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The Real Body Count By: Larry Schweikart
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, August 18, 2006


How many Americans have been killed in Iraq? The media is quick to provide a number, currently at just over 2,500, and, for what it’s worth, some 500 of those have been “non-combat” fatalities (i.e., accidents). Left-wing web sites, such as the “Iraq Body Count,” (www.iraqbodycount.net), claim absurd numbers of up to 44,000 civilians killed in Iraq.

One number is never reported. No one even raises it in a question: how many of the enemy have been killed since the Iraq conflict began? One might find the complete absence of this number in any discussion of the war a tad curious, since, when one side  runs out of fighters, it loses. Yet the mainstream media has been reluctant to even broach this issue, let alone try to answer it. Why? An obvious answer is that if Americans knew what havoc our excellent military is wreaking on these terrorists, support for the war would be substantially higher than it already is. The left-oriented media has staged an obvious “morale” war on Americans, and to some degree it has succeeded; and it has been made worse by the refusal of the Bush Administration (thanks to the Vietnam experience) to tout any enemy casualties as indicators of progress, when in fact they are, in most cases, the very best indicators.

 

My early estimates, based on back-of-the-envelope additions extracted from combat accounts since the war began, put the number of terrorists/“insurgents” killed at 20,000 since 2003. I was low—way low.

 

It takes some digging, but slowly the evidence is leaking out. (Special thanks to the anonymous “S” for some numbers). The sources are USA Today, July 26, 2006, and the New York Times of June 7. Both sources cite the statistic of 3,149 “civilians” killed in June 2006. This is consistent with UN reports of 100 civilians per day killed in Iraq in June. Yet the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count put the number of “Iraqi Security Forces and Civilian Deaths” in June at 870. If there were 3,149 “civilians” killed yet only 870 of them were genuinely civilians and security forces, what were the other 2,879 bodies? Terrorists and “insurgents” perhaps? Seems likely.

           

One of the difficulties that the UN and other “objective” observers have had is distinguishing civilians from terrorists. If the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count is anywhere near accurate, however, and some 2,800 “non-civilian” bodies were in Iraq morgues in June, then in fact some 93 terrorists/“insurgents” per day were being removed from the battlefield, or, since March 2003, it means well over 100,000 non-civilians have been killed by coalition forces since the beginning of combat—perhaps upwards of 120,000. To be safe, using UN/New York Times numbers, we arrive at 75 terrorists/“insurgents” per day, or 36,000 dead enemy fighters since combat began.

 

Americans have experienced a killed in action/wounded ratio of 13% (although an astonishing 55% of American wounded return to duty in 72 hours!) Does anyone think the terrorists are experiencing that level of medical success with their wounded? Even at eight wounded for every terrorist killed, at the low end of 36,000 enemy dead, some 288,000 have been wounded since the beginning of combat, to a high-end estimate of 960,000 wounded. This doesn’t even factor in the deserters—all the jihadists who, upon seeing their vile brethren vaporized, quietly dropped the IED and went home, never to fight again. (One indicator that this is an impressive number is the surging size of the Iraqi national army and police forces, made up to some degree of former “dead-enders” who now hope to get on the winning side). Nor does it include the more than 5,000-plus known al-Qaeda dead in Afghanistan under Operation Enduring Freedom.

 

How realistic are these estimates? We glean some insight from reports of specific battles and campaigns that have already been published by the soldiers who were there. For example, Bing West’s book on Fallujah, No True Glory (Random House, 2005), offers insight on the incredible casualties inflicted on the jihadists in that 2004 battle, where one American sniper alone had 100 kills. Iraqi/Baghdad morgue totals, less actual identified civilian deaths, suggest more than 100,000 enemy dead in the last six months, a number consistent with individual battle reports over this time. This was further confirmed by Newsweek’s report last year that the mullahs were running out of males to use as suicide bombers, and they had resorted to using women. Further, the statistics on IEDs, presented earlier in FrontPageMagazine.com, indicate that the terrorists are having to launch more and more attacks with fewer and fewer results.

  

In America’s Victories, I argued that Iraq was a giant “Roach Motel,” in which the terrorists check in, and only leave via the morgue. The real Iraq body count suggest I understated my case by several orders of magnitude. Let me reiterate that no one is looking at the enemy wounded, many of whom will never again fight, or deserters/quitters. As the Japanese found out with their kamikaze pilots, there is a finite number of “warriors” willing to commit suicide. There is also—even for the most fanatical of bushido-ist Japanese and Islamic jihadists—a critical mass in which “fighters” and would-be suicide bombers say “no mas” and quietly abandon the front.

 

The “Roach Motel” strategy, as bloody as it is, works as well for us in Iraq as it worked for Lord Chelmsford when he sent his army into Zululand in 1879 to draw out the Zulus and destroy them.

 

Zarqawi’s last memos testify to the effectiveness of this strategy, as does his corpse.

 

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