American Death Toll in Iraq Hits 2000

Another deadly milestone has been reached in Iraq, with the toll of dead American soldiers hitting 2000.

US death toll in Iraq hits 2,000 (AFP)

The US death toll in Iraq reportedly hit 2,000 amid a sharp spike in violence that killed 14 Iraqis as the nation awaited results of a key vote on a charter aimed at curbing sectarian violence. The US network CNN, quoting Pentagon sources, reported Tuesday that the number of soldiers killed since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq had reached 2,000 with the deaths of two more soldiers, a toll likely to add pressure on the US administration over its role in the violence-wracked country.

For the first time, a majority of Americans believe the Iraq war was the “wrong thing to do”, according to a poll published in The Wall Street Journal.

Each American casualty represents a personal tragedy for their loved ones and should be soberly weighed by all of us. At the same time, it is low by any historical measure; we had more people killed on D-Day, for goodness sake. Nor is it an indication of the worth of the mission for which these troops died. If the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, then one death is too many. Otherwise, the toll has to be weighed against the benefit to the nation, which remains to be seen.

As I noted in May 2004, when the death toll reached 800,


Source: History News Network

As the data show, 800 deaths pales in comparison with almost every war we’ve ever fought. And, certainly, one doesn’t want to take the disproportionate American deaths argument too far when one looks at the two World Wars. We lost many times 800 in both the Mexican War and the Spanish-American War, the rationales for which are long forgotten by most.

Indeed, there are perhaps dozens of battles in American history in which we took more than 800 deaths. A very few examples:

Not to mention:

(Note: Estimates vary widely for some of these battles; I’ve chosen representative numbers and given hyperlinks.)

Regardless of the position one took on the war at the outset, or even one’s position as to whether we ought remain knowing what we know now, we should hope that these 2000 lives purchase something worthy of their sacrifice. If they lead to a free, democratic Iraq that is a catalyst for a Middle East less hospitable to Islamist zealots, that will indeed be the case.

FILED UNDER: James Joyner, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. LJD says:

    Something just terribly wrong with the placement of the word Yahoo! in the headline…




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  2. Anderson says:

    Nor is it an indication of the worth of the mission for which these troops died. If the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, then one death is too many.

    Amen. God rest their souls.




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  3. veteran says:

    Whether or not one supports the war one needs to be appalled by this rightwing attempt to trivialize the consequences.

    A select group of Americans pay, they pay deeply. If one had said (and a number did) 2 1/2 years ago that thousands of dead would happen after “mission accomplished” they would have been mocked because know it all strategists like you said the quagmire conception was dead.

    Now it is a quagmire. Unlike Vetnam it involves vital interests. So we are stuck in a place with an apparently long term insurgency, massive criminality and corruption with our greatest “success” being a south ruled by Iranian influenced militias.

    For the record I did support the war. And I have argued for 2 years in letters to congress critters and others that we must acknowledge problems and try to solve them. Not deny and rationalize them.

    As traitors, yes traitors like you do. Those who have constantly said that all was will and everything perfect have done more to undermine this effort than all the others.

    You supported the firing of Garner because the country was not ready fir ekections and he wouldn’t let Chalibi decide policy, also because he took seriously the studies by the army war college and others. You celebrated Brenmer who brought in a bunch of kids with rightwing PC to run the country, you cekebrated the flat tax and claimed Iraq an advanced econony even as this was developing:

    http://amconmag.com/2005/2005_10_24/cover.html

    You accused Senator Clinton and others of political game playing when they called for more troops to do things like secure ammo dumps and borders, you claimed there was no such use.

    Now you trivialize the death of people whose finger nail clippings are worth ten times you and your miserable family. You say it’s no big deal!

    It is chump. There are a lot of real conservatives in this country. We stand for values and responsibility and are willing to sacrifice. Hiostorically this has beaten the feudalism, the protection of the landed, the worship of kings and the degradation of the little people that you represent.

