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[casi] Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant Fatalities in the 2003 Conflict

The Wages of War
Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant
Fatalities in the 2003 Conflict
Project on Defense Alternatives Research Monograph #8
Carl Conetta
20 October 2003


Executive Summary

1. Introduction

2. Organization and method

3. Iraqi noncombatant fatalities in the 2003 war
3.1 Baghdad
3.1.1. Reconciling the Baghdad hospital records on civilian dead
3.1.2. Other categories of Baghdad war dead
3.1.3. Total war dead in Baghdad
3.1.4. The problem of distinguishing combatants and noncombatants
3.2. Noncombatant death toll outside Baghdad
3.2.1. Noncombatant death toll in Basra, Nasiriyah, Al Hillah, and
3.2.2. Noncombatant deaths elsewhere
3.3. Total Iraqi noncombatant death toll

4. Iraqi combatant fatalities in the 2003 war
4.1. Reported field observation of Iraqi combatant deaths
4.2. Estimating the fatal effects of long-range artillery
4.3. Estimating the fatal effects of long-range air power
4.3.1. Air interdiction of ground units
4.3.2. The attack on strategic, air supremacy, and "military system"
4.4. Total Iraqi combatant fatalities

5. Total Iraqi fatalities in the 2003 war

6. Casualty comparison: Iraqi Freedom and Desert Storm

7. Conclusion:  Iraqi War Fatalities and the Paradox of the "New


Appendix 1. Survey of reported Iraqi combatant fatalities in the 2003

Appendix 2. Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant Fatalities in the 1991
Gulf War


The Wages of War
Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant Fatalities in the 2003 Conflict
Project on Defense Alternatives Research Monograph #8
Carl Conetta
20 October 2003
It's not pretty. It's not surgical. You want surgical, you should
have left the place alone. You try to limit collateral damage, but
they want to fight. Now it's just smash-mouth football.
- Chief Warrant Officer Pat Woellhof with USMC units in Nasiriyah,
April 2003(1)

If there is one Bin Laden now, there will be 100 Bin Ladens afterward

- Hosni Mubarak in speech on the Iraq war, 31 March 2003(2)

I am going to kill America - not today, after 10 years
- father of nine-month-old Iraqi girl killed by cluster bomblet

1. Introduction

The motivating premise of this study is that nations cannot wage war
responsibly or intelligently without careful attention to its costs.
The broader context in which "Operation Iraqi Freedom" was conducted -
- that is, the campaign against terrorism -- makes attention to the
repercussions of war even more urgent. Effective action against
terrorism depends in fair part on an effort to win hearts and minds.
Success in this effort turns significantly on issues of legitimacy
and responsible action, especially with regard to the use of force.
And the first principle of responsible action is to take account of
its effects.

It may not be possible to predict or determine with absolute
precision any of the many costs of conflict -- economic, human, or
environmental. But this does not relieve us of the need and
responsibility to develop a "working estimate given available
evidence" -- which is what the present study aims to do with regard
to fatalities. Fortunately for this analysis, the available evidence
is very substantial, including journalistic coverage of civilian
casualty incidents, surveys of hospitals, burial societies, and
graveyards, and battlefield observations made by embedded reporters
and by military personnel on both sides. Seldom in history has a
conflict been so closely scrutinized on the ground while it occurred
as was the 2003 Iraq war.

Our analysis of the evidence leads to the conclusion that between
10,800 and 15,100 Iraqis were killed in the war. Of these, between
3,200 and 4,300 were noncombatants -- that is: civilians who did not
take up arms. Expressed in terms of their mid-points, our estimates

 Total Iraqi fatalities:  12,950   plus or minus 2,150 (16.5 percent)

 Iraqi non-combat fatalities: 3,750   plus/minus 550 (15 percent)
 Iraqi combatant fatalities:  9,200   plus/minus 1,600 (17.5 percent)

Calculated on the basis of these mid-points, approximately 30 percent
of the war's fatalities were noncombatant civilians.

These are "working" estimates in the sense that they are based on a
body of evidence (including operational statistics) that will change
with the release or discovery of new information. The tallies we
offer are "estimates" in the sense that they pose fatality totals (in
several classes) which have been extrapolated from information that
is only partial. The uncertainties inherent in this process are
partly conveyed by expressing our estimates as ranges, which can be
viewed as margins of error.

New information may allow us to narrow our estimated fatality range
or it could somewhat shift the range upward or downward. However,
because the present fact base is so rich, we are confident that the
actual Iraqi fatality total falls somewhere within the range we have
calculated. At any rate, the strategic significance of a casualty
toll -- its relevance to policy -- does not depend on achieving a
single firm number or a zero margin of error. In strategic terms, the
difference between 11,000 and 15,000 fatalities (our approximate
upper and lower limits) is only marginally significant. Whether the
war's death toll registers at the upper or lower end of this range,
its repercussions would be about the same. In other words: the
achieved degree of precision is sufficient to usefully inform policy.

2. Organization and method

Our estimate of Iraqi war dead is based on an analysis and synthesis
of several types of data:

Journalistic surveys of hospital and burial society records, with a
primary focus on determining the number of civilian war fatalities.
Chief among these are surveys conducted and published by the
Associated Press, Knight-Ridder press syndicate, and the Los Angeles
Times. These are supplemented by media and Nongovernmental
Organization (NGO) reports and compilations of individual casualty
incidents, which include testimony from eyewitnesses, hospital
personnel, aid workers, and the families of the dead. Among the
supplementary compilations used in this report is one published by
PDA: Civilian Casualties in the 2003 Iraq War: A Compendium of
Accounts and Reports (Commonwealth Institute, May 2003).
Observations and estimates of fatalities in combat by military
commanders and embedded journalists, with an ostensible focus on
combatant fatalities. These are compiled and reviewed in Appendix 1.
Survey and assessment of reported Iraqi combatant fatalities in the
2003 War;
Journalist interviews with Iraqi commanders and military personnel
that detail their experience of the effects of coalition firepower;

Official Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) combat statistics as well as
data from other recent US military operations, which has special
relevance to estimating the effects of coalition artillery and air
The organization of the study is largely determined by the nature of
the evidence. In its two principal sections it successively examines
noncombatant and combatant fatalities.
As noted above, the estimation of noncombatant casualties depends
principally on journalistic surveys of hospital and burial records.
These are examined, first, for the Baghdad area and then for areas
outside Baghdad. For the Baghdad area, the surveys and other
information sources are sufficiently complete to allow for reasonable
estimates of both noncombatant and combatant fatalities, which
together constitute the total war dead for the city. For areas
outside Baghdad, however, the surveys of hospital records are less
complete. And there are no published counts of unregistered graves.
Extrapolation from this smaller sample is possible, of course, but it
runs a greater risk of error. The associated uncertainty is expressed
as a broader range between the higher and lower ends of our

The estimation of nation-wide combatant casualties comprises three
data reviews: The first draws on field observations and casualty
estimates by US military personnel and embedded reporters. The second
assesses the impact of aerial bombardment, drawing principally on
operational data and casualty reports made by Iraqi officers and
enlisted personnel. The third assesses the likely fatal effects of
coalition long-range artillery, drawing on operational data and
metrics for artillery effectiveness. No one of these data reviews
provides a complete picture. Their fusion, however, serves as a basis
for extrapolating total Iraqi combatant fatalities. The hospital and
burial survey data examined in the first section, which includes some
insights about combatant casualties in Baghdad, provides a partial
check on the plausibility of the combatant estimates made in the
second section.
The civilian fatality surveys reviewed for this report ostensibly
exclude combat personnel from their scope. In our estimate, however,
they inadvertently incorporate a significant number of combatants who
fought and died out of uniform. We employ demographic data to
estimate the true proportion of civilian noncombatants in this
The estimates of Iraqi fatalities in combat made by embedded
reporters and US military personnel in the field ostensibly excluded
noncombatants. This, too, is a proposition that cannot be accepted at
face value. In our review of this data we assumed that some
proportion of the observed and reported Iraqi "combatant" fatalities
were actually noncombatant fatalities.

A second likely problem with the estimates of Iraqi combat fatalities
made by field observers is casualty inflation. To help control for
this problem, we gave greatest weight to estimates by eyewitnesses
and to estimates that covered events of limited scope for which
substantiating detail was available. Estimates by military or civil
authorities above the division level are excluded from our count
except when they are consistent with estimates made by those closer
to the battlefield. Even estimates by lower-level commanders and
embedded journalists are adjusted, usually downward, in light of
narrative details and other background information.

3. Iraqi noncombatant fatalities in the 2003 war

3.1. Baghdad

It is most fruitful to begin an assessment of civilian noncombatant
war fatalities with an estimation of the total Iraqi war dead in
Baghdad. This temporarily tables the difficult but vital issue of
distinguishing between combatants and noncombatants.

Several relevant data points are provided by three hospital surveys
conducted by US newspapers and news services:(3)

A survey of 19 Baghdad area hospitals, conducted by a team of Knight
Ridder News Service reporters found that 1,101 civilian war
fatalities had been recorded in Baghdad's major hospitals. Another
1,255 dead were categorized by the hospitals as "probably civilians".

A survey of 27 Baghdad area hospitals by the Los Angeles Times found
reports of at least 1,700 civilian war fatalities during the period
20 March to 26 April. (Those for the period after 9 April included
people who succumbed to war injuries and victims of unexploded

An Associated Press survey of 60 hospitals throughout Iraq included
24 in Baghdad which recorded 1,824 civilian fatalities for the period
20 March through 20 April.
Additional key data points from these surveys and other sources
Estimates of bodies recovered from ad hoc or unregistered graves by
Muslim burial societies and their volunteers. In Baghdad, these
recovered bodies were not included in hospital counts.(4) They
encompass 600 civilians claimed recovered by four burial societies,
an estimated 1,000 civilians recovered by the Red Crescent Society,
and 50-100 graves of Iraqi military personnel at the international
airport. (We assume there is substantial overlap between the Red
Crescent and burial society estimates.)

Records at Rashid Hospital, which served the military exclusively,
showing 260 military fatalities.(5)
By no means do these data points cover all the Baghdad war
fatalities. Yet, taken together, they provide a strong foundation for
beginning an estimate of the total war dead in the city.
3.1.1. Reconciling the Baghdad hospital records on civilian dead

All three hospital surveys report difficulty in gaining access to
acceptable records in some hospitals. Thus, none of the surveys are
complete. In some cases, hospital records were not available, or
daily records were not available (as one of the surveys required), or
hospitals failed to distinguish between civilian and non-civilian
dead in their written records. In such cases, the journalists either
disregarded the whole lot or attempted to examine the original
records themselves.

The surveys also differed in scope. Interestingly, the Knight-Ridder
survey, which covers the fewest hospitals, seems to find the highest
number of possible civilians. This is because it includes as a
separate category 1,255 dead who doctors thought were "probably
civilians," although the hospitals had not yet made a final, official
determination of their status.

Insofar as we are attempting, first, to estimate the total Baghdad
war dead regardless of their civilian/non-civilian status, the Knight-
Ridder survey among the three presents the best place to begin. It
establishes a bare minimum of 2,356 war dead. Does this number
encompass all the hospital cases covered by the other surveys? A
closer look shows that it does not. Although the three surveys surely
overlap, they clearly are not entirely coextensive.

A large proportion -- 90 percent -- of the civilians and "probable
civilians" reported in the Knight-Ridder survey come from three
hospitals located near the Baghdad International Airport: the Karama,
Askan, and Yarmouk. Of the total 2,356 deaths reported by the Knight-
Ridder team, 2,100 came from these three. Undoubtedly, most of these
casualties were associated with the nearby airport battles and with
the armored incursions conducted by the US Third Division, which
passed through nearby areas.

The Knight-Ridder team recorded only 256 total dead at the remaining
16 facilities they visited. However, several hospitals other than the
three near the airport were reported during the war to have been
overwhelmed with casualties. And it is easy to find in the broader
universe of Baghdad area hospitals surveyed by the newspaper teams
many more dead than the Knight-Ridder survey would allow. For

The Al-Adnan hospital reported 85 civilian dead;

The Mansour reported 200 -- including 30 children;(6)

Mahmoudiya Hospital in south Baghdad also reported 200 dead; and

The al-Kindi hospital in central Baghdad registered 192 civilian
deaths as of 9 April.
Together these four hospitals alone registered 777 civilian dead.
This implies that the Knight-Ridder survey is at least 520 short
because it allowed for only 256 deaths outside the three facilities
near the airport. Thus, the bare minimum of recorded "civilian" or
"probable civilian" hospitals deaths is 2,876 (that is, 2,356 plus
3.1.2 Other categories of Baghdad war dead

There are several other major categories of war fatalities that are
not accounted for in the 2,876 deaths noted above:

First are the military personnel who were either brought to military
hospitals or were registered at civilian facilities as members of the
military. In either case, these would have been excluded from the
journalists' surveys.
Second are the dead who had been buried at or near the scene of their
deaths, having never been brought to the hospitals. These, too, are
not counted in the provisional total. Many of these bodies were
recovered or being recovered by burial societies and Red Crescent

Third are the dead who were unrecoverable -- either buried under
rumble, incinerated, or blown to pieces.

Building a comprehensive estimate of war dead requires that we
develop estimates for each of these additional categories.
Military hospitals and wards

There were in Baghdad at least three hospitals designated to receive
military personnel: the Rashid, Zafaraniya, and Yarmouk.(7) Other
hospitals as well would have received some military casualties and
dead -- and they would have designated at least some of these dead as
"military."(8) Doctors' motivation for this was not an abstract
commitment to separate military from civilian dead, but a desire to
facilitate the identification of the dead by family members.(9)
Unlike most civilians who suffered death and injury in Baghdad,
military personnel might have been posted to Baghdad from all over
the country. Family members searching for them might seek them
through military channels or depend on information such as their
rank, home unit, or assignment to find them.

One indication of the number of military dead are the 260 recorded at
the Rashid Hospital, which served the military almost
exclusively.(10) The Yarmouk -- a civilian hospital -- also was
overwhelmed with clearly military casualties, but their number was
never made public.(11) The LA Times survey quotes the explanation
offered by the hospital's Director of Statistics:

We were divided, with a special sector for the military and a general
in charge of it, a doctor. No one dared to ask them about their
numbers. And then they were gone.(12)
Soldiers were also evident among the casualties at the Adnan annex in
Medical City and at Al Kindi.(13) The Knight-Ridder survey cites the
director of the Al-Kadhymia Pediatrics Hospital estimating that 60 to
70 percent of the dead and wounded were civilian; the rest,
military.(14) (South of Baghdad, at Babylon General Hospital near Al
Hillah, doctors estimated the number of military casualties received
from an attack to be 20 percent.)(15) If only 20 percent of the dead
at Baghdad's civilian hospitals were military personnel (and
identified as such), they would have numbered approximately 720.
(This number would not have been included in the newspaper hospital
surveys.) Of course, if the proportion were closer to the 30-40
percent cited by the director of Al-Kadhymia, this would entail a
significantly higher number.
For the purposes of this report we set the minimum of uniform
military dead in hospitals at 500, which includes the 260 military
dead recorded at Rashid. We will use 1,200 as an upper-end estimate
for the uniformed military dead who might have been identified as
military and treated at hospitals throughout the city, either
military or civilian ones.

Undocumented burials in Baghdad

Independent of the hospital toll, the LA Times article cites
estimates by several of the city's burial societies that they had
discovered 600 civilians and "many more" military personnel buried in
undocumented graves. Some of these would have been hastily buried
near where they died by local citizens or by the US military --
sometimes in "mass" graves. Islamic burial societies or teams from
the Red Crescent (often alerted by the US military) acted to disinter
these dead, identify them and their families, and ensure a proper
burial.(16) Slowing the progress was lack of access to some city
areas, such as the airport, still under tight US military control a
month after the war's official end. As late as 8 June, Iraqi health
officials were still negotiating for access to between 50 and 100
bodies buried at the International Airport.(17)

The LA Times article cites an estimate by Haidar Tari, who led the
Red Crescent burial teams, that there might be as many as 3,000
people in such graves -- one-third of them civilians. Ali Ismail,
another Red Crescent official, separately reported that 1,000 graves
had already been discovered in the Baghdad area as of the middle of
May.(18) However, while there is strong evidence that such graves
existed in substantial numbers throughout Iraq and that many untended
bodies cluttered the scene of engagements in Baghdad and elsewhere,
there is little to support the notion that 3,000 people were so
buried in Baghdad alone.(19)

We accept 1,000 undocumented burials as our minimum estimate. These
we take to encompass a minimum of 50 at the international airport and
the estimates of both the Red Crescent and the four surveyed burial
societies. (Clearly, our minimum estimate discounts a portion of the
claims and assumes overlap between the Red Crescent and burial
society estimates). As a provisional upper-end estimate we accept
1,600 undocumented buried bodies, which would allow for 100 at the
airport and would also marginally accommodate the impression of
burial society members that dead military personnel outnumbered the
600 recovered bodies that they claimed were civilian.

Unrecovered dead in Baghdad

The final category of war dead comprises those who might be
undiscovered (or undiscoverable), buried beneath rubble. Recovering
bodies from destroyed multi-storey buildings presents a special
problem. A case in point is the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack on
the World Trade Center in New York City.(20) Of the 2,792 people
listed as missing in the attack, only 1,464 were positively
identified as late as February 2003. Approximately 700 of these were
identified by means of DNA matching alone. Indeed, only 291 bodies
were found whole. The last body was found in April 2002 -- seven
months after the event. Clearance efforts to that point had required
3 million hours of labor. Debris from the attack weighed an estimated
1.5 million tons. Also recovered were nearly 20,000 body parts --
some of these only by the sifting process at special landfill sites.

