The Corner

Subject: U.S. Civil War fatalities vs. Iraq

An e-mail (I haven’t checked these numbers):

Just as an FYI:

The 1860 U.S. population was 31,443,321.  During the 4 years of the Civil War (April 1861-April 1865), approximately 970,000 Americans died (620,000 military and 350,000 civilians) – or just over 3% of the 1860 population.  Given a 48-month war, the death rate was approximately 2,208/month).

The July 2006 estimate of Iraq’s population was 26,783,383 – about 85% of the U.S.’s in 1860.  A comparable monthly death rate, therefore, would be about 1,877 deaths/month – and, at 3,700 civilian deaths/month, the civilian death rate alone is currently running at about twice the Civil War’s average.  If you add Iraqi military deaths, the number gets even worse; note that civilian deaths during the U.S. Civil War equaled only 1% of the population – nothing close to what Iraq is experiencing.  

To give you another perspective, since the U.S.’s current population is about 300 million (or just over 11-times’ Iraq’s), a civilian death rate in the U.S. that compares to Iraq’s would be over 40,700/month.

PS:  The 3,700 Iraqi civilian deaths/month is the most widely publicized recent number.  There is a website that has good information about both U.S. and Iraqi fatalities – the Iraqi fatality page is:  These numbers shows a lower average number of Iraqi deaths but even those numbers indicate a death rate that is roughly comparable to that of our Civil War.


A BIG mistake. E-mail:

970,000 divided by 48 months = 20,208    not 2,208 …  your emailer must be one of those trained in the “new” math … 

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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