Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fighting terrorists there instead of here

iraqbodycount.net has the following statistics about the civilian (non-combatant) deaths in Iraq from March 2003 to March 2005.

Killers by category Number killed % of Total
1. US-led forces alone 9270 37.3
2. Anti-occupation forces alone 2353 9.5
3. Both US-led and anti-occupation forces involved 623 2.5
4. MoH-defined 'military actions' 635 2.5
5. MoH-defined 'terrorist attacks' 318 1.3
6. Predominantly criminal killings 8935 35.9
7. Unknown agents 2731 11.0
Total deaths 24865 100.0

(MoH is the Iraqi Ministry of Health.)

The report explains each of the terms. The following is worth noting:

"Predominantly criminal killings Mortuary-reported deaths provide the most accurate measure of everyday criminal violence in Iraq. Deaths added to the IBC Database and included in this study are only those over and above the very low 'background' levels of such violence recorded pre-invasion, which averaged 14 per month in 2002.

Most of the deaths currently recorded by mortuaries, and in particular the Baghdad city mortuary which provided the bulk of IBC's mortuary data, are said to be connected to criminal activity and distinct from war-related deaths as recorded by MoH: "The vast majority [of the dead recorded by mortuaries] did not die for reasons directly related to the insurgency but as a result of the crime wave scourging the capital's streets".

The recent trend is an increase in insurgency related deaths. But for the first two years, while the insurgents got the headlines, it was the criminals who were committing the most Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence. The insurgents were not the big cause of Iraqi deaths, more than two-thirds are accounted for in equal parts by criminals and by US forces in pursuit of insurgents.
Since we're equating insurgents to terrorists, it shows you what a misguided war it was in Iraq; and what Rumsfeld overlooked when he said that stuff happens.