Another exemplary case on a smaller scale involves recovery of the
dead from the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank following the early
April 2002 Israeli incursion.(21) During the incursion 250 buildings
were either demolished or severely damaged . Most of these were small
two- and three-storey structures. A few weeks after the Israeli
withdrawal human rights groups asserted that 53 residents of the camp
had been killed during the incursion. However, within a month,
another 13 bodies were found in the debris. In early August -- nearly
four months after the fighting -- four more bodies were discovered:
three in piles of debris that had been removed from the site and one
body of a person who had been crushed into the floor of his home.
Exacerbating recovery work in Jenin was the fact that a fair portion
of the damaged structures were not merely destroyed but leveled and
plowed under.

Returning to Baghdad and the 2003 war: Press reports suggest that
more than 30 large government, military, and regime buildings in
Baghdad and more than 80 smaller structures were destroyed or very
severely damaged during the war, requiring reconstruction.(22) Some
of these -- especially the government buildings -- were subsequently
looted and burned. There are no estimates of how many casualties were
associated specifically with collapsed buildings, although the regime
reported few deaths from the bombing of its sites. Also, recovery
work with regard to the smaller structures would have been much less
challenging in Baghdad than had been the case in Jenin, where the
destruction was highly concentrated and recovery efforts were impeded
by the Israelis. Even in the worst cases of collateral damage in
Baghdad -- such as the Al Shaab (26 March), Al Shula (28 March), and
al-Mansour (7 April) neighborhood bombings -- rescue and recovery
work commenced quickly. In this light we set the maximum number of
Iraqis not recovered from collapsed structures in Baghdad by the end
of April at 50 -- a nominal figure.

3.1.3. Total war dead in Baghdad

Combining the estimates for the various categories of war dead in
Baghdad yields a total of between 4,376 and 5,526 fatalities,
encompassing combatants and noncombatants, civilians and uniformed

 Nominal civilian dead at hospitals:  2,876 +
 Military dead in military hospitals and wards: 500 - 1,200
 Unrecovered dead buried at Baghdad International Airport: 50 - 100
 Dead buried in ad hoc graves elsewhere in the city: 950 - 1,500
 Undiscovered dead: 0 - 50

These estimates are based on a known -- that is recorded or counted --
 quantity of at least 3,786 dead: 2,876-plus dead at civilian
hospitals, 260 at the Rashid, 50 or more at the international
airport, and 600 or more indentified by burial societies.

3.1.4. The problem of distinguishing combatants and noncombatants

A central issue in estimating civilian dead is separating combatants
from noncombatants within this category. The conventional concern
with civilian casualties stems from the presumed status of civilians
as noncombatants. But the noncombatant status of civilians cannot be
simply assumed. In the Iraq war, militias and other combatants not in
uniform played a major role. Hospitals tended to classify the dead as
civilian as long as they had no form of military identification or
clothing and there was no other evidence to the contrary. This might
have allowed proper classification of the dead and injured in most
cases, but not all. This is made clear in the Knight Ridder survey
with regard to some of the dead at hospitals.

The "probable civilian" dead at Al Karama hospital

As noted above, at three hospitals the Knight Ridder reporters found
that some of the dead were unofficially categorized as "probably
civilians" -- 1,255 in total. A significant subset of this category --
 450 dead -- were at the Al Karama hospital, where records also
indicated that only

30 percent of the "probable civilians" were women or children. But
this proportional distribution does not accord with the demographics
of the general Iraqi population. A closer analysis suggests that as
many as 45 percent of the "probable civilian" dead at Al Karama were
actually combatants. (These could have been civilian combatants or
military personnel out of uniform.)

The proportion of presumed civilian noncombatant dead who are women
and children is an important clue to the actual number of
noncombatant deaths. This ratio provides a metric by which we can
guard against mistaking civilian combatants for noncombatants.

Children and young people below the age of 14 years constitute 42
percent of the Iraqi population. Among those 15 years and older, the
population divides almost equally into men and women; men are
slightly more numerous. Thus, in a population of civilian dead we
might expect 70 percent to be women and children. It is reasonable to
assume, however, that men would be somewhat over-represented among
civilian noncombatant casualties because they are more likely to have
been out in public during the battle of Baghdad (when most of the
casualties occurred).

The extent to which risk-taking by noncombatant males might have
affected the sample of civilian dead should not be overstated,
however. A portion of the civilian fatalities were families fleeing
the city, who unfortunately collided with the allied advance.

Modeling the noncombatant population

The Baghdad noncombatant population would have divided into four
different "risk groups" of unequal size: those at risk anywhere due
to strategic bombardment -- a very large group; those additionally at
risk because they lived in the path of the two major American
advances into the city -- a sizable group; those at high risk because
they sought to flee the city in vehicles during the American advance;
and those at high risk because they moved openly in the city during
the final American assaults. Only the last group would have been
predominantly male. (Of course, the highest risk factor would have
been borne by combatants, almost all male, who actively sought
confrontation with coalition forces.)

A factor that would have significantly influenced the balance of risk
among the four noncombatant groups was the late exodus from Baghdad
of thousands of Iraqi families. These civilians hoped to reduce their
risks as the American assault on the city suddenly accelerated;
instead, they inadvertently exposed themselves to the coalition
onslaught. As observed by Central Command spokesperson Maj. Gen.
Victor E. Renuart, "The battlefield extends across the country now
and it's really not safe for the Iraqi people to try to leave the
cities and drive away to avoid danger."(23) Such warnings, while good
intentioned, could hardly pierce the rising din of air, artillery,
and armored assaults or stem the panic these assaults created. A
report in the Guardian, a British newspaper, fairly summarizes the
chaos that ensued in the days following the American seizure of the
Saddam airport:(24)

Although Iraqi officials continued to reassure residents that
coalition forces would not enter the capital, few seemed convinced.
In a grim e-mail from Baghdad on Sunday, Huguenin-Benjamin [of the
International Committee for the Red Cross] described a "frenetic"
scene Saturday morning as thousands of Baghdad citizens jammed the
roads in taxis, cars and even horse-drawn carts.... "Entire families
were moving from their homes," he wrote. "Families are camping
overnight in their cars to escape the shelling."

The scene this describes was underway the day before the first US
armored thrust into the city. The predictable result was that Baghdad
civilians were killed or injured as American forces and firepower
swept through sectors of the city and engaged Iraqi combatants.(25)
In one incident, at a south Baghdad interchange, two dozen civilian
vehicles were inadvertently destroyed -- their occupants torn apart
or incinerated -- by a US mechanized task force that was responding
to an attack from nearby Fedayeen. Women and children were among the
recognizable dead remaining in the wreckage days later.(26)

Taking these factors into account, a reasonable estimate is that
civilian noncombatant casualties would divide into 54 percent women
and children, 46 percent men.(27) This is a ratio of 7:6, rather than
the expected 7:4 and it reflects an assumed average risk factor for
males that is twice that for women and children. This would lead us
to expect male noncombatant fatalities to be 85 percent as numerous
as those of women and children, given a general population in which
males constitute 30 percent of the total while women and children
constitute 70 percent.(28) This metric is key to analyzing
populations of ostensibly civilian victims.

In the case of the "probable civilian" dead at Al Karama hospital: If
this were indeed a typical, homogenous group of civilian
noncombatants, then the established fact of 135 fatalities among
women and children would lead us to expect a matching group of 115
dead noncombatant males -- for a total of 250. However, the relevant
pool of "probable civilians" actually comprised 450 dead of which 315
were male. So, this sizable sample might contain as many as 200
combatants in civilian attire, which is 44.4 percent of the total.

Other demographic data on Iraqi casualties

Some demographic data on civilian casualties in Baghdad is also
available from a Spanish NGO that documented 42 cases of civilian
attack in the capital involving over 100 individuals during the
period 20 March through 5 April.(29) Notably, their data excludes the
days of intense street fighting that began on 5 April. Most of the
incidents they recount clearly involve urban aerial bombardment,
which should produce a more random sampling of collateral civilian
victims -- that is: a sample that more closely mirrors the
demographics of Iraqi society. Although their aggregate data does not
distinguish the gender of victims, they do report on their age
distribution. And this closely approximates the demographics of the
Iraqi population, specifically: the number of children in their
sample approximates the percentage of children in the general
population. This data can be easily reconciled with the data from Al
Karama hospital on the supposition that a surge in male victims was
associated with the large-scale clashes between coalition and Iraqi
combatants that began occurring in the city around 3 April. But this
also entails assuming that some of these male combatants were mis-
classified as noncombatants.

Apart from the Baghdad data, a demographic skew towards males is also
evident in data on nearly 800 civilian casualties in the cities of
Karbala, Najaf, and Diwaniya collected by another NGO, the Campaign
for Innocent Victims in Conflict.(30) In this case, however, the skew
is not as pronounced as in the Al Karama hospital sample. (Males
represent approximately 60 percent of the casualties in the CIVIC
sample; 70 percent of the fatalities at Al Karama; and 30 percent of
the general population.) Unlike the survey by the Spanish NGO, the
work of CIVIC began after the cessation of hostilities. It sought to
fully represent the population of civilian casualties and its data
was not tied to a particular phase of the conflict (that is, either
the air campaign or the ground campaign).

Interestingly, the balance between women and children victims in the
CIVIC sample conforms to the ratio in Iraqi society as a whole. That
is: this particular numerical relationship meets demographic
expectations. The demographic anomaly is restricted to the balance
between men on one side and women and children on the other. Also
interesting is the fact that the difference in casualty numbers
between adult males and females is much more pronounced for younger
cohorts than for older ones. For instance: in the cohort of Iraqis
aged 20 to 29 years, males are four times more likely to have been
injured than females; in the 50- to 69-year-old cohort, males
outnumber females by approximately 2:1. Thus, the skew in the
casualty data concerns not only gender, but also age: younger males
are especially over-represented. These discrepancies can be easily
resolved on the assumption that some number of this sample were

As noted above, our method assumes that civilian casualties would not
exactly match Iraqi population demographics because both social
custom and the efforts of Iraqis to safeguard their families would
alter the risk factors among men, women, and children. Nonetheless,
the demographics of the CIVIC sample would more closely match a
reasonable expectation for a noncombatant population if it contained
only half as many males above the age of 14 years. If half the
sample's males are regarded as combatants, then those remaining would
be in a 3:4 ratio to women and children. This adjustment entails
regarding about 30 percent of the total original sample as

Combatants and noncombatants among the civilian dead in Baghdad

Extrapolating from the sample at Al Karama hospital, we treat as
combatants 44.4 percent of the entire category of 1,255 "probable
civilians" reported by hospital officials to the Knight Ridder team.
Thus, we regard 697 of these dead as noncombatants and 558 of them as
combatants. The factors applied to other categories of the dead are
pegged to this sample.

The difficulty of sorting out combatants and noncombatants among the
civilian dead also applies to the estimates made by burial societies
(600 dead) of undocumented graves (cited in the LA Times report) and
the larger estimate by the Red Crescent (1000 graves, which may
overlap with those reported by the burial societies). And it applies,
although to a lesser extent, to the more assured hospital reports of
civilian dead in both the Knight Ridder report and the other two
hospital surveys. In these cases, hospitals had made a "final
determination" of the status of the dead -- that is, death
certificates were issued -- or the reporters had examined the
original (often hand-written) hospital notes on the deceased. Still,
significant discounting is due.

Although the doctors' "final determination" of status might screen
some residual cases of mistakenly categorized military personnel, it
would not catch them all. Indeed, the Knight Ridder survey gives the
impression that the "final determination" was more a bureaucratic
step than an analytical one. And there is a more fundamental problem:
hospitals had no formal category for "civilian combatants," although
some doctors did note militia membership when this was obvious. The
principal distinction they drew was between civilians and military
personnel -- and this is not synonymous with the distinction between
noncombatants and combatants. As a matter of fact, some civilians --
such as security personnel, Fedayeen, Baath Party activists, and
police -- also acted as combatants.

For these reasons, we discount by 30 to 40 percent all the remaining
dead categorized assuredly as "civilian" by doctors in the hospital
surveys -- a category that comprises 1,621 dead. This assumes that
the "final determination" of the deceased's status by hospital
personnel only marginally improved on the example of Al Karama. Thus,
of the 1,621 dead categorized by hospitals as assuredly civilian, we
accept only between 973 and 1,135 as noncombatants. The remaining
dead in this category, which number between 486 and 648, we count as

Regarding the combined total for "civilian" and "probable civilian"
dead at Baghdad's hospitals -- a group comprising 2,876 people in
all: we count between 1,670 and 1,832 of these as noncombatants and
between 1,044 and 1,206 as combatants.

Turning to the other categories of dead in Baghdad:

The minimum of 500 assumed military dead in hospitals (which includes
the 260 dead recorded at Rashid military hospital) are all counted
toward our minimum estimate as combatants. The upper-end estimate of
1,200 uniformed military dead in all hospitals (including Rashid)
counts toward our upped-end combatant total.

The 50-100 graves at the international airport are all categorized as
The estimates made by the burial societies and the Red Crescent
warrant even greater care than the hospital records because the
officials quoted seemed less systematic and rigorous in categorizing
the dead. One technique that hospital personnel had used to clarify
the status of incoming casualties was to question them or their
associates while they were still alive. Burial society volunteers
obviously did not have this opportunity. Moreover, in some cases, a
distinct predominance of males among the undocumented dead is
evident.(31) Thus:
For our minimum estimate we divide the 950 graves that we accepted
from the Red Crescent and burial society totals into approximately
one-third noncombatant and two-thirds combatant -- that is: 320
noncombatants and 630 noncombatants.

As noted above, apart from the graves at the international airport,
we accepted 1,500 as the maximum number of undocumented graves in
order to take into account uniformed miliary found in such graves,
which the burial societies said outnumbered nominal civilians. The
difference between the maximum and minimum estimates -- 550 graves --
is also allocated approximately one-third to noncombatants and two-
thirds to combatants.
Our estimate of fatalities that may lie hidden beneath rubble, which
is a nominal figure, we divide equally between combatants and
The summary for all categories is present in Table 1. Based on these
assumptions and estimates our totals for the Baghdad war dead are:

 Total war dead: 4,376 - 5,726, with a mid-point of 5,051
 Combatants:  2,224 - 3,531, with a mid-point of 2,878
 Noncombatants: 1,990 - 2,357, with a mid-point of 2,174

The minimum number of fatalities actually recorded by Baghdad
hospital staff and burial society members is at least 3,786. The
portion of the estimate that exceeds this baseline should be treated
as a projection meant to cover obvious lapses in the surveys and
burial society records -- especially regarding uniformed military

Table 1. Estimated Baghdad War Fatalities Based on Hospital and
Burial Surveys
19 March - 20 April

Category Combatant Noncombatant Total
Nominal "civilian" dead
in Baghdad hospitals 1,044 - 1,206 1,670 - 1,832 2,876
Uniformed military dead at hospitals 500 - 1,200  500 - 1,200
The dead in ad hoc graves
at the international airport 50 - 100  50 - 100
The dead in ad hoc graves elsewhere 630 - 1,000 320 - 500 950 - 1,500

Unrecoverable dead  0 - 25 0-25 0 - 50
TOTALS 2,224 - 3,531 1,990 - 2,357 4,376 - 5,726

Note that the mid-point for the total war dead equals the sum of the
mid-points for combatant and noncombatant deaths. However, the
minimum figure for the total war dead does not equal the sum of the
minimums for combatants and noncombatants. Nor does the maximum for
the total war dead equal the sum of the maximums for combatants and
noncombatants. This is because the calculated values for combatant
dead and noncombatant dead are not entirely independent of each
other. In part, they would vary inversely. So, it is not possible for
both sub-components to register simultaneously at their minimums or
simultaneously at their maximums.

3.2. Noncombatant death toll outside Baghdad

3.2.1. Noncombatant death toll in Basra, Nasiriyah, Al Hilla, Najaf

Basra: 220-256 noncombatant fatalities

Relevant data points in the calculation of the noncombatant war dead
in Basra include the following:

The General Hospital in Basra reported 400 dead as of 7 April, the
"majority of them civilians."(32) The city's Teaching Hospital
reported 200 dead.(33) Together they reported almost 2,000 wounded.
(Basra has four large hospitals, three of them major surgical centers
of which the General and Teaching hospitals are two; all told the
city has 11 hospitals, small and large.)

The AP hospital survey found death certificates for 431 people in
Basra hospitals, with hospital personnel estimating that 85 percent
(or 365) of these were civilian. However, Basra hospitals did not
provide the AP reporters with daily records of the civilian-military
split, so none of the city's fatalities were counted in the AP's
nation-wide tally.

Basra ambulance drivers and hospital workers estimated handling
between 1000-2000 corpses prior to the conflict's end.(34) But this,
presumably, is an estimate based on interviews with just a partial
sample of the city's ambulance drivers and hospital workers.

Undocumented graves and unburied corpses were also a problem in
Basra, although news reports suggest that many of the bodies were
subsequently delivered to hospital morgues, which were not as
overwhelmed as those in Baghdad.(35) Thus, many of these dead may be
included in Basra hospital tallies.

Newspaper accounts of individual incidents of accidental civilian
death in Basra record more than 100 fatalities -- and these reports
are certainly only partial in their coverage.(36)
In an appendix to the present report we cite newspaper accounts and
official estimates suggesting that more than 450 Iraqi combatants
might have been killed in the immediate vicinity of Basra.
Considering these various data points it is likely that 700 or more
Iraqis were killed in and around Basra during the war, although
noncombatants would have been only a fraction of this total. And it
is plausible that 700 deaths (and perhaps 2,000 injuries) would have
been sufficient to create the impression among a subset of hospital
and ambulance workers that their cohort had handled between "1,000
and 2,000 corpses".
Of the 431 Basra deaths recorded in the AP survey, the hospitals
asserted that 85 percent were "civilians". Applying to this number
our 30-40 percent discounting rule yields an estimate of between 220
and 256 noncombatant civilians. This implies that there were between
175 and 211 combatants in the civilian hospital system.

