REPORT: Putting U.S. Troop Casualty Statistics In Perspective

deathsAt least 73 U.S. troops are reported to have died in Iraq this past month. The numbers are a decline from the all-time highs of 108, 131, and 117 from the previous three months.

Media reports herald the statistics as encouraging and as demonstrating “steady progress” in Iraq. Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno said that the lower death toll was a “positive sign.”

According to, at least 3,653 U.S. troops have died in the 53 months that the war has been going on — a per monthly rate of nearly 69 U.S. troop casualties. Thus, the current month’s total still exceeds the average monthly casualty rate of the entire war.

Moreover, 73 is also greater than the average monthly casualty rate of each of the first four years of the war. A look at the monthly U.S. casualty rates over each of these years:

2003 48.6 per month
2004 70.8 per month
2005 70.5 per month
2006 68.5 per month
2007 92.9 per month

Statistics compiled from

The AP notes that “the daily average for U.S. troop deaths in July was at least 2.35 — higher than the daily average of 2.25 last year, and remarkably consistent with average daily casualties in 2005, at 2.32, and 2004, at 2.33.”

While U.S. troop casualties have fallen, reports indicate Iraqi deaths are rising again in Baghdad to pre-surge levels.