Africa's 21000 apartheid deaths: the government was only responsible for a small percentage of those.

      Richard - 2012-01-03 07:24

      The car bombs that explode in Iraq, usually kills 40+ Muslims and wounds 80 or more, many of them Muslim women and children. In Nigeria, Al Qaeda kills hundreds in terrorist attacks. So those car bombs and millions of IEDs - 50 million by now, are killing people every day. What is happening in Nigeria, is coming here, the Muslim terrorists won't show the black people any mercy! They didn't in Nigeria. Do you think they represent progress like whites do? I know you are jealous of whites, Europeans, Americans. I know it eats you up inside to think there are people that are richer and more skilled and happier. But you have to work for it, that hasn't changed in thousands of years. The whites, Americans and Europeans are defending their wealth and civilization from Barbarians like Osama Bin Laden and others that won't hesitate to kill Muslims or blacks. Remember 1998 the bomb blasts in Kenya and Tanzania? They won't show anyone any mercy.

      John - 2012-01-03 08:04

      @Masemolatumi - I do agree that Bush and his lapdog Blair should be pulled to the International Court. Bush the bible bashing republican had no good reason or right to attack Iraq. Iraq, in pre-war, was actually a buzzing tourist destination. Although Saddam was no shining light he did relatively well to maintain peace amongst Shia and Sunni Muslims. Now that he is gone and the US has pulled out there is a civil war between these two sides. In hindsight perhaps old Saddam didn't do a bad job given the circumstances. As for comparing Bush to some African leaders, that is perhaps a step too far. I feel Bush was not the smartest bloke and perhaps he really felt what he was doing was the right the to protect his country. What he didn't do was massacre his own people which African leaders are renowned for.

      Craig - 2012-01-03 09:05

      @John. I completely disagree with you about Bush. Iraq might have had their pre-war problems. as they will have post-war problems, but it is a fact that Bush and his consortium of oil barons in Texas have cost the American people $800 Billion. If you rob your own people of this large sum of money, for a few rich individuals to gain and 160,000 people die because of that, you are the Hitler III, which makes his father Hitler II.

      John - 2012-01-03 09:46

      @Craig - What are you talking about? Do you disagree with me that Bush should pulled up for war crimes or that he is not in the same league as some African leaders? I'm also not sure what you are aiming at with the Iraq pre/post war comment. Iraq was in a far better place pre-war then they are post war.

      Craig - 2012-01-03 10:52

      @John. I agree that Iraq was a better place pre-war. But like here they have to go the through all the normal post-war growth pains to get to a true democracy. We haven't even found our feet yet and it will take many more years before this is a democracy. But freeing themselves from Saddam was inevitable. But as far as Bush is concerned. He is as bad as any African dictator. The only saving grace for the Americans is the fact that he could no longer stay in power. Here in Africa they die in power. But in the final analysis they are one and the same evil.

      Juan - 2012-01-03 14:19

      The thing is it's a little more complicated than that. Bush acted on bad intelligence from his advisors, and the military action must first be approved by congress. That means one hell of a lot of people are guilty here

  • Chris - 2012-01-03 02:05

    um where are the weapons of mass destruction? Just plain murder pointless war making arms companies super rich. Which are owned by the people that start the wars. USA is always at war or in some country doing something they are creating death across the world.

      Heibrin - 2012-01-03 03:37

      @Chris: and in the process of bringing people the freedom of choice they break a few eggs. Or would you rather that the Iraqi people still suffer under Saddam? The US is by no means an angel, however they are the only country willing to stand up for those values the rest of us bitch about when they're not there, but do nothing to get them there.

  • mikenortje - 2012-01-03 05:10

    roughly an average of 18 000 a year in a country at war........ and SA a country not at war in a democracy what is our average per year??? close to 21 000...... says volumes don't you think???

      Grant - 2012-01-03 11:01

      I gave a 'thumbs up' but then I thought the Iraq figure is only war casualties. What about their murders? I'm sure a few husbands and wives get topped as well as others.

      Kyle - 2012-01-03 12:44

      @Grant - think about what you just said.... 18000 WAR deaths vs 21000 murders..... our murder rate is still higher than the body count of a country at war!

  • Richard - 2012-01-03 14:08

    The USA made a giant strategic blunder in the 2003 Iraq War. Its lightning strike resulted in the rapid disintegration of the Iraqi Army by mass desertion and capitulation and not by military attrition. While it resulted in an apparent quick win for the USA, this was indeed a hollow victory because many of the deserters and vanquished survived to fight another day - sorry, not another day, but almost another decade. It had been a strategic aim to reduce the Saddam Army by between 60% and 70% by air-delivered means before a full frontal ground attack, but poor intelligence about local support for the US and over-confidence led to a premature ground assault. So instead of disabling 100 000 Iraqi army soldiers and completing the war in a year with say another 1 000 own casualties and 10 000 civilian casualties, they disabled 10 000 Iraqi army soldiers and suffered another decade of civil war with 4 500 own casualties and 120 000 civilian casualties. The British also lost some 200 troops in Iraq and the other Allies about 150 combined. Some 32 000 US troops were wounded in action. This is extremely debilitating for a nation, even one with over 300 million inhabitants. Strategically it is sometimes better to be cruel than to be kind.

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