Nasiriyah: 200-300 noncombatant deaths

The range of available estimates of the war dead in Nasiriyah makes
it difficult to produced an estimate that is both highly precise and
reliable. We have settled on an estimate of between 200 and 300
noncombatant dead. There are several relevant data points for this

There are four hospitals in the city. Near the war's official end the
Saddam (now "General") Hospital in Nasiriyah -- one of two large ones
in the city -- reported 713 dead.(37) Six hundred of these were
supposed to be war related. Because the hospital ran out of death
certificates, however, it issued only 412. An earlier report logged
250 civilians killed by aerial bombardment and artillery fire, which
had prepared the way for more intensive ground action.

Volunteer surveyors with the US-based Campaign for Innocent Victims
in Conflict (CIVIC) are investigating claims of more than 1,100
civilian casualties in the city. This is consistent with 250 to 350

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Associated Press survey
that counted only 145 civilian deaths. Notably, this estimate
incorporates only those hospital tallies that met its criteria of
inclusion: death certificates had to be issued and daily records that
distinguished military and civilian deaths had to be kept.

When fighting grew intense in the Nasiriyah area and one of the
city's hospitals came under attack, some of the area wounded were
transferred north to Al Hillah.
Our estimate of between 200 and 300 noncombatant dead allows that
there might have been more than 800 total war dead in the Nasiriyah
area. Given the fierce two-week battle for control of Nasiriyah -- a
city of 560,000 -- it should not be surprising if the toll for
combatants and noncombatants together surpassed this number.(38) The
battle was actually a series of close combat engagements and raids
punctuated with aerial and artillery bombardment. As summarized later
in this report, US commanders and embedded journalists estimate that
close combat produced between 360 and 430 Iraqi combatant dead in
Nasiriyah. There also would have been unobserved and uncounted
combatant dead in the area due to weeks of aerial attack. This makes
plausible a total death toll of 800 or more.
Notably, our estimate of civilian fatalities is higher than that
published in the AP study. We have assumed that the AP study
discounted some fatalities for formal reasons, as its methodology
allows. At minimum, all the dead in Nasiriyah lacking death
certificates at the time of the AP survey would have been
disregarded. And all hospital records that were not based on keeping
separate daily tallies of civilian and military fatalities would have
been excluded. Also excluded would have been the dead in undocumented

Al Hillah: 105-120 noncombatant deaths

The main hospital in Al Hillah reported 280 dead, including both
military and civilian.(39) Accounts of individual casualty incidents
included in the database that accompanies this memo record 48
civilian deaths for Al Hillah.(40) According to one journalist's
report, the total for the city up until 1 April was 73 civilian
deaths.(41) An International Red Cross worker who visited Al Hillah
at the beginning of April reported:

There has been an incredible number of casualties with very, very
serious wounds in the region of Hillah. ...We saw that a truck was
delivering dozens of totally dismembered dead bodies of women and
children. It was an awful sight. It was really very difficult to
believe this was happening.(42)
At least "dozens" of the dead and wounded in Al Hillah came from
elsewhere, however -- notably the vicinity of Nasiriyah.(43) (These
we count among the Nasiriyah dead.)
The period preceding the Red Cross worker's report saw several
bombing attacks on Al Hillah and the approach of the Third Division,
including a battle in nearby Imam Aiyub.(44) But combat in the area
continued intermittently for at least another week, culminating in
the 101st Airborne Division's entry into the city on 8 April, which
included artillery and helicopter attacks on military barracks,
outposts, and suspected Iraqi troop positions.(45)

Our estimate for Hillah assumes that approximately 20 percent of the
dead recorded at the Al Hillah hospital were uniform military, as
reported by the hospital's director.(46) Another 10-20 percent we
assume were transferred from elsewhere, as noted above. Of the
remainder we accept 60 percent as noncombatants. This implies between
105-120 local noncombatant deaths. The remainder we accept as non-
uniform combatants, which together with the military dead account for
125 to 130 combatant deaths in the hospital system.

Najaf: 176-205 noncombatant fatalities

Hospitals in Najaf have reported 338 war related fatalities -- a
large majority of these being civilians, according to the hospital
accounts.(47) The Associated Press review of Najaf hospital records
accepted 293 as civilian. Of this number, we accept between 176 and
205 as noncombatants. This implies a minimum of 133 to 176 combatant
deaths in the city's hospitals, although there were probably many
more of these unrecorded at hospitals. The Najaf area was the scene
of especially intense fighting during 24 March-27 March. Based on
reports by field commanders and embedded journalists we estimate in a
subsequent section of this report that there were between 590 and 780
combatant fatalities in the general vicinity of Najaf.

3.2.2 Noncombatant deaths elsewhere

An estimate of the minimum total noncombatant civilian dead in Basra,
Hillah, Najaf, and Nasiriyah that is consistent with the evidence
adduced above would be 700 to 880. These cities together with Baghdad
contain about 30 percent of Iraq's population. But the five do not
exhaust the war's killing grounds.

Aerial and artillery bombardment, major ground engagements, and
numerous smaller skirmishes also occurred in, around, or near
Halabja, Karbala, Kirkuk, Mosul, Samawah, Tikrit, and Umm Qasr --
among others. (The named cities contain more than 2 million people --
another nine percent of Iraq's population.) In the database
accompanying this memo are recorded 39 individual incidents resulting
in 650 civilian fatalities -- a very partial, somewhat random
accounting.(48) Eleven of these incidents occurred outside the areas
covered by the five city hospital data presented above. While
representing only a portion of the incidents not covered in the
hospital surveys, they do add a minimum of 272 deaths to the Iraqi
civilian toll -- and the great majority of these would have been
noncombatants, as it evident from the accounts. The Associated Press
survey provides a complementary and more comprehensive source of
statistics on the areas outside the five cities reviewed above. It
accepted 906 recorded deaths of civilians in these areas. Because of
the stringent criteria applied in the AP survey we accept between 60
and 70 percent of those it recorded as civilians to be noncombatants.
This is between 540 and 630 fatalities.

Many smaller and more remote hospitals were excluded from the AP
survey, however. A total of 94 hospitals and medical centers exist in
the governorates other than Baghdad that saw some significant
fighting.(49) The AP team surveyed about 36 of these, presumably the
largest and those reporting the highest casualty numbers. Although
this sample is not complete, it may cover 75 percent of the beds in
the relevant area and as much as 90 percent of the civilian hospital
deaths. On this basis, we add an increment of 11 percent to our upper-
range estimate of noncombatant fatalities outside Baghdad.

Another element of incompleteness has to do with deaths and burials
that occurred outside the hospital system. In Baghdad, we estimated
that approximately 20 percent of all noncombatant deaths were in this
category. There is evidence that in some cities (Basra) bodies
disinterred from undocumented graves by volunteers were cycled into
the hospital system, where they may have been counted among the
hospital dead. In areas more remote from hospitals, however, the
problem of undocumented burials may have been worse than in Baghdad.
To marginally compensate for this element of incompleteness in
hospital reports, we assume that the fatality estimates based on
hospital records outside Baghdad represent only 85 percent of the
noncombatant total, and we adjust our final estimate accordingly.

3.3. Total Iraqi noncombatant death toll

All told, the five cities reviewed above (including Baghdad), plus
the more cursory review of areas outside these cities, give evidence
consistent with total noncombatant deaths ranging between 3,230 and
4,327 through the end of April 2003.

Table 2. Iraqi Noncombatant fatalities, 2003 war
(adjusted total)

Baghdad: 1,990 - 2,357
Outside Baghdad: 1,240 - 1,510
Increment to outside Baghdad total
to compensate for survey incompleteness 0 - 165
Increment to outside Baghdad total
to compensate for undocumented burials 0 - 295
Total estimate of Iraqi noncombatant fatalities: 3,230 - 4,327

This estimate for civilian noncombatant fatalities can be rounded to
3,200 and 4,300, with a mid-point of 3,750. This can also be
expressed as "3,750 noncombatant fatalities plus/minus 550" or as
"3,750 noncombatant fatalities plus/minus 15 percent".

4. Iraqi combatant fatalities in the 2003 war

The surveys of hospital and burial data reviewed in the previous
section gave evidence consistent with 2,224 - 3,531 combatant deaths
in Baghdad and at least 1,000 - 1,280 elsewhere. However, these
figures are byproducts or "residuals" of an analysis focused
principally on determining civilian noncombatant casualties. Only in
Baghdad was the data from hospital and burial societies sufficiently
complete to support an estimation of total war dead, both combatant
and noncombatant. For areas outside Baghdad, the analysis in Section
3 did not draw on any burial society data, nor did it include any
data from explicitly military hospital and wards. Only in a handful
of hospitals did medical personnel or administrators explicitly
estimate the percentage of soldiers among the dead and wounded.

Most of the data examined in the previous section came from hospitals
concentrated in major towns and cities. Battles, however, often wove
in and out of urban areas. Iraqi regular army and Republican Guard
units, especially, were heavily engaged by coalition air power and
artillery in less populated areas. Although some of the Iraqi
combatant wounded would have entered local hospitals, others would
have been handled within the military hospital system. Many of the
dead would have been lost or buried in the field, especially if units
had hastily abandoned their posts. And field units dispatched their
dead whenever possible "for burial in their hometowns in private
vehicles that often passed through American lines undetected," as
revealed in a journalist's interview with an Iraqi battalion

For these reasons, the estimates of Iraqi combatant dead made in
Section 3 are not the final word on this class of casualties. In
order to more faithfully estimate fatalities among Iraqi combatants
both inside and outside Baghdad we extended our analysis in two ways:

First, by compiling and refining combat fatality estimates made by US
defense officials, Central Command staff, field commanders, and
embedded journalists. An especially important subset of this data
comprises estimates based on direct observation of combat engagements
and their aftermath. These usually originate with military commanders
below the division level, officers and enlisted personnel in small
units, and embedded journalists.

Second, by independently calculating likely Iraqi personnel attrition
due to artillery and aerial bombardment. This calculation is based on
munitions expenditure data, munitions effectiveness tables, and the
testimony of Iraqi military personnel who experienced the effects of
the coalition's long-range fire power.

Observations of combat and its after effects made by military
personnel and embedded journalists constitute an important empirical
anchor for enemy casualty estimates. However, not all combat
engagements and effects are well observed by those conducting them.
The fatalities caused by long-range air power, for instance, may be
largely unobserved by field personnel linked to the employing side.
Similarly, much of the fatal effect of artillery employed at longer-
ranges may be unobserved by those on the "right side" of the guns.

In order to capture in our final tally some of the "unobserved
effects" of combat we estimate the likely effects of artillery and
air power acting at some distance (in time, space, or both) from the
main body of coalition own troops. (This is done in Sections 4.2 and
4.3 below). Together, these two causes of death probably account for
a majority of the unobserved, unreported combatant fatalities. Of
course, some of the fatalities caused by long-range fire power would
have been seen and counted in the fatality estimates made by field
personnel and journalists. Our final estimate of total Iraqi
combatant fatalities incorporates assumptions about the extent of
this overlap. In accord with these assumptions we disregard a portion
of the predicted artillery and aerial bombing deaths as having been
"already counted."

Based on the analysis that follows we estimate that the 2003 Iraq war
produced between 7,600 and 10,800 Iraqi combatant fatalities. This
estimate range expressed in terms of its mid-point is 9,200
plus/minus 1600 (17 percent).

4.1. Reported field observation of Iraqi combatant deaths

Our adjusted totals for reported combatant fatalities are presented
below, organized in city-area clusters. (Also see Appendix 1. Survey
of reported Iraqi combatant fatalities in the 2003 War.)

The sources for these estimates are approximately 160 press reports
containing numerical estimates of Iraqi combatant fatalities made by
military personnel and embedded reporters.
These estimates are associated with approximately 69 discrete combat
events, both large and small. (A combat "event" -- that is, a
firefight, engagement, or battle -- is considered "discrete" if it
does not overlap with other combat events in the data pool.)
As a complement to those press reports that contained quantitative
data (ie. numerical estimates), we also drew on approximately 40
others that provided independent narrative detail or "qualitative"
data on combat engagements without offering numerical estimates.
Despite their lack of quantitative data, these narratives were useful
for gauging the intensity, duration, and effects of combat. And they
often provided a "check" on those reports that did offer numerical
In sum, the casualties totals presented below reflect our assessment
of 200 "snapshots" of 69 combat events.

Reported Iraqi Combatant Fatalities in the 2003 War
(adjusted to correct for casualty inflation)

Baghdad area 1,700 - 2,120
Basra area (including Rumaylah, Az Zubayr, Abu al Khasib, Safwan, Umm
Qasr, and Al Faw) 425 - 555
Nasiriyah area (including Tallil and areas to the north toward As
Samawah and Ashatrah) 360 - 430
Samawah area 150 - 210
Diwaniyah area and Afak 95 - 120
Najaf area 590 - 780
Al Hillah area including Kifl 295 - 365
Hindiyah area 40 - 50
Al Kut area (including Numaniyah) 190 - 225
Karbala, Karbala gap, and north to Baghdad
(including Mussayib and Latifiyah) 800 - 1,100
Northern Front (including Kirkuk, Mosul, Tikrit) 230 - 375
Special operations in western Iraq 20 - 40
Total observed and reported Iraqi combatant fatalities
-- Baghdad: 1,700 - 2,120
-- Outside Baghdad: 3,195 - 4,250 4,895 - 6,370

In assessing and "adjusting" the estimates offered by field observers
we have sought to control for casualty inflation -- a prevalent form
of bias. Our method for mitigating this bias is presented in Appendix
1. In brief, we settled on estimates that best reconciled multiple
types and sources of information relevant to each combat event.
Special weight was given to estimates made by military personnel and
embedded journalists at the brigade level or below. Our default
assumption was that the field estimates tended to exaggerate
fatalities by factors ranging from 25 percent to 250 percent, thus
requiring reduction ranging from 20 percent to 60 percent.(51) (This
assumption derived both from historical precedent and from several
instances in which multiple, divergent fatality estimates were made.)
For each of the casualty estimates coming from the field we chose
reduction percentages based on our assessment of the extent of
corroborating detail and convergence (or "agreement") among data

It is worth repeating that the reported estimates do not represent
total Iraqi combatant fatalities for the areas under review. As noted
above, field observations suffer from various degrees of
incompleteness. The problem of incompleteness is addressed in
subsequent sections of the report. Our final estimates for total
Iraqi combatant fatalities is calculated in Section 4.4.

4.2. Estimating the fatal effects of long-range artillery

Commensurate with the intensity and duration of ground combat, the
role of artillery in Operation Iraqi Freedom was substantial.(52) The
artillery of the 3rd US Infantry and 101st US airborne divisions
together with V Corps artillery assets fired more than 17,500 shells,
more than 1000 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) rockets, and 400
Army Tactical Missiles (ATACMS).(53) These units represent a large
majority of the US Army artillery assets in the field during the
period covered by this report. In addition, the Marine Corps claims
to have fired more than 20,000 artillery shells.(54) British forces
fired more than 2,000 rounds of improved conventional shells (cluster
bombs) and undoubtedly many more unitary shells. The British total
might easily have been in the range of 6,000 to 8,000 rounds, given
that the 75 howitzers they deployed for OIF constituted between 20
percent and 25 percent of the artillery at the disposal of coalition
forces.(55) This implies that the total quantity of big caliber
artillery shells and ground-based missiles used in the war
significantly exceeded 40,000. (By comparison, air-delivered
munitions numbered about 30,000. During the 1991 Gulf War, more than
227,000 air-delivered munitions and well-over 100,000 artillery
shells and surface-to-surface missiles and rockets were

Under a range of plausible assumptions, the amount and type of
artillery fire employed in Operation Iraqi Freedom is sufficient to
have caused between 1,500 and 3,000 combatant fatalities.(57) This
estimate assumes an expenditure of 45,000 big-caliber rounds and
surface-to-surface missiles. Based on this expenditure, the estimate
was calculated using artillery effectiveness tables for MLRS, 155-mm,
and 105-mm artillery. These tables roughly reflect historical
experience and field tests. The range of the estimate reflects
different assumptions about the size of the units attacked, their
degree of dispersion, their level of personnel strength, and their
environment or terrain (urban versus open). The estimate range also
reflects different assumptions about how much of the artillery effort
was "observed fire" versus "unobserved fire", how many improved
conventional munitions were used, and how much of the effort was
devoted to delivering purely suppressive fires. We also assume that
the performance of US personnel and equipment matched historical
precedent with regard to skill.(58)

Most of the fatal effects of artillery would be displaced in time and
space from the view of ground unit personnel and the embedded
reporters traveling with them. This is because artillery fire cuts a
broad swath of destruction in front of and around ground units as
they advance. Most coalition artillery systems have maximum ranges of
20 to 35 kilometers. Extended-range MLRS rockets can reach out to
more than 45 kilometers, however, and Army Tactical Missiles (ATACMS)
have ranges of 150 km to more than 300 km, depending on the model of
ATACMS used. Ground maneuver units would eventually move into some
but not all of the areas swept by artillery fire. Thus, some but not
all of artillery's fatal effects would be observed eventually. And
this means that there would be some overlap between the "observed
fatalities" estimated in the previous section and our calculated
estimate of artillery's fatal effects. Our final projection of total
Iraqi combatant casualties, which is calculated in Section 4.4,
employs a range of plausible estimates for the degree of overlap.

4.3 Estimating the fatal effects of long-range air power

In addition to providing support for the close battle, air power
served in several missions whose casualty effects would not have been
fully observed by field personnel and embedded journalists. For our
purposes we divide these "deep" air missions into two broad
categories: (i) air interdiction of ground forces and (ii) attack on
strategic, air supremacy, and "military system" targets.

Air interdiction of ground forces is distinguished from the close air
support mission by its focus on targets that are some distance from
one's own troops. Functionally, close air support missions help
decide the immediate battle, while air interdiction missions shape
the battlefield and help determine tomorrow's battle.

