Iraq War Deaths Exceed 9/11 Toll

The AP reports that, “at least 2,978” American soldiers have now been killed in Iraq, which is “five more than the number killed in the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.”

Some other bits of historical trivia:

  • More American soldiers died during World War II than at Pearl Harbor.
  • More people died during WWI than archdukes killed precipitating that war.
  • More people died in the fighting that followed the Confederate shelling of Fort Sumpter than during that attack. Indeed, far more died during that war than the total of African slaves killed by their owners.
  • More people died during the Spanish-American War than during the sinking of the Maine.

Offhand, it’s hard to think of a significant war where the number of casualties did not exceed those who died in the event that was its proximate cause. So what?

Now, it’s certainly arguable that ousting Saddam Hussein and trying to create a democratic regime in Iraq was a poor response to being attacked by al Qaeda. Or that the war was a bad idea, period. But silly anecdotes about the number of casualties trivializes those debates.

If the war was just and worth fighting, the number of American dead has been a worthwhile if sad sacrifice. If not, then every casualty was one too many.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. cirby says:

    …more Americans murdered by other Americans during a given three month period than by both 9/11 and the Iraq war, combined.

  2. Eal says:

    Eye, but why should someone worry about having 9/11 made in NY before it happened because the source for Atta or that other guy with him at ATMs before 9/11 when it was a foreign country on a Greyhound between cities coming from the previous executive branch’s preferred source. So, really can’t handle that stuff anymore and then there’s the time issue.

  3. Kent G. Budge says:

    No doubt it’s hard to bargle nawdle zouss with all those marbles in your mouth.

  4. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Some might suggest there is a difference between those who were minding their own business in what was thought to be a secure building, in a city, within a nation, which is not involved in a armed conflict with anyone. And those who volunteer to go in harms way in defense of their country. Let us hear the BS about not in defense of our nation. Now, examine the documents which ended the first Gulf war. Notice any violation of those requirements placed on Iraq? Or the 17 UN resolutions violated. Intellectual honesty is necessary for this matter to be discussed and one side is lacking in same.

  5. LJD says:

    silly anecdotes about the number of casualties trivializes those debates

    Stop the presses. Who would have known such about this pillar of modern journalism?