Tragic, of course, but not nearly as bad as initially reported

Sectarian violence sweeps Iraq, 51 killed
Attacks kill more than 1,000 in month since bombing of Shiite shrine

In other words, about a quarter less than we were all told had been killed on the first day after the bombing. Remember all the “1,300 dead” headlines? I never saw any major media organizations run any clarifications or corrections. I only saw the errors pointed out in blogs and such.

Now a month later they get to run their grim headlines once again.

UPDATE: A commenter points out that we’re not hearing anything about the average montlhy death toll among Iraqi civilians, and that’s a good point. According to the obviously-slanted Iraq Body Count web site, the range of reported deaths through March 12th is 33,710 – 37,832. Given that this is the third anniversary of the invasion, that comes to about 1,000 dead per month.

Unfortunately, the site doesn’t seem to make it easy to get monthly numbers, so it’s hard to compare this “1,000 dead in a month” headline to any previous months. It’s been my impression that casualties among Iraqi civilians have been holding steady or increasing over the past year, though I don’t know for sure. If that’s the case, it seems to me that this 1,000 in the past four weeks isn’t terribly out of line, though.

Does anyone know where we can get quasi-accurate monthly numbers to compare? We need some context to know if this number is particularly meaningful. 1,000 dead is terrible in any context, of course. But if we’re going to talk numbers we need more numbers.


  1. You would think the press would be competent enough to know that first reports are always exagerated. How much are they being payed for incompetent work? And by who? I still think that they are defacto allies with AQ. The press has a symbiotic relationship with the terrs.

  2. The ‘MSM’ thrives and profits on Sensationalism> If they actually came out and stated they were on the side of al-Qaeda I’d have more respect for them than the current parasitic ‘we’ll go with the slant that sells the most papers and draws the most advertizing money agenda!’ Just ask Mike Wallace.

  3. Notice how the article does not recount average monthly deaths for the period prior to the shrine attack, yet uses the word sectarian to imply the possibility of large scale sectarian massacres a la Rwanda. During the Rwandan massacres, 400,000 people were killed a month over a 2 month period. During sectarian riots in India, Hindus killed 2,000 Muslims in a matter of days, in response to an incident where Muslims set on fire a train carrying Hindus (58 were killed).

  4. The following anti-war* website adds up press stats: There may be some duplication, but it’s probably similar what the press uses. Since this website started compiling numbers, the lowest number has been in the mid-400’s, and the highest number was 1800 or so, in August 2005. * Why anti-war? I don’t see stats about what US forces are doing to the enemy. It’s all tight shots of what war does to the people on our side. No news about Saddam’s atrocities (or terrorist atrocities, except editorials masquerading as news about how they’re winning and we’re losing).

  5. Shipmates, I also don’t see many MSM types talking about the nearly identical figures of US Teenagers killed on our highways each month. We lose an average of 10,000 teenagers a year due to Alcohol, Speed, inattention, etc. We lose 2300+ troops in 3 years in Iraq and it’s a ‘quagmire’ and ‘hopeless’. We kill 25,000+ on our highways in ONE YEAR, and it doesn’t even make the news….. That’s perspective. It’s what should be said, but the MSM won’t. Respects,

  6. Check the Brookings Institute Iraq index, they have monthly casualty stats including civilians: PDF here It seems pretty inconclusive to me. The trend since October last year is essentially flat. Before that there was a massive spike (I think it was that bridge incident).

  7. Well the US averages around 80 gun related deaths each day. So in the same month we lost 2400 people. So I think in all fairness, the people who want the US out of Iraq are right. I mean we need to deploy the army in the US to cut down the death rate here. Thousands are dying each month… … But then again, would we really want the army in the middle of a civil war…they might get hurt. On second thought, we need to send the army to antartica, where gun violence is rare and the troops will be safe.