Turning to the second category -- strategic, air supremacy, and
"military system" targets:

Strategic targets encompass those that directly affect a nation's
will or its underlying capacity to wage war. They also include those
targets that affect the capacity of a nation's leaders to sustain
their rule and to govern. Finally they include a nation's capacity to
develop and employ strategic weapons -- that is: weapons of mass
Air supremacy targets include a nation's air defense system and its
air power assets (including air fields).
By military system targets we mean those that affect an enemy's
capacity to employ, sustain, and replenish its field force. These
include military infrastructure and supply systems (including bases,
barracks, and depots) as well as command, control, and communication
4.3.1. Air interdiction of ground units
In Operation Iraqi Freedom, coalition fighters and bombers flew about
20,700 sorties and struck more than 19,000 aim points, delivering
29,900 munitions of which 19,948 or 68 percent were of guided types
and 9,251 were unguided.(59) A reasonable assumption based on
campaign statistics is that interdiction of Iraqi ground units in the
field involved more than 12,000 of the aim points (or 60-plus
percent) and more than 20,000 of the expended bombs and missiles (or
67-plus percent of the total).(60) In this estimate, approximately 58
percent of the weapons used against the Iraqi army in the field would
have been of guided types.

Most of the effort against Iraqi ground troops was focused on
Republican Guard divisions and on a handful of stalwart regular
divisions that formed part of the defensive ring south of
Baghdad.(61) None of these divisions were at full strength, except
perhaps the Medina (which was reinforced by elements of other
divisions). All told, the Republican Guard plus several stalwart
regular divisions probably comprised 85,000 troops. Another 35,000
Iraqi troops in five or six regular divisions played some role in the
fight -- or, at least, came under attack before withdrawing -- in the
north and the southeast.(62) We assume that there were another 60,000
Iraqi troops in the field who played little role in the fighting and
drew relatively little coalition fire.

A look back at the 1991 air campaign

By contrast, in the 1991 Operation Desert Storm (ODS), coalition
fighters and bombers flew almost 60,000 sorties and conducted more
than 41,000 strikes of which more than two-thirds were directed
against ground force targets, including not just troops but also
their installations and depots.(63) Approximately 227,000 bombs and
missiles were expended by US fixed-wing aircraft during ODS and
14,825 of these were of guided types.(64)

The total percentage of weapons employed against ground force and
related targets was approximately 73 percent. All told, about 165,000
munitions were delivered against ground force and related targets in
Desert Storm; approximately 6,000 of these were precision weapons and
159,000 were unguided.(65)

The total number of Iraqi army personnel deployed in the theater of
operations was probably about 360,000 at the start of the air war --
an estimate that takes into account the fact that Iraqi divisions
were substantially under strength. The number further declined to
approximately 210,00 in the course of the air war as Iraqis deserted
their units. During the 1991 Gulf War, the personnel attrition for
Iraqi ground units that was attributable to the air war phase of the
conflict averaged 2.5 percent of the total deployed at the beginning
of the air campaign, according to interviews with senior Iraqi
officer POWs.(66)

Comparison of OIF and ODS air campaigns

One third as many fighter and bomber sorties were flown in OIF as in
ODS and only 13 percent as many air-delivered munitions were used.
However, the proportion of guided weapons was much higher -- 67
percent versus 6.5 percent; indeed, their absolute number was 35
percent greater. Commensurate with the increased number and
proportion of guided munitions employed in OIF, there were more
targets engaged per sortie than in ODS. And, presumably, these
engagements were much more effective -- also as a function of the
increased reliance on guided munitions. Thus, the reduced effort
implied by flying only one-third as many fighter and bomber sorties
does not imply a commensurate reduction in impact.

Turning specifically to a comparison of the two efforts against Iraqi
ground forces, several differences stand out:

Approximately 64 percent fewer air-delivered munitions were employed
per enemy soldier in OIF than in ODS. This corresponds to 165,000
munitions for 360,000 soldiers (0.46 per soldier) in Desert Storm and
20,000 for 120,000 (0.167 per soldier) in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Many more of the weapons used against ground troops in Operation
Iraqi Freedom were guided weapons: about 58 percent versus less than
4 percent in Desert Storm. In absolute terms: almost twice as many
precision or guided weapons were used against ground forces in OIF
than in ODS.

Although fewer munitions per active enemy soldier were used in OIF,
they were delivered in a much shorter time period than in Operation
Desert Storm: less than three weeks in OIF versus six weeks in ODS.
Still, the average intensity of attack on ground forces -- measured
as bombs dropped per soldier per day -- was somewhat less in the
recent war than in 1991: about 8.3 bombs per 1,000 soldiers every day
in OIF versus 10.7 bombs per 1,000 soldiers every day in ODS.(67)
However, as noted above, a much greater proportion of the munitions
delivered during OIF were of guided types.

Many more aerial cluster bombs were used in Operation Desert Storm
than in OIF -- both in absolute terms and in proportion to the total
number of weapons expended and the size of the force attacked. The
1991 Gulf War saw US air forces employ approximately 57,000 aerial
cluster bombs -- about 25 percent of all the aerial bombs and
missiles used in the war. By contrast, in Operation Iraqi Freedom
approximately 1,500 aerial cluster bombs were used by both US and
British air forces -- about 5 percent of all the aerial bombs and
missiles employed by the Anglo-American coalition.(68) In Desert
Storm, one cluster bomb was dropped for every six Iraqi soldiers in
the field; in OIF, one was dropped for every 80 Iraqis who fought (or
one for every 120 or so who spent some time in the field). Notably,
in ODS none of the aerial cluster bombs were guided, while in OIF
approximately 80 percent were guided.
Guided munitions, cluster bombs, and unit attrition
The use of fewer bombs per soldier -- especially fewer cluster
munitions -- would seem to entail a lower casualty rate. Increasing
the proportion of guided munitions also has been linked, at least in
public consciousness, with lower casualty rates. Of course, what the
reliance on guided munitions actually conveys is an ability to strike
one's chosen target and achieve one's intended affect using fewer
bombs. Whether or not this produces fewer casualties depends on one's
target and intent. For instance, if the aim is to destroy convoys,
interdict unit redeployments, or blunt the capacity for infantry
attack, then the use of guided weapons would produce a higher
casualty rate per bomb than would reliance on unguided weapons.

With regard to cluster munitions, which are area weapons that spread
bomblets over an area of 10 to 18 acres: more accurate delivery would
probably mean a higher casualty rate among the personnel of the
targeted unit. Moreover, if an army is relatively well dispersed in
smaller units (company size or smaller), increased reliance on guided
delivery of cluster bombs probably means a higher casualty percentage

By some estimates, the use of advanced guided weapons allows the user
to reduce munitions expenditures by a factor of between 15 and 60.
Relevant to OIF, we accept 25:1 as a conservative mid-point estimate
for the reduction in bomb expenditure allowed by using a mix of PGMs
instead of unguided munitions.(69) Thus, it should not be surprising
if US air power was able to achieve levels of Iraqi unit destruction
in OIF surpassing those achieved in Desert Storm,despite the use of
much less ordnance. At the same time, the level of personnel
attrition might be lower if more of the air effort is focused on
destroying individual pieces of equipment, rather than units or troop
concentrations. But this also depends on Iraqi personnel learning
quickly enough to gauge and put "safe distance" between themselves
and their equipment. Relevant to this is the relative lack of a "ramp-
up" period in the OIF air campaign -- that is, a period during which
the intensity of air attacks increased gradually.

Intensity of attack: 1991 versus 2003

In one sense the intensity of the bombing campaign was lower in OIF
than in ODS: fewer bombs were dropped per soldier per day. Of course,
a truer measure of intensity would look at effects on the ground --
specifically, lethality -- and this would require taking the
proportion of precision and guided weapons into account. Moreover,
the variance in bombs dropped per day was greater in ODS than in OIF.
Desert Storm was distinguished by a long initial period during which
air attack on ground forces gradually intensified.

During the first two weeks of Operation Desert Storm, the intensity
of attacks on ground units was significantly below the average for
the war. Indeed, the attacks did not reach peak intensities until the
fourth week of the campaign. This was sufficient time for those Iraqi
troops under attack to learn to steer clear of their vehicles and
weapon systems, and it was sufficient time for the lesson to
generalize throughout the Iraqi field army. Also relevant was the
fact that Iraqi units were already well dug-in and dispersed when the
1991 air campaign began, having begun their field deployment as much
as five months earlier. These factors helped keep the unit personnel
attrition rate low, despite six weeks of bombardment.

By contrast, in 2003, there were no clear signs of Iraqi military
field deployments or preparations prior to mid February -- just a few
weeks before fighting began.(70) Once the war commenced, US attacks
on Iraqi ground units rapidly intensified, reaching and surpassing
their average level in less than a week. This gave units little time
to adapt. A greater percentage of units might have had to learn "the
hard way" to put sufficient distance between themselves and their

An analysis in Air Force Magazine concludes that the rapid
application of air power was key to the sudden collapse of Republican
Guard divisions:(71)

Because the Republican Guard divisions did not capitulate, coalition
air power hammered them from the beginning of the air war, first with
precision strikes against a small number of key targets and later
with crushing blows from B-52 heavy bombers dropping both unguided
iron bombs and precision weapons. That was a shift from Desert Storm,
when those units came in for heavy bombing only after other target
sets had been worked over. By early April -- after barely two weeks
of combat -- [Combined air component commander Lt. General Michael
Moseley] was able to report, "The preponderance of the Republican
Guard divisions that were outside of Baghdad are now dead."

Iraqi Rate of Desertion

Desertion rates -- which were higher in the 2003 war than in 1991 --
are a factor that might have helped keep Iraqi personnel attrition to
percentages below those registered in 1991. In the 1991 Gulf War, the
greatest personnel loss to units was due to desertion: 42 percent of
personnel simply left their posts.(72) During the 2003 war, both the
level and rate of desertion seemed even higher, reaching 90 percent
in some units by early April. Mass desertion by enlisted personnel
was often precipitated by or even led by the desertion of
officers.(73) Nonetheless, for many units, collapse seemed to be
preceded by a period of their holding fast in defensive positions,
attempting some substantial counter-offensive actions, and undergoing
withering coalition aerial and artillery assaults. The tipping point
for the field army came at the end of the war's second week.

To summarize and compare the dynamics in the two wars: In 1991, a
gradual increase in the intensity of air attack over a four week
period was matched by Iraqi ground force adaptation and a slowly
mounting wave of desertions. In the 2003, intense air attacks on
ground troops came early, allowing little effective adaptation by
ground troops, thus contributing to the catastrophic collapse of the
ground force after only two weeks.

Unit Personnel Attrition: Evidence from the field

How did Iraqi field units fare under air attack in terms of
casualties? The available direct evidence -- mostly from journalists'
interviews and surveys of battlefields, hospitals, and cemeteries --
is contradictory at first glance, pointing variously to attrition
rates both high and low.

One survey of seven battlefields, local hospitals and cemeteries,
eyewitness testimony, and interviews with surviving Republican Guard
personnel suggests a low number of casualties for a fair cross
section of the force -- consistent with a fatality rate of less than
one percent.(74)

Other sources suggest much higher rates:(75)

One distraught Iraqi battalion commander from a division deployed on
the eastern side of Baghdad reported that one-third of his unit was
killed by air attacks between 31 March and 3 April. All told, 1,400
out of 4,000 men in his parent brigade were supposedly killed.
However, this number may be a face-saving exaggeration.

Another account, from a conscript serving with a 2,000 person unit of
the Republican Guard defending Kut, reported more than 150 deaths in
a few days of bombardment -- 7.5 percent attrition.

A third account by a captain commanding a missile artillery unit
reported the loss of six percent of unit personnel in a single

A commander of an air defense unit to the east of Baghdad reported 10
percent fatalities: 25 dead out of a unit of 250.

A private with a gun artillery battalion on the outskirts of Baghdad
reported 5 percent fatalities.
In several of these cases, most of the fatalities were suffered in a
single devastating attack.
The differing accounts and observations regarding personnel attrition
can be reconciled by understanding that the experience of ground
units under attack would vary greatly.

Air defense and artillery units would have been subjected to
especially heavy attack by cluster bombs;

Several Iraqi divisions were singled out for intense bombardment --
notably the Medina and Baghdad Republican Guard divisions -- both
because of their pivotal position, blocking the approach to Baghdad,
and as a demonstration to other Iraqi units;(76) and

Whenever Iraqi units attempted to move -- especially in convoy --
they made themselves exceedingly vulnerable to efficient air attack
and, thus, ran the risk of high casualties.
Especially costly in lives was the redeployment of the Hammurabi,
Nebuchadnezzar, and Al Nida divisions after 25 March to the south of
Baghdad toward Karbala, Hillah, and Al Kut.(77) Road movements were
steadily bombed by A-10s, British Tornados, and B-52s (dropping 500-
pound bombs).(78) In light of this, one US military official
confidently predicted that "reports of large formations end up in
large numbers of dead enemies."(79) This was confirmed by an Iraqi
commander who concluded that the movement south had been one of the
regime's major errors: "While they were moving, the Republican Guard
were a target for American fighter planes and they lost a lot of
men."(80) (By contrast, the movement of units from northern Iraq to
the vicinity of Baghdad was reported to have incurred relatively few
Calculating Iraqi combatant fatalities due to air interdiction

A hypothesis consistent with all the reports is that a small portion
of Iraqi units (perhaps 5 percent) suffered attrition rates of more
than 10 percent. A larger segment of the force (perhaps 15 percent)
might have suffered rates ranging between 1 percent and 10 percent.
This 20 percent of severely degraded units would have comprised (i)
major elements of the Medina and Baghdad divisions, (ii) some of
those units that had attempted to redeploy south of Baghdad, and
(iii) air defense and artillery units across the force.

The remainder of the force -- fully 80 percent of the units or more --
 would have suffered rates of less than one percent, which would be
consistent with the Time survey. This could produce an overall
personnel loss of between 1.4 and 1.8 percent which, for a force of
120,000, would imply between 1,700 and 2,200 fatalities. This
requires taking the Iraqi major's report as substantially exaggerated
(at least with regard to his parent brigade). However, the hypothesis
would allow that more than half of the Iraqi troop deaths were
concentrated in a handful of very unlucky (or very heroic) brigades
and battalions. The rest would have learned -- as the coalition
intended -- that it was better to quit than fight.

The hypothesis also allows that unit personnel attrition was
proportionately lower in OIF than in ODS -- perhaps 1.6 percent on
average versus 2.5 percent -- but that the attrition rate (percentage
of personnel killed over time) was higher: 1.6 percent achieved in
less than three weeks versus 2.5 percent achieved in six. This higher
attrition rate -- 0.53 percent per week vs 0.41 -- could be
attributed either to the increased reliance on precision munitions,
the lack of a ramp-up period in the bombing campaign, or both. The
greatest restraint on the level of unit personnel attrition would
have been the high level of desertion, which rapidly depleted units
after two weeks.

Most important to understanding the contribution of ground force
interdiction to the early, catastrophic collapse of the Iraqi field
army is that these air attacks, concentrated in the second week of
the war, may have cost the Iraqis 1 percent of their active fighters -
- that is, 1,200 -- over a period of seven days beginning just one
week into the war. Nothing like this happened early in Desert Storm.
Moreover, with the attacks heavily focused on a minority of Iraqi
units, they would have produced (and did produce) localized
experiences of sudden and great devastation. This would have
communicated throughout the force, both by word and by the fact of
some units beginning to take flight, and could have had a cascading

Not counted above is the 22 March bombardment of Ansar al-Islam camp
in Kurdish-held territory, which supposedly killed between 60 and 100
militants. Other major air attacks included the 29 March bombardment
of a meeting of 200 Hussein supporters in Basra and a reported 4-5
April attack on Arab volunteer camps outside Kut, which was said to
claim as many as another 600. The Basra attack has been included in
the section on combined armed engagements. There are few details
regarding the alleged attack near Kut, so none of the reported
fatalities are included here. We accept 30 to 50 fatalities for the
22 March Ansar attack and add these to the totals for combatant
fatalities due to air attacks outside major cities. This brings our
estimate for air interdiction of field units to between 1,730 and
2,250 fatalities.

4.3.2. The attack on strategic, air supremacy, and "military system"

During Operation Iraqi Freedom these target sets may have comprised
as many as 900 individual targets or target areas.(81) These targets
were struck with approximately 4,000 air-delivered weapons.(82) By
comparison, in the 1990-1991 Gulf war, the US coalition attacked
about 2,000 targets in these sets using between 8,000 and 9,000
weapons.(83) In Appendix 2, which addresses the 1990-1991 Gulf War,
we conclude that a reasonable estimate of the Iraqi fatalities
resulting from attacks on these targets during that earlier conflict
is 3,000 to 6,000 personnel. A straight-forward extrapolation from
this experience to Operation Iraqi Freedom would imply a casualty
toll about 45 percent as high, assuming that numbers of casualties
vary directly with the numbers of targets and munitions employed.
However, the number of Iraqi combatant casualties incurred by these
types of attack in OIF is probably much less than such an
extrapolation would imply, for several reasons:

First, a significant percentage of the larger targets in these sets
were in urban areas. Air war executors usually took pains to attack
fixed targets in urban areas at times when collateral casualties
would be minimized. This often meant attacking at night -- when some
of the targets would have been nearly empty.

Second, the targets often seemed vacated, at any rate. This might
indicate that the Iraqi leadership had learned something about the US
mode of strategic attack from observing America's previous three
wars. Or, Iraqi leaders may have paid attention when US defense
officials virtually telegraphed the broad outlines of their bombing
priorities in advance of the war. The Iraqi leadership and armed
forces adapted in other ways as well: the Iraqi air force was
dispersed and Iraqi air defense units used their radars sparingly or
not at all in recognition that they would draw fire. Finally, the US
list of WMD targets, refined assiduously during the years of weapon
inspections, also probably led to numerous attacks on facilities that
had been long abandoned.