    Your values are reactionary, they are 15th century and I would ask you to refrain from polluting our troops by mentioning them. Go dream of the ctony rewards you hope to get by saying all is wonderful.

    But some of us are not afraid to look sacrifice in the face, to weep, we think it good to see flag draped coffins, to remind us. And we know how peope like you lie. It is not deaths that the American peple will not tolerate, but deaths for nothing or little. And by being a too for a partisan propaganda machine scum like you have almost certainly assured our failure.




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  4. Steve says:

    But consider the real outcome, not the one that existed only in Wolfowitz’s imagination: an Iraq dominated by pro-Iranian Shiite Islamic extremists, with chaotic exceptions dominated by Islamic Sunni terrorists, with maybe, just maybe, an area of Kurdish friends that anger our Turkish friends so much that Turkey would invade. And we didn’t get a darn thing from Iran for giving Irag to them.




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  5. Herb says:

    Veteran:

    I have read your comment several times and I want to know one thing,

    Who is the “YOU” you refer to so many times?




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  6. DL says:

    Why is it that the body counters (the remnants of VietNam )can’t understand that with today’s modern science and weaponry (WMDs) the terrorists will make that number tiny if we allow them. This is not a war that we wanted. This is a war that was avoided by the body counter types for far too long. Those body counts are, in part, the conseqences of the do nothing Clinton administration.




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  7. ken says:

    Veteran:

    I have read your comment several times and I want to know one thing,

    Who is the “YOU” you refer to so many times?

    Herb,

    We all pretty much thought he was talking about you, Herb.

    Who did you think he was referring to?




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  8. […] James Joyner looks at history, and offers this: “Regardless of the position one took on the war at the outset, or even one’s position as to whether we ought remain knowing what we know now, we should hope that these 2000 lives purchase something worthy of their sacrifice. If they lead to a free, democratic Iraq that is a catalyst for a Middle East less hospitable to Islamist zealots, that will indeed be the case.” […]




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  9. odograph says:

    Interesting, I was thinking of parallels with the Spanish American war … it would be striking if we ended with similar totals.




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  10. U.S. Military Deaths Reach 2,000 in Iraq

    The American military death toll in the Iraq war reached 2,000 Tuesday with the announcements of thr




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  11. Sortapundit says:

    For Those Who Gave Their Lives…

    Reading of the 2,000th American military fatality tonight, and see that we here in the UK are nearing the 100th British loss, it’s hard not to notice the similarities between the soldiers and Rosa Parks, who also died today. Both Parks and the soldier…




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  12. Herb says:

    Ken:

    Good one. Glad you didn’t miss the chance to get one in (knife in the back, that is)

    Ken, you remind me of the “Constipated Hoot Owl”

    Anyway,Ken, who wants to hear or see from you that is a leach and sponge on the whole of society. To top that off, you coward, why haven’t you served our country.

    You are just a Kid that really don’t what the hell he’s talking about.

    Now let’s hear some more stupid, assinine talk from you




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  13. anjin-san says:

    Thank God the Bush admin is now circling the bowl with ever increasing speed…




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  14. Just Me says:

    One thing that I would be interested in seeing is what percentage of the US population those casualty figures meet.

    For instance 25,000 in the revolutionary war was probably a huge percentage of the population for that period of time compared to what it would represent now.

    In the end I don’t think the debate should be centered around casualty counting, but in whether or not the war was neccessary, and the cost was worth it. This of course is something to be debated, but is really where the discussion belongs, rather than some kind of “once we reach 2,000 the war is officially a bad idea” kind of meme.




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  15. McGehee says:

    This of course is something to be debated, but is really where the discussion belongs, rather than some kind of “once we reach 2,000 the war is officially a bad idea” kind of meme.

    But you’re expecting war opponents to think about … complex issues and stuff.

    That’s just cruel.




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  16. ICallMasICM says:

    More cheerleading for failure from the MSM.




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