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Good speech John! > ... For forty days and nights, Iraq was subject to a merciless > bombardment in which 150,000 – 200,000 Iraqis died... Other figures that I've seen, comes from King's College London's Lawrence Freedman and Efraim Karsh. Their book, The Gulf Conflict, 1990-1991: diplomacy and war in the new world order (ISBN 0-691-03772-8; Princeton University Press, 1993), was recommended to me as the best on the topic by a former head of the Middle East Department of the FCO in the early 1970s (late last year he had written a strong letter to the editor of one of the dailies, observing that Britain seems never to learn from its mistakes in the Arab world; he has been quite helpful in correspondence with me). Before quoting, a word of explanation on the "projected number of Iraqi soldiers in the theatre" [of war]: initial estimates of Iraqi troops involved were based on a guess that Iraqi units were operating with a high percentage of their soldiers present. Later estimates suggest that more Iraqis did not join their units than originally expected. I'll quote a few of the surrounding paragraphs as well (pp.408-9): In just over 100 hours, coalition forces captured over 73,000 square kilometres of territory. Fifteen percent of Iraq was under coalition control. The Iraqi Army which had been in occupation had been effectively cut to pieces. No more than seven of the original forty-three Iraqi divisions were capable of operations. Coalition casualties were remarkably low - almost as much damage had been done by 'friendly fire' as by Iraqi fire. Almost a quarter of the American deaths and more than half the British had come in this form. Another 138 were killed and 2,978 injured outside of battle, largely during the preceding months of Desert Shield. Nonetheless, after all the gloomy predictions of thousands of casualties, the total was remarkably small. On the Iraqi side, calculations of casualties were impossible. [Allied] CENTCOM had explicitly ruled out any 'body counts' which had been both a distasteful and wholly misleading feature of the Vietnam campaign. When pressed, a figure of 100,000 was plucked out of the air, with a margin of error of 50 per cent, but that was largely based on the fact that, compared to the projected numbers of Iraqi soldiers in the theatre, only a relatively small proportion had been accounted for as prisoners (64,000 were taken by the US, 17,000 by the Arab forces and 5,000 by the British). A year later revised estimates were as low as 10,000, largely because the evidence of mass death was slight and the numbers of Iraqi troops in the theatre had been dramatically reduced. The Iraqis gave only one estimate, of 20,000 killed (of which about 1,000 then were civilians) and 60,000 wounded after twenty-six days of the air war. There is no reason to doubt this. Inter- rogation of prisoners revealed that in some units desertions ex- ceeded casualties by ten to one, while casualties as a result of the bombing varied between 100 and 400 per division, which suggests another 4,000 dead. It is probable that at most another 10,000 died during the land war, making up to 35,000 in total, though this is based largely on circumstantial evidence. Despite the horrific images, most of the vehicles on the 'highway of death' were empty, and through there were other such highways the total casualties in these attacks were probably measured in hundreds rather than thousands. There were no mass graves or large numbers of bodies. One report suggests that the Saudis buried 5,000 Iraqis. However, the US said in late March that 444 Iraqi soldiers had been buried at fifty-five sites. The number reached 577 in June. Reporters asking around Iraqi villages found little evidence of a massive loss of young men, and the Iraqi health service was not inundated with dead and wounded. Notes  Triumph Without Victory, p. 373. Eleven more Americans were killed when unexploded allied ordnance blew up on them, and a further eighteen were killed by unexploded enemy ordnance.  Anthony Cordesman, 'Rush to Judgement in the Gulf War', Armed Forces Journal International, June 1991.  Dannreuther, The Gulf Conflict, p.57.  International Herald Tribune, 2-3 March, 18 March, 24 June 1991, 16 January 1992. Patrick Cockburn, 'Lower Death Toll Helped Saddam', Independent, 5 February 1992. Colin Rowat Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/casi King's College Cambridge CB2 1ST tel: +44 (0)468 056 984 England fax: +44 (0)1223 335 219 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html [ARCHIVE NOTE: the word "1,000" from the phrase "of which about 1,000 then were civilians" was accidentally ommited by the message poster, and inserted into this archived version on his request on 16 Jan 2001.]