These considerations lead us to conclude that the fatality rate
associated with these types of missions was much lower during the
recent Iraq war than during the 1990-1991 Gulf War. We accept an
estimate of between 450 and 900 fatalities due to attacks on these
target sets. This implies a fatality rate per target that is
approximately one-third as great as the one calculated for the 1990-
1991 Gulf war. A significant proportion of these casualties would
have been civilians -- many of whom would have likely been counted in
the hospital surveys examined earlier. Thus, for Iraqi military
casualties in these attack we adopt an estimate of between 250 and
500 fatalities. Further we assume that none of these casualties would
have been counted among those observed and reported by US field
commanders or embedded journalists.

4.4 Total Iraqi combatant fatalities

>From previous sections we carry forward the following inputs to the
calculation of total Iraqi combatant fatalities:

 1. Reported combatant deaths in Baghdad
(based on field observations, corrected for inflation)  1,700 - 2,120

 2. Reported combatant deaths outside Baghdad
(based on field observations, corrected for inflation) 3,195 - 4,250

 3. Combatant deaths due to artillery fire 1,500 - 3,000
 4. Combatant deaths due to air interdiction of ground units 1,730 -
 5. Combatant deaths due to attack on strategic and related targets
250 - 500

The last three inputs are independent of each other, but there is
significant overlap between this subset and the first two sources,
which include in their numbers the observed portion of artillery and
air interdiction fatalities.

Our final estimate of total Iraqi combatant fatalities will comprise
several sub-components:

Fatalities due to longer-range artillery,
Fatalities due to air interdiction of ground troops,
Fatalities due to air attack on strategic and related targets, and
Fatalities incurred during close, combined arms combat.
The values for the first three categories carry forward from the
preceding table. Calculating the value for the final category --
close combined arms combat -- is more complex. This category covers
the effects of direct fire weapons (ranging from small arms to tank
main guns), short-range indirect fire weapons (mortars), and combat
aircraft and helicopters providing close support for ground troops.
Its numerical value derives from the total for observed combatant
deaths (#1 and #2 in the preceding table), but the two values are not
identical. This, for several reasons:
First, as noted above, some portion of observed combatant deaths are
due to long-range artillery and air interdiction and, thus, are
already counted under those categories. They cannot also be counted
under close combat deaths.
Second, some portion of observed fatalities would have been civilian
noncombatants that were mistaken for combatants. These would have
been already counted in the total for noncombatants.
Finally, some percentage of Iraqi close combat fatalities would have
been unobserved. As in the case of deaths due to longer-range
artillery and air interdiction, the observation of close combat
fatalities would have been incomplete.
To address these concerns we assume that:
Between 30 and 40 percent of all combatant deaths due to air
interdiction attacks were included in the fatality estimates made by
field observers, and
Between 40 and 60 percent of all combatant deaths due to longer-range
artillery were included in the fatality estimates made by field
These percentage ranges produce maximum and minimum values for the
observed effects of artillery and air interdiction that are at the
limits of what seems plausible in light of field reports by military
observers and journalists.(84) They provide a guide for subtracting
artillery and air interdiction effects from the observed fatalities
category and moving us closer to an accounting of close combat
To address the concern about mis-identified civilians we also assume

Between 8 and 12 percent of the deaths that field observers reported
as combatants were actually noncombatant civilians mistakenly
identified. These fatalities would have been included in the
noncombatant totals calculated separately in Section 3 and, thus,
must be excluded here. This percentage range is extrapolated from
reports by embedded journalists of combat incidents in which
civilians were mistakenly targeted, killed, or injured.
Based on the above we can disaggregate the total for observed Iraqi
combatant fatalities (4,895-6,370) as follows:(85)

 Observed close combat fatalities (including close air support):
 Observed fatal effects of longer-range artillery: 600-1,800
 Observed fatal effects of air interdiction: 519-900
 Noncombatants mistakenly reported as combatant fatalities:  390-765

Notably, this matrix excludes the possibility of all the sub-
components registering simultaneously at their maximum or at their
minimum values. This is because some of the estimates are dependent
on others and in an inverse relationship -- ie. as some rise, others
must fall. For instance, the minimum value for observed close combat
fatalities (1,608) assumes (i) the minimum value for total observed
fatalities (4,895), (ii) the highest percentage of mistakenly
identified civilians (12 percent or 587), and (iii) the maximum
values for observed fatalities due to artillery and air interdiction
(1,800 and 900 respectively).

As a final step in deriving a range for actual close combat
fatalities, we postulate that:

Estimates of Iraqi combatant fatalities made by field observers and
included in our database probably missed between 25 and 35 percent of
the combatant deaths caused by direct fire weapons, short-range
indirect fire weapons, and close air support. Thus, to close the gap
between observed and actual close combat deaths, the range of values
must be boosted by between 33 and 54 percent.(86)
The 25-35 percent shortfall reflects two elements of incompleteness
in our tally:
The first is the incompleteness of our pool of combat incidents,
which we concluded (in Appendix 1) might have missed 10 to 15 percent
of all incidents (weighted by number of casualties). Especially
notable were lapses in reporting on operations in northern Iraq,
Marine Corps operations in Baghdad, and special forces operations
The second element of incompleteness concerns unobserved close combat
deaths. This pertains even to those incidents included in our
database. Neither military personnel nor embedded reporters could
have observed all the effects or after-effects of close combat. This,
because many of the weapon systems in use had ranges of several
kilometers and were sufficiently energetic to collapse buildings and
pierce armor and concrete at range.(87) Primae facie, it is plausible
that at least 15 to 20 percent of close combat fatalities went
unobserved by personnel or journalists "on the scene."
The inputs and assumptions noted above now allow us to fully define
the components of the estimated Iraqi combatant death toll:

Deaths in close combat (direct fire weapons, short-range indirect
and close air support)(88) 2,140 - 7,300
Fatalities due to longer-range artillery 1,500 - 3,000
Fatalities due to air interdiction of ground troops 1,730 - 2,250
Fatalities due to air attack on strategic and related targets 250 -

Again, the inter-relation among these components does not allow all
the components to register simultaneously at their maximum values or
at their minimum values. Notably, low numbers for close combat deaths
tend to be associated with high numbers for fatalities due to
artillery and air interdiction.(89) The fatality sub-estimates can
generate final totals that range from slightly below 7,600 to
slightly above 11,000, although the extremes represent unlikely
cases. Using mid-point values for the inputs and assumptions that
undergird the array produces an Iraqi combatant death toll of
approximately 9,200. Adopting a confidence margin of about 17.5
percent (or 1600) captures almost the full range of casualty totals
consistent with the sub-estimates. Thus, our conclusion:

The Iraqi combatant fatality total that most reasonably reflects the
existing evidence is 9,200 dead plus/minus 1,600 (or plus/minus 17.5

5. Total Iraqi fatalities in the 2003 war

Adding together our estimates of Iraqi noncombatant fatalities (3,750
plus/minus 550) and combatant fatalities (9,200 plus/minus 1,600)
yields our estimate for total Iraqi fatalities in the war: 12,950
plus or minus 2,150 (16.5 percent). Rounding this off, our analysis
suggests that as few as 11,000 Iraqis may have been killed in the war
or as many as 15,000. It is likely that approximately 30 percent of
the fatalities were noncombatants -- that is: civilians who did not
take up arms.

The strength of this estimate is that it integrates and reconciles
multiple sources of information with regard to both military and
civilian, combatant and noncombatant causalities. Specifically, it:

Accords with available hospital and burial records, taking into
account their incompleteness and the problem of distinguishing
combatant and noncombatant civilians;

Encompasses battlefield estimates made by US commanders and embedded
journalists, while correcting for both "casualty inflation" and

Takes into consideration a large sample of well-reported individual
incidents of civilian casualties -- while guarding against double
counting; and

Makes reasonable assumptions about the effect of artillery and aerial
bombardment on Iraqi field units, while reconciling these with both
the testimony of Iraqi soldiers and a journalistic survey of seven
There are several other Iraqi fatality counts against which our
estimates can be assessed. One is from the Najaf cemetery; the other,
A report from Najaf cemetery at the war's end suggest as many as
2,000 excess burials due to the conflict.(90) This represents a 400
percent increase in burials compared to the same period last year.
Other Najaf cemetery reports suggest a smaller percentage increase:
150 percent. The cemetery, which covers more than four square miles
and contains more than 2 million graves, is the largest in the Muslim
world and it is the preferred burial place for Shiites everywhere,
due to its association with the tomb of Ali bin Abi Talib, Mohammed's
son-in-law, who gave birth to Shiism.

Depending on the accuracy and completeness of the cemetery reports,
the postwar influx of dead to Najaf could imply between 4,000 and
10,000 total war fatalities in the Iraqi Shiite community alone. Our
own estimate of Iraqi war dead can accommodate between 4,000 and
8,000 deaths in the Shiite community, but probably not more. Thus,
although there is substantial overlap between the two projections,
the evidence from Najaf may favor a mid-point for total fatalities
that is somewhat higher than our own.

The most widely known tally of reported Iraqi civilian fatalities is
that conducted by  Its total for civilian
fatalities during the period covered by our report is approximately
5,450 - 7,100, with a mid-point of about 6,275. The sources, methods,
and goals of the Bodycount study differ from ours in several
respects. Bodycount sought to integrate hospital and other fatality
surveys with numerous press reports of individual casualty incidents.
By contrast, our approach regarding noncombatants was to extrapolate
(or project) a fatality total for the nation based mainly on the
press surveys of hospital and burial records. Although we drew on our
own database of selected, individual civilian casualty incidents to
guide this extrapolation, we did not -- by and large -- attempt to
directly integrate casualty numbers from individual incidents as
reported in the press.(92) This, because we judged the problem of
double-counting between the two data sources to be largely
unresolvable. In a few localities, however, the data from individual
incidents was helpful in setting lower limits for our estimates. In
our overall assessment, we concluded that the hospital and burial
data was sufficiently strong and extensive to form the basis for an
extrapolation that would capture all civilian fatalities.

Another difference between our effort and Bodycount's is that our
specific claim regards the probable number of fatalities among
noncombatant civilians -- not simply civilians. In this sense, there
is no direct comparison between our estimate and Bodycount's tally.
However, if we take into account our average reduction factor for
screening combatants -- which is about 38 percent -- the two tallies
can be brought roughly into accord.

6. Casualty comparison: Iraqi Freedom and Desert Storm

Complicating any attempt to compare operations Iraqi Freedom and
Desert Storm with regard to casualties are the disagreements that
surround the estimation of casualties in the 1991 Gulf War. Here, we
accept the view that more than 3,500 Iraqi civilians and probably
more than 20,000 Iraqi military personnel were killed. (More
specifically, we estimate that there were between 20,000 and 26,000
Iraqi military fatalities in the first Gulf War. See Appendix 2.
Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant Fatalities in the 1991 Gulf War) The
Iraqi fatality figure for the 1991 war does not include postwar
deaths due to the destruction of the Iraqi infrastructure (which had
a devastating public health impact) or those associated with the
postwar anti-regime uprisings in the north and south.(93)

Looking at only the casualties incurred during the two wars, several
points of comparison are evident:

The casualties imposed on Iraq by Operation Iraqi Freedom were only
50 percent those of Desert Storm. Using mid-point numbers:
approximately 13,000 fatalities in OIF versus approximately 26,500.
However, these were imposed in a much shorter period of time: about
25 days versus 42.

The portion of war fatalities that were civilian noncombatants may
have been twice as great in OIF as in ODS: almost 30 percent in OIF
versus almost 15 percent in Desert Storm;

In accord with this, the total number of Iraqi civilian noncombatants
killed in OIF was remarkably close to the number killed in ODS and
may have exceeded it. (Some estimates put the civilian toll of ODS
lower than we do: in the range of 2,500-3,000 killed.)
Comparing the likely noncombatant toll of Operation Iraqi Freedom
with that incurred by Desert Storm should put to rest any simplistic
equation of America's new wars with a reduction in civilian
casualties. Neither the predominance of precision munitions in this
war (comprising 68 percent of the total of air-delivered munitions
versus only 6.5 percent in ODS) nor the overall reduction in the
number of air delivered munitions (29,900 in OIF versus 227,000 in
ODS) could guarantee a substantial reduction in civilian fatalities
relative to the 1991 war.
The rough equivalence in civilian fatalities between America's two
wars with Iraq does not indicate the failure of precision weapons,
however. One might alternately equate this outcome with the increased
role of ground power (as will be illustrated below). But this would
not really get at the heart of the matter, either. It is only an
epiphenomenon. At heart, the recent war with Iraq killed as many
civilians as the last one, 12 years ago, despite substantial advances
in US precision attack capabilities because the war's objective --
regime change -- was far more ambitious strategically.

Regime change is not the type of outcome easily won by air power
alone. Regimes may be willing to surrender a stolen property (Kuwait)
or even one of their own provinces (Kosovo) in order to gain relief
from bombardment. But suicide is not the type of quid pro quo that
regimes are normally willing to contemplate. Thus, usually, regime
change must be imposed in detail -- and then similarly enforced.

In the 2003 war, "regime change" required an engagement with Iraqi
power that was more thorough and unrelenting than was the case in the
first Gulf War. In 2003, America's armed forces had to do much more
than dislodge Iraqi forces from Kuwait. They had to pursue Iraqi
power to where it lived, flush it out, and then destroy, corral, or
disperse it. This entailed more fighting in and around urban centers
because these were also hubs of political power. And it implied
getting in among the Iraqi people. Although intensive urban warfare
was not required, coalition forces did have to close on key cities,
gain control of vital assets and lines of communication, conduct
repeated raids on centers of power throughout the country, chase down
leadership personnel, and attrite or threaten the regime's military
capabilities wherever they resided.

The type of tasks associated with forceful regime change bring ground
forces to the fore. This is because they are able to closely and
flexibly articulate with their object. A single US army or marine
division is able to surveil, deter, coerce, or independently engage
thousands of "targets" simultaneously, ranging in size down to a
single individual. "Engagement" comprises a wide range of actions,
only some of which are violent. Those that are violent constitute a
very broad spectrum in their own right, ranging from a single rifle
shot to a torrent of fire and armor. Also, the actions of a ground
division can be modulated in minute detail, its various components
adapting continuously to changes in their immediate circumstances.

One clear indication of the increased role of ground power in OIF is
the number of days that ground units conducted combat operations
multiplied by the number of ground units involved. We call the
resulting measure "equivalent brigade-days of ground combat."
Operation Desert Storm involved less than 150 equivalent brigade days
of ground combat. Operation Iraqi Freedom involved more than 400
(through 15 April).

Although there were no distinct phases of "air" and "ground" warfare
in the recent conflict, there were distinguishable waves, one
following closely on the other. Air power marched to Baghdad ahead of
ground power and it rolled over Iraqi army units before coalition
ground forces attempted to engage them decisively. Subsequently,
coalition ground units (with air units in close support) imposed the
coalition's war objectives on Iraq. Notably, there was a significant
surge in casualties associated with this second wave -- the ground or
"air-ground" wave -- which filled Iraqi hospitals as it moved. This,
for several reasons:

First, the advance of coalition ground units decisively and
comprehensively challenged Iraqi forces in ways that air power alone
never could. This prompted intense, two-sided combat on the ground
Second, ground units are relatively vulnerable to detailed counter-
attack. This, too, prompted Iraqis to take the tactical offensive
when and where they thought they could.
Third, relative to air assets, ground units tend to defend themselves
more by firepower than by speed, stealth, or distance. When under
extreme tactical threat -- a common circumstance -- ground units
often respond ferociously. This is a function both of their
vulnerability and their immersion in a sea of deadly threat.
The fact that OIF consumed as many Iraqi noncombatant lives as had
the 1991 Gulf War, and the fact that the ratio of noncombatant to
combatant deaths actually increased, cannot be simply attributed to
the increased role of ground forces. Instead, these outcomes are due
to the objective for which the war was fought: regime change. This
dictated a much greater role (relatively speaking) for ground power
and for combined arms warfare. And it dictated fighting in and near
cities. It also set the most demanding goal possible for ground
forces and cast them into a conflict where the adversary's resistance
was bound to be desperate.
7. Conclusion: Iraqi War Fatalities and the Paradox of the "New

Among the costs that must be taken into account when assessing the
Iraq war is the probable death of approximately 11,000 to 15,000
Iraqis, including approximately 3,200 to 4,300 civilian
noncombatants. These costs weigh on the relationship between the
United States and other nations -- especially those in the region --
and they affect the postwar challenge that the United States faces in
Iraq. The blood cost of the war influences international public
opinion regarding the United States -- especially opinion in the Arab
and Muslim worlds -- which presently hovers at a 25-year nadir. And
this pertains to America's efforts to stem extremism and build
cooperation in fighting terrorism.

More generally, the casualty costs of Operation Iraqi Freedom are
relevant in assessing the notion of a "new warfare", which has helped
shape recent American debates about the utility of war. One premise
of the "new warfare" hypothesis is that precision technologies and
new warfighting techniques now allow the United States to wage war
while incurring dramatically fewer casualties -- especially civilian
casualties. Although Operation Iraqi Freedom was supposed to
exemplify the new warfare, it provides no unambiguous support for the
hypothesis regarding civilian casualties.

What about the trend in combatant fatalities? In absolute terms, US,
British, and Iraqi combatant fatalities were substantially fewer in
the 2003 war than in the first Gulf War. Iraqi fatalities in 2003
were perhaps only 37 percent as numerous; US and British fatalities,
48 percent as numerous. Yet, measured against the numbers of troops
engaged on both sides during the two wars, casualty rates were
actually higher in 2003 for all concerned. Looking at both wars, the
only truly singular feature of the casualty equation is the low ratio
of US-British combatant deaths to Iraqi combatant deaths -- a
phenomenon evident in both wars, but more so in 1991. Apart from
this, both wars register in terms of civilian fatalities and total
fatalities within the range of many strategically significant wars of
the past 40 years. Judged purely in terms of casualties (other than
US and British), they do not stand out as unambiguously

Another way to assess the costs of OIF is in terms of its goals,
which were significantly more ambitious than those of Operation
Desert Storm. Generally speaking, the operational challenges posed by
regime removal are greater than those posed during the 1991 Gulf War,
when the goal was merely to eject the Iraqis from Kuwait and reduce
their capacity for aggression. In this view, the power and promise of
the new warfare is evident in having achieved so much more in the
2003 war than in the 1991 war, while incurring a comparable or lower
cost in lives.

