|Casualties and losses|
|172 killed (139 US, 33 UK) ||Estimated Iraqi combatant fatalities: |
30,000 (figure attributed to General Tommy Franks), John Keegan Estimates: several thousand combatant deaths.
7,600–10,800 (4,895–6,370 observed and reported) (Project on Defense Alternatives study)
13,500–45,000 (extrapolated from fatality rates in units serving around Baghdad)
|Estimated Iraqi civilian fatalities: |
7,269 (Iraq Body Count)
3,200–4,300 (Project on Defense Alternatives study)
2003 Iraq War Casualties: Death toll
While estimates on the number of casualties during the invasion in Iraq vary widely, the majority of deaths and injuries have occurred after U.S. President Bush declared the end of "major combat operations" on May 1, 2003. According to CNN, the U.S. government reported that 139 American military personnel were killed before May 1, 2003, while over 4,000 have been killed since 2003. Estimates on civilian casualties are more variable than those for military personnel. According to Iraq Body Count, a group that relies on press reports, NGO-based reports and official figures to measure civilian casualties, approximately 7,500 civilians were killed during the invasion phase, while more than 60,000 civilians have been killed as of April 2007.
In November 2006 Iraq's Health Minister Ali al-Shemari said that since the March 2003 invasion between 100,000 and 150,000 Iraqis have been killed. Al-Shemari based his figure on an estimate of 100 bodies per day brought to morgues and hospitals – such a calculation would come out closer to 130,000 in total.
The Lancet surveys of casualties of the Iraq War, conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, estimates much higher civilian casualties, but does not differentiate between the invasion phase (March–May 2003) and the occupation phase (post May 2003). The Lancet survey estimates that over 650,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the conflict, with the vast majority of these deaths occurring after May 2003. These studies were highly controversial at their time of publication, attracting considerable criticism.
On January 9, 2008, the World Health Organization reported the results of the Iraq Family Health Survey published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study surveyed 9,345 households across Iraq and estimated 151,000 deaths due to violence (95% uncertainty range, 104,000 to 223,000) from March 2003 through June 2006. Employees of the Iraqi Health Ministry carried out the survey.
A September 14, 2007 estimate by ORB (Opinion Research Business), an independent British polling agency, suggests that the total Iraqi violent death toll due to the Iraq War since the US-led invasion is more than 1.2 million (1,220,580). Although higher than the 2006 Lancet estimate, these results, which were based on a survey of 1499 adults in Iraq from August 12–19, 2007, are reasonably consistent with the figures that were published in the Lancet study.
On January 28, 2008, ORB published an update based on additional work carried out in rural areas of Iraq. Some 600 additional interviews were undertaken and as a result of this the death estimate was revised to 1,033,000 with a given range of 946,000 to 1,120,000.
Over 4.2 million Iraqis, more than 16% of the Iraqi population, have lost their homes and become refugees since 2003. As of June 21, 2007, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that 2.2 million Iraqis had been displaced to neighboring countries, and 2 million were displaced internally, with nearly 100,000 Iraqis fleeing to Syria and Jordan each month. Roughly 40% of Iraq's middle class is believed to have fled, the U.N. said. Most are fleeing systematic persecution and have no desire to return. All kinds of people, from university professors to bakers, have been targeted by militias, insurgents and criminals. Approximately 331 school teachers were slain in the first four months of 2006, according to Human Rights Watch, and at least 2,000 Iraqi doctors have been killed and 250 kidnapped since the 2003 U.S. invasion.
The UN reports that although Christians comprise less than 5% of Iraq's population, they make up nearly 40% of the refugees fleeing Iraq. More than 50% of Iraqi Christians have already left the country. In 1987, the last Iraqi census counted 1.4 million Christians. But as the war has radicalized Islamic sensibilities, Christians' total numbers slumped to about 500,000, of whom 250,000 live in Baghdad. Furthermore, the Mandaean and Yazidi communities are at the risk of elimination due to ethnic cleansing by Islamic extremists. As many as 110,000 Iraqis could be targeted as collaborators because of their work for coalition forces.
A May 25, 2007 article noted that in the previous seven months, only 69 people from Iraq had been granted refugee status in the United States.
War Crimes in 2003 Iraq War
After the ambush of the 507th Maintenance Company during the battle of Nasiriyah on March 23, the bodies of several American soldiers who had been killed in the ambush were shown on Iraqi television. Some of these soldiers had visible gunshot wounds to head, leading to speculation that they had been executed. Except for Sgt. Donald Walters, no evidence has since surfaced to support this scenario and it is generally accepted that the soldiers were killed in action. Five live prisoners of war were also interviewed on the air, a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
Sergeant Donald Walters was initially reported to have been killed in the March 23 ambush of the 507th Maintenance Company after killing several Fedayeen before running out of ammunition. However, an eyewitness later reported that he had seen Walters being guarded by several Fedayeen in front of a building. Forensics work later found Walters' blood in front of the building and blood spatter suggesting he died from two gunshot wounds to the back at close range. This led the Army to conclude that Walters had been executed after being captured, and he was posthumously awarded the Prisoner of War Medal in 2004.
It was alleged in the authorized biography of Pfc. Jessica Lynch that she was raped by her captors after her capture as part of the 507th Maintenance Company, based on medical reports and the pattern of her injuries, though this is not supported by Ms Lynch. Mohammed Odeh al-Rehaief, who later helped American forces rescue Lynch, stated that he saw an Iraqi Colonel slap Lynch while she was in her hospital bed. The staff at the hospital where Lynch was held later denied both stories, saying that Lynch was well cared for. While Lynch suffers from amnesia due to her injuries, Lynch herself has denied any mistreatment whilst in captivity.
Also on March 23, a British Army engineering unit made a wrong turn near the town of Az Zubayr, which was still held by Iraqi forces. The unit was ambushed and Sapper Luke Allsopp and Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth became separated from the rest. Both were captured and executed by Iraqi irregular forces. In 2006, a video of Allsopp lying on the ground surrounded by Iraqi irregular forces was discovered.
Marine Sergeant Fernando Padilla-Ramirez was reported missing from his supply unit after an ambush north of Nasiriyah on March 28. His body was later dragged through the streets of Ash-Shatrah and hung in the town square. His body was later taken down and buried by sympathetic locals. His body was discovered by American forces on April 10.
During the Battle of Nasiriyah, there was an incident where Iraqi irregulars feigned surrender to approach an American Marine unit securing a bridge. After getting close to the Marines, the Iraqis suddenly opened fire, killing 10 Marines and wounding 40. In response, American forces reinforced security procedures for dealing with prisoners of war.
On March 30, soldiers from the British Royal Scots Dragoon Guards reported that they had observed Fedayeen fighters using children as human shields in the village of Kuj Al Mum. On March 31, Iraqi Republican Guard units were reported to be using women as human shields outside of Hindiyah. Many other incidents of Fedayeen fighters using human shields were reported from various towns in Iraq.
Some reports indicate that the Fedayeen used ambulances to deliver messages and transport fighters into combat. On March 31, Fedayeen forces in a Red Crescent marked ambulance attacked American soldiers outside of Nasiriyah, wounding 3.
During the Battle of Basra, British forces of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) reported that on March 28, Fedayeen forces opened fire on thousands of civilian refugees fleeing the city, wounding several people.
Fedayeen and Republican Guard forces were reported to have executed Iraqi soldiers who tried to surrender on multiple occasions, as well as threatening the families of those who refused to fight. One such incident was directly observed during the Battle of Debecka Pass.