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Is the Iraq war really so different from the Vietnam war?

By Andrew Pollack on 11/09/2006 at 12:15 PM EST

In an argument on Volker's site, someone made the claim that they're nothing alike, and I should "look at the differences in our losses!". Well, I looked. Take a look what I found. In terms of non-mortal casualties per year, there are more in Iraq than in Vietnam. True, there are less deaths. We've gotten much better at patching up kids before they die. I'm all for that, but let's not kid ourselves that Iraq is mostly going well and it's just the media overstating the violence.

The only thing I've seen that gave a hint of this was CNN's report on the surgical hospitals. I think it was called "Bagdad ER" but maybe not.

Here's a few numbers for you. If you'll allow me to pick out a particularly jarring one, take a look at average number of casualties per year. Keep in mind, many of the security and support jobs are now being done by contractors and are not included in the statistics for the Iraq war.

Vietnam War (1964-1975) (11 years)
Total in-theater deaths: 42,785 (Average 3890/year)
Non-Mortal Woundings: 153,303 (Average 13936/year)
Total causulties: 196088 (Average 17826/year)
Percent of fatal casualties: 22%

Iraq War to date (March 2003- November 2006) (3.5 years)
* Total Deaths: 2825 (Average 807/year)
* Non-Mortal Casualties: 46,137(Average 13812/year)
* Total Casualties: 48,962 (Average 13989/year)
Percent of fatal casualties: 05%

* These numbers do not include contracted civilians working in roles previously handled directly by the military.

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: Is the Iraq war really so different from the Vietnam war? By Bruce Perry on 11/09/2006 at 01:06 PM EST
Or as someone on the Daily Show pointed out:

Iraq = dry

Vietname = wet

Next question?
re: Is the Iraq war really so different from the Vietnam war? By Jstork on 11/14/2006 at 04:44 AM EST
As someone who has lived to watch both... the difference is there aren't as
many body bags. BUT through the "miracle" of emergency medicine we are sending
home men and women missing, multiple limbs, enormous head injuires etc. The VA
is still limited to say the least in support. I speak to these people daily.
They are devastated. Once out of the military it's like losing Mom and Dad.
Not accustomed to fending for themselves in the best of circumstances- they are
in the worse situations. NO salary, no decent medical care, no plans for
future. How much planning can a husband, father do when he is learning to
speak or read?
It's the same old "if we don't stop them here... they'll be in our country".

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