If this type of accounting is to be accurate, however, we need also
recognize that Iraqi power in 2003 was not remotely comparable to
Iraqi power in 1990. Qualitatively, Iraqi units had lost perhaps 30
to 50 percent of their capability per unit since 1990.
Quantitatively, Iraq fielded a fighting force in 2003 only half as
large as its 1991 force. This steep decline in Iraqi power partly
reflected the effects of the first Gulf War and partly the effects of
the sanctions that followed. Both contributed significantly to making
Operation Iraqi Freedom practicable.(95)

A true cost-benefit comparison of OIF and ODS might add the human
cost of sanctions to the OIF side of the ledger -- or recognize, at
least, that the operational achievements of OIF would have come at
much higher costs if not for the years of sanctions that preceded it.
Finally, with regard to the strategic and political utility of the
methods demonstrated in OIF: we need to accept that it is not yet
clear what the United States has achieved in Iraq and at what cost.
The situation there has not yet stabilized and the costs of American
action continue to mount.

Despite the ambiguous evidence of Operation Iraqi Freedom, precision
attack and other advanced information technologies do give the United
States the capacity to conduct some types of military operations at a
cost in lives much below what would have been expected 25 years ago.
Nonetheless, the promise of a "low casualty" warfare will not be
realized in practice if US strategic and operational objectives
escalate in tandem with the advance of the new capabilities. Nor will
the new warfare capabilities lead to an era of reduced conflict
deaths if their promise serves as a rationale to wage more wars.


1. Todd S. Purdum, "Night time Ambush in Iraqi City: An Episode in a
Drawn-Out Battle," New York Times, 5 April 2003, p. 1.

2. Emily Wax, "Mubarak Warns of Rise in Militancy; Egyptian Defends
US Use of Suez," Washington Post, 1 April 2003, p. 24.

3. Niko Price, "AP, in first nationwide tally of Iraqi civilian war
deaths, counts at least 3,240," Associated Press, 11 June 2003;

Laura King, "Baghdad's Death Toll Assessed; A Times hospital survey
finds that at least 1,700 civilians were killed and more than 8,000
injured in Iraq's capital during the war and aftermath," Los Angeles
Times, 18 May 2003, p. 1; and,

Matthew Schofield, Nancy A. Youssef and Juan O. Tamayo, "Civilian
Death Toll in Battle for Baghdad at Least 1,100," Pittsburgh Post-
Gazette, 4 May 2003.

On conditions in hospitals during the war, see: Suzanne Goldenberg,
War in the Gulf: The hell that once was a hospital, Guardian, 12
April 2003, p. 6;

Robert Fisk, "Final Proof That War Is about the Failure of the Human
Spirit," The Independent, 10 April 2003, p. 11;

Steve Wick, "Supplies, Docs Scarce In Baghdad," Newsday, 10 April
2003, p. W13;

Owen Bowcott, "Baghdad hospitals pushed to the limit: Supply of drugs
and water run low," The Guardian, 9 April 2003, p. 5;

Suzanne Goldenberg, "A picture of killing inflicted on a sprawling
city - and it grew more unbearable by the minute," The Guardian, 9
April 2003, p. 1;

Cahal Milmo and Andrew Buncombe, "The Iraq Conflict: Surgeons Using
Headache Pills for Lack of Anaesthetic," The Independent, 9 April
2003, p. 5;

Robert Collier, "Body bags, anesthetics lacking, surgeons sleep-
deprived," San Francisco Chronicle, 8 April 2003, p. 1;

Hamza Hendawi, Death, grief, fear as rescuers search bombed houses,
bodies arrive at hospital, Associated Press Worldstream, 8 April

Anthony Shadid, "Hospitals Overwhelmed By Living and the Dead,"
Washington Post, 8 April 2003, p. 1;

Paul Peachey, "The Iraq Conflict: Doctors Overwhelmed by Arrival of
100 Patients an Hour," The Independent, 7 April 2003, p. 7;

"Too many wounded, too few drugs: MD," Ottawa Citizen, 6 April 2003,
p. 4;

"On a Busy Night, Beds Fill Up With U.S. Soldiers, Iraqi POWs and
Civilians," Washington Post, 6 April 2003, p. 27;

Lara Marlowe, "Hospital staff in struggle to treat wounded troops,"
Irish Times, 5 April 2003, p. 10;

"More than 280 Iraqis "dismembered" from explosions, fighting: ICRC,"
Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 3 April 2003;

Robert Collie, "Hundreds in Iraqi town's hospital; Wards filled with
many civilians, some apparently the victims of cluster bombs," San
Francisco Chronicle, 3 April 2003, p W1;

Helen Rumbelow, "Wounded children distress doctors," The Times, 3
April 2003; and,

Robert Collier, "Santa Rosa doctor documents casualties," San
Francisco Chronicle, 1 April 2003, p. W3.

4. King, "Baghdad's Death Toll Assessed," LAT, 18 May 2003, p. 1.

5. John Kifner and Ian Fisher, "US Marines leave Baghdad," New York
Times, 20 April 2003.

6. Lara Marlowe, "Distressed Iraqis exhume their war dead," The Irish
Times, 23 April 2003.

7. John Daniszewski and Sergei L. Loiko, "Dread on Arrival; At one
Baghdad trauma center, its morgue overflowing, the battle toll is
measured in body bags and blood," Los Angeles Times, 8 April 2003
Page 1; and, Anthony Shadid, "Hospitals Overwhelmed By Living and the
Dead," Washington Post, 8 April 2003, p. 1.

8. Jon Lee Anderson, "Bombs fall and the lights go out," The New
Yorker, 14 April 2003, p. 46; Jonathan Steele, "In a dusty hospital
graveyard, a father's desperate search for his son: Anger mixes with
grief as grim rituals of bereavement are played out," Guardian, 14
April 2003; Suzanne Goldenberg, "War in the Gulf: The hell that once
was a hospital," Guardian, 12 April 2003, p. 6; Robert Fisk, "Final
Proof That War Is about the Failure of the Human Spirit," The
Independent, 10 April 2003, p. 11; and, Lara Marlowe, "Hospital staff
in struggle to treat wounded troops," Irish Times, 5 April 2003, p.

9. King, "Baghdad's Death Toll Assessed; LAT, 18 May 2003, paragraph

10. John Kifner and Ian Fisher, "US Marines leave Baghdad," New York
Times, 20 April 2003.

11. Larry Kaplow, "Baghdad Shaken after Bold US Drive into Iraqi
Capital," Cox News Service, 5 April 2003; and, Lara Marlowe,
"Hospital staff in struggle to treat wounded troops," Irish Times, 5
April 2003, p. 10.

12. King, "Baghdad's Death Toll Assessed," LAT, 18 May 2003.

13. "People power overwhelmed defenders of the regime as the final
drama unfolded," The Irish Times, 10 April 2003, p. 10; and, John
Daniszewski and Sergei L. Loiko, "Dread on Arrival; At one Baghdad
trauma center, its morgue overflowing, the battle toll is measured in
body bags and blood," Los Angeles Times, 8 April 2003, p. 1.

14. Matthew Schofield, Nancy A. Youssef and Juan O. Tamayo, "Civilian
Death Toll in Battle for Baghdad at Least 1,100," Pittsburgh Post-
Gazette, 4 May 2003, p. 11.

15. Lara Marlowe, "High civilian casualty toll on move to capital,"
Irish Times, 3 April 2003, p. 12.

16. Sources on burial societies, undocumented graves, and mass

King, "Baghdad's Death Toll Assessed," Los Angeles Times, 18 May
2003, p. 1;

Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, "Iraqis' searches for war dead may end in
vain," Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, 9 May 2003;

Megan K. Stack, "In Conflict's Wake, Sorting Out the Dead; Many Iraqi
bodies were hastily buried in shallow graves after fighting ended;
Volunteers are helping families identify their missing relatives,"
Los Angeles Times, 21 April 2003, p. 8;

Alan Feuer, "The Cemetery; With Even the Gravediggers Gone, Grieving
Kin Wield Shovels," New York Times, 14 April 2003;

Marina Jimenez, "Volunteers collect the dead for Allah," The Gazette
(Montreal), 14 April 200, p. 17;

Sig Christenson, "For the 3rd Infantry, clearing the dead is a grim
part of life," San Antonio Express-News, 13 April 2003, p. 1;

Lara Marlowe, "'We'll move the cars eventually, the bodies will be
taken care of'," Irish Times, 11 April 2003, p 12;

David Finkel, "Inside University Gates, the Burning and the Bodies,"
Washington Post, 8 April 2003, p. 17; and,

John Daniszewski, David Zucchino and Tony Perry, "US Thrust Meant to
Send Message; Armored units pull back after a bold and bloody foray
into Baghdad," Los Angeles Times, 6 April 2003, p. 1.

17. Sabah Jerges, "Iraqi health official: U.S. should move faster in
evacuating dead bodies from airport," Associated Press, 8 June 2003;
and, Carl Nolte, "Americans find eerie remnants of Iraqi troops near
airport," San Francisco Chronicle, 15 April 2003, p. 9.

18. Peter Ford, "Surveys pointing to high civilian death toll in
Iraq," Christian Science Monitor, 22 May 2003, p. 1.

19. Megan K. Stack, "In Conflict's Wake, Sorting Out the Dead; Many
Iraqi bodies were hastily buried in shallow graves after fighting
ended," Los Angeles Times, 21 April 2003, p. 8; David Finkel, "Inside
University Gates, the Burning and the Bodies," Washington Post, 8
April 2003, p. 17; and, "More than 100 Iraqi bodies litter road out
of Nasiriyah,"AFX European Focus, 25 March 2003.

20. "Victims' Relatives Still Waiting; Remains of about 1,300 from
WTC not yet identified," Newsday, 31 May 2003, p. 7; Tara Burghart
(AP), "DNA Is Used to Distinguish Remains of Victims, Hijackers,"
Boston Globe, 8 February 2003, p. 16; and, "Mourning The Still
Missing," CBS, 30 May 2002.

21. Brian Wood and Rory MacMillan, eds., (eds), The Jenin Inquiry
Report: A Report Regarding the Israeli invasion of the Jenin Refugee
Camp from 3-18 April 2002, available at:

22. For reviews and photographs of some of this structural damage
see: Iraq Peace Team, Civilian Casualties and Infrastructure Damage
in the 2003 US-led Attack on Baghdad, 20 March-1 April 2003,
available at:

23. Hamza Hendawi, "Scarred Baghdad grapples with reality of
tightening siege," Associated Press Worldstream, 7 April 2003.

24. Suzanne Goldenberg, "War in the Gulf: The hell that once was a
hospital," Guardian, 12 April 2003, p. 6.

25. Gregg Zoroya and Vivienne Walt, "From the battered streets of
Baghdad, it's clear: 'The battle has reached us'," USA Today, 7 April
2003, p. 1; International Committee of the Red Cross, "Baghdad
Yarmouk Hospital: one hundred patients an hour," Electronic Iraq, 6
April 2003; Suzanne Goldenberg, "War in the Gulf: The hell that once
was a hospital," The Guardian, 12 April 2003, p. 6; Marian Wilkinson,
"Rising toll questions targeting," Sydney Morning Herald, 10 April
2003; Owen Bowcott, "Baghdad hospitals pushed to the limit: Supply of
drugs and water run low," The Guardian, 9 April 2003, p. 5; and,
Charles J. Hanley, "Civilian toll, war's underside, mounts as U.S.
forces approach Baghdad," Associated Press, 3 April 2003.

26. Lara Marlowe, "'We'll move the cars eventually, the bodies will
be taken care of'," The Irish Times, 11 April 2003, p 12.

27. This estimate is based on a model for distributing risk that
incorporates the following assumptions: (1) A baseline group
represents 70 percent of the city's population. For comparison
purposes, its risk factor is set to 1. (2) The second group is
comprised of those city inhabitants who lived in the path of heavy
fighting. This group's size is set to 25 percent and its risk factor
is set to 8 -- that is: eight times the baseline population. (3) The
third group is noncombatants moving openly in the city during the
fighting for a variety of reasons. Its size is set to 2.5 percent and
its risk factor is set to 40. (4) The fourth group are families
attempting to relocate within the city or to areas outside the city.
Its size is set to 2.5 percent and its risk factor is set to 40. The
third group is assumed to be all male and it is large enough to
include about 10 percent of the city's adult male population. The
other groups are assumed to reflect Iraq's normal demographic
patterns fairly closely. The dynamics of this model are such that if
the relative risk factor or size of the third group grows, so does
the relative average risk factor of males. Based on the above
assumptions, the average risk factor of all males is approximately
twice that of women and children. Practically speaking, this implies
that approximately 47 percent of all noncombatant casualties would be

For comparison purposes a fifth subgroup might have been "males in
civilian clothing seeking combat with coalition forces." Using the
metrics outlined above, plausible values for this group might have
been a comparative size equal to 0.5 and a risk factor equal to 800.
These values would be read as follows: in size the group of fighters
represented 0.5 percent of the city's population -- or about 25,000
people. Its risk factor would have been 800 times that of the general
population and 20 times that of noncombatants (other males and
families) who were moving randomly about the city. In a case where
3,500 total fatalities occur this model would predict about 2,500
male fatalities and 1,000 fatalities among women and young people
under the age of 14 years. Of the total of apparent civilians, 1,600
actually would be combatants and 1,900 would be noncombatants. Of the
noncombatants, 850 would be men and 1,050 would be women or children.

This iteration of the model corresponds to a circumstance in which
(i) the population of apparently civilian casualties comprises 2,450
men (70 percent) and 1,050 women and children (30 percent); (ii)
Forty-six percent of apparent civilians are actually combatants;
(iii) actual noncombatant fatalities comprise 45 percent males and 55
percent women and children; and, (iv) the distribution of casualties
among noncombatants reflects a combination of demographic factors and
risk factors.

It is important to note that the purpose of this model is not to
predict actual casualties or casualty distributions. Instead, its aim
is to test the plausibility and sensitivity of different assumptions
about relative risk among noncombatant men, women, and children. The
iteration of the model outlined above closely resembles our
hypothesis regarding putatively civilian Iraqi fatalities. Its value
is that it makes the assumptions behind our hypothesis perfectly
transparent, so that their plausibility might be assessed.

28. To illustrate this point: If the probability of death for men
were twice that of women and children -- say, 10 percent versus 5
percent -- and men constituted 30 out of every 100 Iraqis in the
population (with women and children constituting the rest), then we
should expect 3 male fatalities and 3.5 non-male fatalities in a
representative group of 100 people. Of the 6.5 total fatalities,
males would constitute 46 percent. Women and children would
constitute 3.5 or 54 percent. Eighty-five percent of 3.5 is 3. Thus,
male noncombatant casualties would be 85 percent as numerous as those
of women and children.

29. Javier Barandiarán, et. al., Evaluation of the Attacks on the
Civilian Population of Baghdad Carried out by the Governments of the
United States of America, the United Kingdom and Allied Countries
Between 20 March and 15 April 2003 (Madrid: Spanish Brigade Against
the War, April 2003).

30. The data was received from the project's director, Marla Ruzicka.
It does not necessarily represent all the findings from the three
cities because CIVIC's efforts are ongoing. For more information see
the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict web site at:

31. There is at least one observation of a mass grave dug by the US
marines in southeast Baghdad, in which all of the corpses are
identified as male. Also: one burial society volunteer, who claims to
have participated in the burial of 200 war dead, reports that all
were males. See Jimenez, "Volunteers collect the dead for Allah," The
Gazette, 14 April 200, p. 17; and, John Daniszewski, "US Thrust Meant
to Send Message," Los Angeles Times, 6 April 2003, p. 1.

32. Craig S. Smith, "Basra falls though fighting persists," New York
Times, 8 April 2003.

33. Tini Tran, "In British-held city, hospital becomes a locus of
resentment," Associated Press, 9 April 2003.

34. John M. Broder, "Number of Iraqis Killed May Never Be
Determined," New York Times, 10 April 2003, p. 1.

35. David Finkel, "Inside University Gates, the Burning and the
Bodies," Washington Post, 8 April 2003, p. 17.

36. For references and summaries of a variety of civilian casualty
incidents in Basra, see Melissa Murphy and Carl Conetta, eds.,
Civilian Casualties in the 2003 Iraq War: A Compendium of Accounts
and Reports (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Commonwealth Institute, May
2003); and, Iraq Body Count Database, available at:

37. Marcella Bombardieri, "A Struggle Goes on in Nasiriyah," Boston
Globe, 21 April 2003, p. 10; also see, Ed Vulliamy, "Iraq: the human
toll," The Observer, 6 July 2003.

38. Patrick Peterson, "Many civilians believed to be among dead in
battle at Nasiriyah," Knight Ridder News Service, 26 March 2003.

39. Robert Collie, "Hundreds in Iraqi town's hospital; Wards filled
with many civilians, some apparently the victims of cluster bombs,"
San Francisco Chronicle, 3 April 2003, p W1; and, "More than 280
Iraqis 'dismembered' from explosions, fighting: ICRC," Deutsche
Presse-Agentur, 3 April 2003.

40. Murphy and Conetta, eds., Civilian Casualties in the 2003 Iraq
War: A Compendium of Accounts and Reports (May 2003).

41. "Bombings kill 48 more civilians south of Baghdad," AFP, 2 April
2003. Also see: Bill Duryea, "At war with one's perspectives," St.
Petersburg Times, 3 April 2003; and "US offers regrets over mounting
Iraqi civilian casualties," Agence France-Presse, 2 April 2003.

42. "Red Cross Horrified by Numbers of Dead Civilians," CTV (Canada),
4 April 2003. Also see: Charles J. Hanley, "Questions linger about
Hillah battle that left hundreds of civilian casualties," Associated
Press, 17 May 2003.

