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Notícies :: guerra
The wages of war: Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant Fatalities in the 2003
29 oct 2003
Conetta, Carl, "The Wages of War: Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant Fatalities in the 2003 Conflict", Cambridge, MA: Commonwealth Institute.
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


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 Najaf
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" targets
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 Warfare"


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

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 are:

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; and,

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 power.
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 estimates.

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 population.
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 ordnance.)

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 include:
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 instance,

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 520).
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 volunteers.

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 military:

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 combatants.

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.

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 combatants.

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 military.
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 noncombatants.
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 personnel.

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 calculation.

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 deaths.

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 graves.

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 commander.(50)

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 estimates.
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 sources.

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 employed.)(56)

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

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