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:  http://icasualties.org/oif/IraqiDeaths.aspx.  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.

UPDATE:

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: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

Most Popular

White House

Democrats in Peril

I will just make a prediction and try to keep out of the swamp of Trump-obsession as the weeks unfold. The anti-Trump movement is now in inexorable decline; it is a little like the Nixon defense forces after the Saturday Night drama in October 1973, with the departure of the attorney general, his deputy, and ... Read More
World

Canada Is Attacked Again

Media coverage of yesterday’s monstrous van attack in Toronto, which as of this writing is responsible for ten deaths and more than a dozen other casualties, was punctuated by political press conferences of the sort that are now an inescapable part of the dark theater of public tragedies. At his first ... Read More
World

Trump and the North Korean Tipping Point

The world has been stunned by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s announcement last week that he was suspending his country’s nuclear tests in preparation for the impending meeting with President Trump. Even critics have had to concede that Trump’s bellicose rhetoric since last summer regarding the North ... Read More
Economy & Business

Trade Misunderstandings

I was distracted by other policy topics last week but not enough not to notice Peter Navarro’s article in the Wall Street Journal, headlined “China’s Faux Comparative Advantage.” Considering Navarro’s position in the White House, it is unfortunate that it demonstrates some serious misunderstandings ... Read More