43. Dennis Bueckert, "Doctors reel at 'horror' in Iraq," Toronto
Star, 4 April 2003.

44. Alastair Jamieson and Tim Ripley, "Tragedy as Allied Troops
Attempt to Mop up Guerrilla Resistance," The Scotsman, 1 April 2003,
p. 2.

45. M.E. Sprengelmeyer, "101st Airborne Unit Attempts to Break down
Security Zone Iraqis Have Put up in Hillah," Rocky Mountain News, 9
April 2003, p. 14.

46. Lara Marlowe, "High civilian casualty toll on move to capital,"
Irish Times, 3 April 2003, p. 12.

47. Sophie Claudet, "US cluster bombing leaves Iraqi city angry over
dead, maimed," Agence France Presse, 29 April 2003; and, Meg
Laughlin, "Civilians in Najaf Hit Hard by Bombs; 378 Killed, 604 Hurt
in 26 Days of War," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 18 April 2003, p. 9.

48. Murphy and Conetta, eds., Civilian Casualties in the 2003 Iraq
War: A Compendium of Accounts and Reports (May 2003).

49. "Annex 1. Health Facilities in Iraq," Selected Health Information
on Iraq (New York: United Nations Humanitarian Coordination for Iraq,
March 2003).

50. Carol Rosenberg, "Iraqi Military Commanders Told to Abandon
Posts," Knight Ridder News, 19 April 2003.

51. An estimate that mistakenly sets observed fatalities at 250
percent their actual level can be corrected by a reduction of 60
percent: 250 X 0.4 = 100. Similarly, one that exaggerates by 25
percent produces a body count that is 125 percent its actual level,
requiring a reduction of 20 percent: 125 X 0.8 = 100.

52. For some accounts of the role of artillery in OIF ground
engagements see:

C. Mark Brinkley, "Marines attack dug-in Iraqi army units around
Basra," Marine Corps Times, 22 March 2003;

C. Mark Brinkley, "Marines dispense with Baghdad Division, advance
toward capital," Marine Corps Times, 3 April 2003;

Jim Dwyer, "Under Blizzard of Bullets, a Battle Inches On," New York
Times, 1 April 2003, p. 1;

Dexter Filkins, "Little Resistance Encountered as Troops Reach
Baghdad," New York Times, 5 April 2003, p. 3;

Scott Bernard Nelson, "Little Slows Marines in Roll to Baghdad,"
Boston Globe, 5 April 2003, p. 17; and,

Michael Wilson, "Marines Meet Potent Enemy In Deadly Fight," New York
Times, 24 March 2003, p. 1.

For a more general appreciation of the role and effects of artillery
see: SLA Marshall, Men Against Fire (Norman, OK: University of
Oklahoma Press, September 2000); and, Robert H. Scales, Jr.,
Firepower in Limited War (Novato, CA: Presidio, 1995).

53. Ann Roosevelt, "'Five Ways To Die' Army Increasing Precision
Munitions," Defense Week, Volume 24, Number 34, 2 September 2003;
Captains Rhett A. Taylor, Matt T. Wegner and George T. Tatum and
Sergeant First Class Wayne Bui, "MLRS AFATDS and Communications
Lessons Learned in OIF," Field Artillery (July/August 2003), p. 36;
Colonel Thomas G. Torrance and Lieutenant Colonel Noel T. Nicolle,
"Observations from Iraq: The 3d Div Arty in OIF," Field Artillery
(July/August 2003), p. 30; and, Anthony H. Cordesman, The Lessons of
the Iraq War: Main Report, working draft (Washington DC: CSIS, 21
July 2003, p. 115.

54. Sgt. Jose E. Guillen, "Barbara's trusty big gun: It's slated for
replacement, but it was 'the right weapon' for OIF," Scout
newsletter, Camp Pendelton, California.

55. Ministry of Defence, United Kingdom, Operations in Iraq: First
Reflections (London: MOD UK, July 2003).

56. For statistical information on field artillery in Operation
Desert Storm see:

John M. Matsumura, Randall Steeb, and John Gordon, Assessment of
Crusader: The Army's Next Self-Propelled Howitzer and Resupply
Vehicle (Santa Monica: RAND, 1998);

Robert H. Scales, Jr., Firepower in Limited War (Novato, CA:
Presidio, 1995), "Chapter 6, The Gulf War," page 235-274;

Redlegs in the Gulf, special edition, Field Artillery (October 1991);

"Field Artillery Desert Facts," Field Artillery (October 1991), p. 2;

Major Kenneth Graves, "Steel Rain: XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery in
Desert Storm," Field Artillery (October 1991), p. 49.

57. It is possible to drive the predicted number of fatalities down
below 1,000 or up to about 4,500, but this requires making
assumptions that find little empirical support. For instance: The
numbers could rise beyond our estimated maximum of 3,000 if we assume
that Iraqi units deployed at full strength and then adopted a high-
density posture in the field (rather than dispersing). This would
have made them "easy pickings". The numbers could fall below our
estimated minimum of 1,500 if we discount the likely effectiveness of
precision artillery munitions and counter-battery radars, or if we
assume that a distinct majority of the artillery munitions expended
by the coalition were used for purely suppressive purposes.

58. Field Manual 6-40: Target Analysis and Munition Effects and
Terminal Ballistics

Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Field Artillery Manual Cannon
Gunnery (Washington DC: Department of the Army, 23 April 1996);

Captain GC Barbour, Captain LA Coghill, and Captain PJ Moore, Anti-
personnel Landmines: Has an Operational Capability Been Lost?
(Kingston, Ontario: Land Force Technical Staff Programme, Royal
Military College, May 2003);

Col. Clifford Cloonan, MD, Profiles of Combat Casualties, slide
presentation (Bethesda MD: Dept of Military and Emergency Medicine,
Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, June 1997);

Jim Dunnigan and Austin Bay, From Shield to Storm (New York: Morrow,
1992), p. 296-298;

Historical Evaluation and Research Organization, Historical Trends
Related to Weapon Lethality (Washington DC: HERO, 1964);

SLA Marshall, Men Against Fire (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma
Press, September 2000); and,

Frank A. Reister MD, Battle Casualties and Medical Statistics: US
Army Experience in the Korean War (Washington DC: US Army Surgeon
General, 1973), "Chapter 3. Lethality of Weapons and Location of

59. Operation Iraqi Freedom: By the Numbers (Shaw AFB, South
Carolina: CENTAF, Assessment and Analysis Division, 30 April 2003).

60. According to CENTAF's Operation Iraqi Freedom: By the Numbers,
15,592 aim points involved air interdiction of ground forces, close
air support missions, attacks on maritime units, and support of
special operations. Although By the Numbers does not further
disaggregate this number, its presentation of planned and requested
aim points suggests that somewhat less than 25 percent of the 15,592
aim points would have been devoted to purposes other than
interdiction of ground forces. Our estimate that 20,000 bombs and
missiles were used in attacking the Iraqi field army assumes that
most of the war's B-52 strikes and most of the unguided munitions
were used to this end.

61. For some accounts of US aerial bombardment of Iraqi ground units

"Intensive US bombing targets Republican Guard: general," Agence
France Presse, 31 March 2003;

Peter Baker and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, "Iraqi Militia, Elite Forces
Roll South Into Fierce Attack by US Warplanes," Washington Post, 27
March 2003, p. 1;

Robert Burns, "Allied Air strikes Target Republican Guard,"
Associated Press Online, 30 March 2003;

Patrick Cockburn, "Saddam's Army Retreats to Mosul with Heavy Losses;
Northern Front," The Independent, 3 April 2003, p. 4;

Phillip Coorey, "Half the Republican Guard eliminated and 'we're not
finished'," Daily Telegraph, 1 April 2003, p. 2;

Bradley Graham, "U.S. Air Attacks Turn More Aggressive; Risk of
Civilian Casualties Higher as Range of Targets Is Broadened,
Officials Say," Washington Post, 2 April 2003, p. 24;

Bradley Graham and Vernon Loeb, "An Air War of Might, Coordination
and Risks," Washington Post, 27 April 2003, p. 1;

Rebecca Grant, "Saddam's Elite In the Meat Grinder: Republican Guard
divisions looked pretty bold until they got sliced and diced by
coalition air power," Air Force Magazine (September 2003);

Terry McCarthy, et al, "What Ever Happened To The Republican Guard? A
Time investigation suggests most of the elite Iraqi forces survived
the U.S. bombardment," Time Magazine, 12 May 2003, p. 38; and,

Paul Richter, "Bombing Is Tool of Choice to Clear a Path to Baghdad;
Heavy strikes are meant to grind down top-level forces before an
assault," Los Angeles Times, 1 April 2003, p. 1.

62. Key targets of air interdiction included the Adnan, Al Nida,
Baghdad, Hammurabi, Medina, and Nebuchadnezzar Republican Guard
divisions. Among regular Iraqi army units, targets of substantial air
interdiction included elements of the 6th and 10th armored divisions;
1st, 5th, 15th, and 51st mechanized divisions; and 11th, 15th, and
16th Infantry divisions.

Although the personnel strength of the Iraqi military was often cited
to be in excess of 400,000 prior to the war, scant evidence has been
offered to support this figure. Certainly, there is no evidence to
suggest that Iraq put an army of this size in the field to meet the
Anglo-American invasion. The post-war testimony of Iraqi officers and
the experience of coalition forces suggest an Iraqi field force of
distinctly under strength units. We accept no more than 180,000 as
the number of regular army, Republican Guard, and Special Republican
Guard troops who deployed for the war. This represents an Iraqi force
only 70 percent as strong as the official structure and organization
of the Iraqi military would suggest. Moreover, fully one-third of
Iraqi field units proved essentially irrelevant to the fight.
Regarding Iraqi field strength, Anthony Cordesman concludes that
"Estimates that most divisions had 50 percent to 75 percent manning
and substantial equipment shortages seem to have been
accurate..."Cordesman, The Lessons of the Iraq War: Main Report
(Washington DC: CSIS, July 2003), p. 45.

Also see: Shlomo Brom, "The Strike against Iraq: A Military
Overview," Strategic Assessment (November 2002), a publication of the
Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies; and, Cordesman, Iraq's Military
Capabilities in 2002: A Dynamic Net Assessment (Washington DC: CSIS,
September 2002).

63. The Gulf War Air Power Survey Summary Report cites only 56.3
percent of strikes as having being directed at surface forces, but
also notes that 15 percent of the strikes were uncategorized at the
time of the study's completion. The authors conclude that "most of
these uncategorized strikes were A-10, F/A-18, or A/V-8 sorties that,
in all likelihood, were targeted against Iraqi ground forces" (Figure
12, p. 65). Taking this into account we adopt "more than two-thirds"
as a conservative representation of the proportion of strikes
directed at ground forces.

Sources: Thomas A. Keaney and Eliot A. Cohen, Gulf War Air Power
Survey: Summary Report (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing
Office, 1993), p. 65; and, Gulf War Air Power Survey, Volume V: A
statistical compendium and chronology (Washington DC: Department of
the Air Force, 1993), "Table 177. Strikes by AIF Categories," p. 418.

64. This counts guided bombs, anti-radiation missiles, air-to-surface
missiles, and air-launched cruise missiles. In addition, 298 Tomahawk
missiles were fired by sea craft and helicopters employed 482
Hellfire and TOW missiles. Eliot Cohen, director, GWAPS, Volume V: A
statistical compendium and chronology (Washington DC: Department of
the Air Force, 1993), "Table 191. Desert Shield/Storm: Total USAF,
USN, and USMC Weapons Cost and Utilization," pp. 533-544.

65. These are derived sums. The number of precision weapons used
against ground forces is based on the number of precision strikes
flown against ground forces (GWAPS, Vol. 5, tables 183 and 184, pp.
514-515) and the average number of weapons used per precision strike.
The estimate was also checked for plausibility against the number of
Maverick missiles employed in the war (GWAPS, Vol. 5, table 191, pp.
553-553), although other precision weapons were used against ground
forces as well.

The total number of weapons employed against ground forces was
estimated based on the number of sorties flown by different aircraft
against ground force targets and the size and composition of their
typical weapon loads (GWAPS, Vol. 5, table 185, p. 517; GWAPS, Vol.
4, Weapons, Tactics, and Training, "Chapter 2. Aircraft and
Weapons"). Many of the bombs employed against ground forces were
delivered by B-52s, which are known to have dropped 27,000 tons of
munitions on these targets. An independent source of information on
aircraft weapon loads is at

66. Les Aspin and William Dickinson, Defense for A New Era: Lessons
of the Persian Gulf War, Interim Report of the Committee on Armed
Services, House of Representatives (Washington DC: HCAS, 30
March1992), "Table I: Accounting for the Iraqi Army."

67. In neither campaign were aerial attacks on Iraqi ground forces
evenly distributed across the full duration of the campaign. In ODS
about two-thirds of the air effort against ground troops (measured in
kill-box strikes) was concentrated in a 29-day period that began 13
days into the 43-day war. In OIF, air attacks on ground troops rose
to prominence much more quickly. Nonetheless, about 80 percent of the
air effort against ground troops occurred during a 15-day period
beginning four days into the conflict. Thus, the impression that the
attack on ground troops during OIF was compressed into about half the
time of the ODS air campaign is valid.

Sources: The figures on ODS were derived from the Gulf War Air Power
Survey, Volume V: A statistical compendium and chronology (Washington
DC: Department of the Air Force, 1993), "Table 180. Strikes by Day by
Kill Box," pp. 466-467. The figures on OIF were estimated based on
daily CENTCOM press briefings and campaign statistics compiled by

CENTCOM briefings are available at:

"Operation Iraqi Freedom -- Statistics" compiled by are available at:

68. The cluster bombs used in ODS were the CBU-52/58/71 (quantity:
17,831), CBU-78 (209), CBU-87 (10,035), CBU-89 (1,105), and MK-20
Rockeye (27,987). The cluster bombs expended during OIF were AGM-154
JSOW (253), CBU-103/105/107 WCMD (908), CBU-87 (118), and CBU-99
(182) -- plus approximately 70 units dropped by the RAF.


Operations in Iraq: First Reflections Report (London: UK Ministry of
Defense, July 2003), p. 24;

Eliot Cohen, director, Gulf War Air Power Survey, Volume V: A
statistical compendium and chronology (Washington DC: Department of
the Air Force, 1993), "Table 191. Desert Shield/Storm: Total USAF,
USN, and USMC Weapons Cost and Utilization," p. 533; and

Operation Iraqi Freedom: By the Numbers (Shaw AFB, South Carolina:
CENTAF, Assessment and Analysis Division, 30 April 2003), "Munitions
Expended," p. 11.

69. The Gulf War Air Power Survey examined 12 representative sorties
of aircraft employing PGMs with 12 sorties of aircraft using unguided
bombs. The PGM sorties covered 26 targets using 28 bombs, while the
unguided ones covered 2 using 168. This implies a ratio of 1:78 in
bomb requirements, although the targets and levels of destruction
achieved in the two samples may not be comparable.

Other studies of bombing accuracy in the Gulf War found that the best
unguided methods achieved target destruction with 30 bombs (Hallion),
while 2.2 PGMs on average were required to destroy a target with
confidence (GAO). It should be non-controversial to conclude that
laser-bombs allow at least a 15 fold reduction in bomb usage over the
best unguided methods under battlefield conditions.

Relative to laser-guided bombs, present GPS-guided bombs -- which
constituted about 50 percent of the PGMs used in OIF -- are somewhat
less accurate. This implies some degradation in the bombing reduction
allowed by PGM bombing versus "best method" unguided delivery. Of
course, operational circumstances will not always allow the use of
"best" (ie. most accurate) methods of unguided weapon delivery. Under
some circumstances, reliance on PGMs might allow a 40-fold or even
greater reduction in bombing loads. Relevant to OIF, we accept 25:1
as a conservative mid-point estimate for the reduction in bomb
expenditure allowed by using a mix of PGMs versus using unguided
munitions under a variety of circumstances.

Sources: "Entering the 'Red Zone' Q&A: Military Consultant John
Pike," ABC;

John Pike, "What's New With Smart Weapons,",
available at:

General Accounting Office, Operation Desert Storm Evaluation of the
Air Campaign, GAO/NSIAD-97-134 (Washington DC: GAO, June 1997);

Thomas A. Keaney and Eliot A. Cohen, Gulf War Air Power Survey:
Summary Report (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office,
1993), p. 243;

Richard P. Hallion, Storm Over Iraq: Air Power and the Gulf War
(Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1992), "Appendix B.
Battlefield Attack Technology," especially "Appendix Table 2.
Historical Trends in Bombing Accuracy." Also see: Hallion, "Appendix
E, The 'Smart' Bomb."

70. Scott Peterson, "Iraq prepares for its defense," Christian
Science Monitor, 28 February 2003, p. 1; Kim Sengupta, "Iraq Crisis:
Saddam's Elite Troops Are on the Move, Says US," Independent, 28
February 2003, p. 5; and, Robert Collier, "Scale of Iraqi strength is
a mystery; No clear sign of military preparations," San Francisco
Chronicle, 20 January 2003, p. 1.

71. Richard J. Newman, "The Iraqi File: Long before they went into
combat, US forces had gotten the goods on their Iraqi foe," Air Force
Magazine (July 2003).

72. A variety of factors contributed to this: For six weeks, Iraqis
saw their equipment methodically destroyed and watched their comrades
die without having any way to respond effectively to coalition fire
power. They also had no sense of when this attrition would end. They
were increasingly isolated from higher command authorities and cut
off from resupply.

73. According to press interviews with Iraqi officers and conscripts,
the factors contributing to desertion in the recent war -- other than
bombardment -- included severe disenchantment with the military's
circumstances since the 1991 Gulf War, poor and erratic leadership
from national political authorities, growing doubts about the
survivability of the Hussein regime, and US electronic and
psychological warfare efforts. Countervailing factors were the
presence in military units of political "enforcers" -- Baath Party
activists and fedayeen -- as well as some genuine patriotic

Sources: Vivienne Walt, "Chaos ruled before Iraq's military fell,"
Boston Globe, 25 August 2003; William Branigin, "A Brief, Bitter War
for Iraq's Military Officers; Self-Deception a Factor in Defeat,"
Washington Post, 27 April 2003, p 25; Mark MacKinnon, "Firepower
broke Iraqi army, survivor says; Even vaunted Republican Guard wilted
under overwhelming air, land assault," Toronto Globe and Mail, 23
April 2003, p. 11; and, Carol Rosenberg, "Iraqi Military Commanders
Told to Abandon Posts," Knight Ridder News, 19 April 2003.

74. Terry McCarthy with Brian Bennett, Jim Lacey, Simon Robinson,
Mark Thompson, and Michael Weisskopf, "What Ever Happened To The
Republican Guard?", Time Magazine, 12 May 2003, p. 38.

75. Sources suggesting high rates of casualties among Iraqi ground
units: William Branigin, "A Brief, Bitter War for Iraq's Military
Officers; Self-Deception a Factor in Defeat," Washington Post, 27
April 2003, p 25; Mark MacKinnon, "Firepower broke Iraqi army,
survivor says; Even vaunted Republican Guard wilted under
overwhelming air, land assault," Toronto Globe and Mail, 23 April
2003, p. 11; Scott Peterson and Peter Ford, "From Iraqi officers,
three tales of shock and defeat," Christian Science Monitor, 18 April
2003, p. 1; Carol Rosenberg, "Iraqi Military Commanders Told to
Abandon Posts," Knight Ridder News, 19 April 2003; and, Jonathan
Steele, "Body counts: The western media focused on the number of
civilians killed in Iraq, but the country's ill-prepared armed forces
suffered far greater losses," The Guardian, 28 May 2003, p. 19.

76. Harvey Rice, "Hundreds of elite troops killed; US forces batter
Saddam's divisions in battles, aerial attacks," Houston Chronicle, 4
April 2003, p. 25; and, Bryan Bender, US Says Two Divisions No Longer
Pose a Significant Threat, Boston Globe, 3 April 2003, p. 33.

77. Julian Borger, Richard Norton-Taylor, and Stuart Millar, "Where
have the Guards gone and will Saddam use chemical weapons?",
Guardian, 4 April 2003;

78. The vulnerability of Iraqi units on the move recalls the
experience of the 1991 Gulf War. During that war, six weeks of air
attack on dispersed and dug-in units extracted a relatively modest
death toll. However, when units mounted their vehicles, concentrated
their numbers, and attempted to move -- either on the offensive or in
retreat -- coalition air attacks took a devastating toll. This was
demonstrated in the four day battle of Kafji that commenced 29
January 1991 and in the two "highway of death" attacks that occurred
25-27 February 1991 along the Al Jahra-Safran and Al Jahra-Umm Qasr
roads, north of Kuwait City.

In the battle of Khafji, USMC units and units of the Saudi National
Guard engaged an Iraqi battalion-sized unit in the city itself.
However, Iraqi efforts to screen and reinforce this engagement
involved elements of three divisions, and these were engaged
principally by coalition air power. In the main "highway of death"
incident, which occurred near Al Muttla, coalition ground units (the
2nd Armored Divisions "Tiger" Brigade and units of the 2nd Marine
Division) did join the engagement, but only after intense air attacks
had been underway for 5 to 10 hours. The second "highway of death" --
a narrower road that led east-northeast out of the Al Jahrah junction
-- seems to have involved coalition air attacks only.

For sources on the battle of Khafji and a discussion of casualty
estimates related to the "highway of death" incidents, see Appendix
2. Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant Fatalities in the 1991 Gulf War

79. Peter Baker and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, "Iraqi Militia, Elite
Forces Roll South Into Fierce Attack by US Warplanes," Washington
Post, 27 March 2003, p. 1.

80. Scott Peterson and Peter Ford, "From Iraqi officers, three tales
of shock and defeat," Christian Science Monitor, 18 April 2003, p. 1.

81. Operations in Iraq: First Reflections Report (London: UK Ministry
of Defense, July 2003); Richard J. Newman, "The Iraqi File: Long
before they went into combat, US forces had gotten the goods on their
Iraqi foe," Air Force Magazine (July 2003); Thomas Houlahan,
"Analysis: Strategic bombing in Iraq war," United Press
International, 23 April 2003; Harlan Ullman "'Shock and awe' lite,"
Baltimore Sun, 1 April 2003; and, David A. Fulghum and Robert Wall,
"Oil Wells, WMD Sites Fall Off Bombing List," Aviation Week & Space
Technology, 30 September 2002, p. 24.

82. Operation Iraqi Freedom: By the Numbers (CENTAF, 30 April 2003).

83. Thomas Keaney and Eliot Cohen, GWAPS Summary Report (Washington
DC: Department of the Air Force, 1993), "Chapter 3. What Did the Air
Campaign Accomplish?"; and, Eliot Cohen, director, GWAPS, Volume V: A
statistical compendium and chronology (Washington DC: Department of
the Air Force, 1993), "Chapter 6. Planning the Air Campaign"; and,
"Chapter 8. Desert Storm US and Allied Strikes." Especially
noteworthy in these chapters are: "Table 61. Target Installations by
AIF Categories"; "Table 63. ATO Targets by AIF Categories"; "Table
177. Strikes by AIF Categories"; and, "Table 185. Strikes by Master
Target List Categories."

84. Together they imply that approximately 30 percent of the Iraqi
fatalities observed and reported by field personnel and journalists
were the result of artillery fire and air interdiction operations.

85. The ranges were derived as follows:

The range for observed Iraqi combatant fatalities combines the ranges
calculated in Section 4.1 for Baghdad and areas outside Baghdad.
The minimum number for "noncombatants mistakenly reported as
combatant fatalities" was generated by applying the lowest assumed
percentage of mis-identification -- 8 percent -- to the minimum for
observed fatalities. The maximum number was generated by applying the
highest assumed percentage of mis-identification -- 12 percent -- to
the maximum for observed fatalities.
The range for observed fatal effects of artillery applies the assumed
percentage range -- 40 to 60 percent -- to the range for total
artillery deaths.
The range for observed fatal effects of air interdiction applies the
assumed percentage range -- 30 to 40 percent -- to the range for
total air interdiction deaths.
The range for observed close combat fatalities is entirely dependent
on the other values. The minimum and maximum values reflect the
highest and lowest numbers possible given the ranges of the other
86. A 25 percent shortfall implies that the observed close combat
deaths represent only 75 percent of the actual total. Twenty-five is
33 percent of 75. A 35 percent shortfall implies that the observed
close combat deaths represent only 65 percent of the actual total.
Thirty-five is 54 percent of 65.
87. Coalition ground forces employed more than 25,000 direct fire and
short-range indirect fire weapons in Iraq. Most of these were in the
hands of almost 500 ground maneuver platoons. Each platoon was
capable of projecting a dense wall of firepower outward in any
direction for a distance up to 2,000 meters. Beyond this, the
platoons could project a less dense spray of fire with lethal effects
up to 4 kilometers. A few infantry support weapons could reach even
farther than this. Thus, many weapons had lethal effects beyond
visual range and many had the capacity to puncture building surfaces
and destroy targets hidden behind obstacles. Among some of these

The ubiquitous M16(A2) rifle will penetrate 25 inches of pine board
at 200 meters, its optimal range. However, its maximum effective
range is only 600 meters. M-16s will not penetrate most building
exteriors. Medium and heavy machine guns (7.62 millimeter and 50
caliber rounds) are another matter.

The heavy, 50 caliber gun has an effective range of 2,200 meters and
a maximum range of about 6,000. The 7.62 MG has an effective range of
1,100 yards and a maximum range of 3,750. Rounds from the 7.62
machine gun can pierce 10 inches of cinder block or two inches of
concrete at 100 meters. They can pierce both sides of a car or a
wooden frame building. The coalition put about 2,500 medium and heavy
machine guns to work in the Iraq war.

The Bradley infantry fighting vehicle's 25-mm automatic cannon, which
also equips some of the Marine Corps' Light Armored Vehicles, fires
armor piercing explosive shells with an effective range of 2,000
meters. Its shells can penetrate over 16 inches of reinforced
concrete or pass through both sides of a brick veneer house. Firing
up to 500 rounds per minute, it can disintegrate light structures.
Also unique is the M-19 40 millimeter grenade machine gun, it can
fire up to 350 grenades per minute (although 60 is more common). Its
maximum effective range is 1,600 meters; its maximum range is 2,200
meters. Its shells can pierce two inches of armor or 16 inches of
sandfilled cinder blocks. Their killing radius is 5 meters.

Mortars and light anti-tank missiles also contribute substantial to
the firepower of coalition ground units. 81-mm mortars have a maximum
range 4,500 meters; their high explosive rounds have a blast area of
600 square meters. Sixty millimeter mortars have a range of 3,500
meters firing a round with casualty radius of 200 square meters. 120-
mm mortars have a range of 7,200 meters and their rounds produce a
blast that is the equivalent of 10 pounds of TNT.

US ground forces also employ a variety of anti-tank missile systems,
the most powerful of which is the TOW missile. With a range of almost
4 kilometers its can penetrate 30 inches of armor or 4 feet of
reinforced concrete.

Of course, the Abrams tank was the premier weapon of coalition ground
forces. Their 120-mm smoothbore main guns have demonstrated an
effective range of 4 kilometers. Their high-explosive rounds are able
to punch a two-foot diameter hole in most masonry structures.

Sources: US Army Weapon Systems 2002 (Washington DC, Office of the
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisitions, Logistics, and
Technology, 2002); Field Manual 3-06.11: Combined Arms Operations in
Urban Terrain (Washington DC: Headquarters, US Army, February 2002),
"Chapter 7. Employment and Effects of Weapons"; Field Manual 90-10-1:
An Infantryman's Guide to Combat in Built-up Areas (Washington DC:
Headquarters of the Army, May 1993), "Chapter 8. Employment and
Effects of Weapons"; and, "US Ground Warfare Systems,", available at:

88. The range of plausible values for "deaths in close combat" is
derived as follows:

First, the sum of observed combatant fatalities for both Baghdad and
areas outside Baghdad is reduced by the portion of these that may
have been "mistakenly identified noncombatants." The range for mis-
identified civilians is defined by multiplying the values for
"observed combatant deaths" by the assumed percentage range for mis-
identification (8-12 percent).
Second, the product of the first operation is reduced by the portion
of artillery and air interdiction fatalities that may have been
included in "observed combatant fatalities". This is determined by
multiplying the range for total artillery and total air interdiction
fatalities by the assumed percentages of these that are observed: 30-
40 percent for air interdiction fatalities and 40-60 percent for
artillery fatalities.
Third, the product of the second operation is then multiplied by a
range of values (1.33 to 1.54) to correct for the original sample's
89. This does not reflect a combat dynamic. Instead, it reflects the
fact that the value for close combat deaths is partly derived from
"observed combat deaths" by subtracting from the latter category that
portion of observed deaths that is due to artillery fire or air
90. Bassem Mroue, "In Iraq's ancient city of the dead, war brings new
arrivals,"  Associated Press, 20 April 2003; Anthony Shadid, "A
Pilgrimage of Sorrow by Shiite Faithful; Bodies of Iraqis Killed
During War Are Brought to Sacred City to Be Buried," Washington Post,
20 April 2003; and, Meg Laughlin, "Civilians in Najaf Hit Hard by
Bombs; 378 Killed, 604 Hurt in 26 Days of War," Pittsburgh Post-
Gazette, 18 April 2003, p. 9.

91. The Iraq Body Count Database, available at:

92. Murphy and Conetta, eds., Civilian Casualties in the 2003 Iraq
War (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Commonwealth Institute, May 2003).

93. The best estimate for postwar health-related deaths is between
60,000 and 100,000, including children and adults. These deaths had
to do mostly with the intentional targeting of Iraqi power
generation, water purification, and sewage treatment capabilities,
which had the aim of increasing international leverage over Iraq in
the postwar period. The postwar anti-regime uprisings probably cost
Iraq 30,000 civilian lives and 5,000 military. Subsequently, the
sanction regime probably cost the lives of 170,000 children. (Much
higher estimates for 1992-1998 sanction deaths are made by some, but
these are based on faulty baseline statistics for prewar childhood
mortality in Iraq).

Principal sources: Richard Garfield, Morbidity and Mortality among
Iraqi Children from 1990 through 1998: Assessing the Impact of the
Gulf War and Economic Sanctions, Kroc Institute Occasional Paper
16:OP:3 (Notre Dame IN: University of Notre Dame, March 1999, and,
Beth Osborne Daponte, "A Case Study in Estimating Casualties from War
and Its Aftermath: The 1991 Persian Gulf War," Medicine and Global
Survival, Vol. 3, No. 2 (1993).

Also see: Matt Welch, "The Politics of Dead Children: Have sanctions
against Iraq murdered millions?", Reason, March 2002; and, A
Ascherio, R Chase, et al., "Effect of the Gulf War on infant and
child mortality in Iraq," New England Journal of Medicine (24
September 1992), Volume 327:931-936.

On the targeting of the Iraqi infrastructure in 1991, see: "Allies
deliberately poisoned Iraq public water supply in Gulf War,
investigation," Sunday Herald (Scotland), 17 September 2000; USAF
Doctrine Document 2-1.2: Strategic Attack (Maxwell Air Force Base,
Alabama: USAF Doctrine Command, 20 May 1998); Defense Intelligence
Agency, Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities (Washington, January
1991); Barton Gellman, "Allied Air War Struck Broadly in Iraq;
Officials Acknowledge Strategy Went Beyond Purely Military Targets,"
Washington Post, 23 June 1991; Thomas E. Griffith, JR. Major, USAF,
Strategic Attack of National Electrical Systems (Maxwell Air Force
Base, Alabama: Air University Press, October 1994); Steven M.
Rinaldi, Major, USAF, Beyond the Industrial Web: Economic Synergies
and Targeting Methodologies (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air
University Press, April 1995); and, Kenneth R. Rizer, Bombing Dual-
Use Targets: Legal, Ethical, and Doctrinal Perspectives," Air & Space
Power Chronicles (1 May 2001).

94. Among the wars with casualty rates comparable to the 1991 and
2003 Iraq wars are:

1956 Suez War: 3,000 military; 1,000 civilian;
1962 Sino-Indian War: 1,000 military; 1,000 civilian;
1965 India-Pakistan: 6,000 military; as many as 12,000 civilian;
1967 Arab-Israeli war: 19,600 military; less than 1,000 civilian;
1971 India-Pakistan: 11,000 military;
1973 Arab-Israeli war: 16,401 military; less than 1,000 civilian;
1978 Cambodia-Vietnamese war: 10,000 military; 14,000 civilian;
1982 Falklands Island War: 1,200 military;
1982 Israeli Invasion of Lebanon: 17,000 total;
1989 Sino-Vietnamese War: 20-30,000 military;
1999 India-Pakistan Kargil War: 1,200 military;
Sources: Armed Conflicts Report 2000; Armed Conflicts Report 2002
(Waterloo, Ontario, Canada: Project Ploughshares, 2000, 2002); Jacob
Bercovitch and Richard Jackson, International Conflict : A
Chronological Encyclopedia of Conflicts and Their Management 1945-
1995 (Washington DC: Congressional Quarterly,1997); William Eckhardt,
"War-related Deaths Since 3000 B.C.", Bulletin of Peace Proposals,
Vol. 22, No. 4 (1991), pp..437-443; and Melvin Small & Joel David
Singer, Resort to Arms : International and Civil Wars 1816-1980
(London: Sage Publications, 1982).
95. In the decade following the Gulf War Iraq's per capita income
averaged less than 30 percent of its 1989 level. The impact of the
1991 war and subsequent sanctions on Iraq's military was even greater
-- leaving it less than 30 percent as strong in 2003 as in 1990.
After spending much more during the Iran-Iraq war, Iraq settled into
spending approximately between $15 billion and $20 billion (2003 USD)
annually during 1989 and 1990 to support a regular military of
perhaps 750,000 troops. Its arms imports, also down from earlier
years, were valued at approximately $7 billion total for 1989 and
1990 -- about $3.5 billion per year. During the Gulf War
approximately 35-40 percent of Iraq's combat power was destroyed.
Subsequently, its defense spending -- official and unofficial -- fell
by 85 percent. Its arms imports declined by more than 95 percent,
essentially making it impossible for Iraq to maintain its equipment
in good working order, much less to modernize it. During the 1990s
Iraq had reduced the size of its armed forces by approximately 50
percent. Thus, its defense spending per person in uniform declined by
approximately 70 percent.

As detailed in footnote #89 above, however, the price imposed on the
Iraqi people by the process of defunding and undermining Iraqi power
was very substantial: more than 170,000 died.

Sources: Paul Rivlin, "Iraq's Economy: What's Left?," Tel Aviv Notes,
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies (2 February 2003); National
Defense Budget Estimates for FY 2003 (Washington DC: Office of the
Comptroller, March 2002); International Institute for Strategic
Studies, The Military Balance 2001-2002; 2002-2003 (Oxford: IISS and
Oxford University Press, 2000, 2002); Stockholm International Peace
Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 1999, 2000, 2002: Armaments,
Disarmament, and International Security (Oxford: SIPRI and Oxford
University Press, 1999, 2000, 2002); Anthony H. Cordesman, Iraqi
Military Forces Ten Years After the Gulf War (Washington DC: CSIS,
August, 2000); US Department of State, Bureau of Verification and
Compliance, World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers 1998
(Washington DC: US State Department, 2000); and, US Arms Control and
Disarmament Agency, WMEAT 1995; 1991-1992 (Washington DC:, 1996;

Conetta, Carl, "The Wages of War:  Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant
Fatalities in the 2003 Conflict", Cambridge, MA: Commonwealth
Institute, Project on Defense Alternatives Research Monograph #8, 20
October 2003.

Mark Parkinson

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