For a while, I had accepted the line that 100,000+ Iraqis were killed by the US military during the Iraq war. Recently however, a pundit claimed that the actual number killed by the US military is much lower. I've been trying to check this, and none of the sources I've found distinguish between those killed by US forces and those killed by other sources (such as sectarian violence).

Does anyone know of a study that makes this distinction?

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    Request for clarification: In your question When the US bombs a chemical plant, and the people in nearby cities are poisoned to death, were they killed by US forces? Or, if a RPG launched by US soldiers kills the income earning parents, and the children starve to death, does this count as "killed by US forces"? Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 1:37
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    @axsv177: collateral damage may be unintentional, but it would not have occurred absent the attack. Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 1:50
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    I can't count numbers, even the media can't be sure about the victims .. I just remember that scary sounds of bombs and planes launched by the US soldiers all over the night - Every night. This will not add any specific information to your blog but it is just something that no one will forget .. people might have died physically, those are what you care .. but many other have been killed slowly "Mentally and psychologically". Those are indirect victims of these attacks that are not counted at all.
    – user20904
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 8:06
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    I recall some many years ago reading either Amnesty or Red Cross report claiming that as many 600000 died indirectly as a result of the Iraq War - it may very well have the figures you are looking for. I'll try and hunt it down but Im going to bed soon.
    – Anaryl
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 12:52
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    @axsvl77 I would definitely include "collateral damage" of the first sort. The second is a bit trickier. I think that, depending on the context of the discussion, I'd distinguish civilian casualties of war from those who died as an indirect result of the US intervention. The latter category of deaths are just as repugnant, but I think it could sometimes be useful to separate the two categories. Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


Iraqi Body Count maintains an online database of incidents with analysis as to the cause of the deaths reported.

The link provided allows you to select the various actors who have been determined by their analysis to be responsible for the deaths. Selecting just those deaths directly determined to be due to the actions of the US-led coalition, the total from 2003 until 2016 is 14,338. This is out of a total of perhaps 181,337 total civilian deaths.

Note that most of the coalition related civilian deaths occurred during the active period of the war, the first two months: over 7,000 civilian deaths.

The incident database documents each incident recorded.

Their methodology is described here.

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    And it is worth mentioning that their answers are estimates. They are very frank about the fact that their work is difficult. They aren't working from objective data, but from the claims of all participants, none of whom are motivated to be objective. There is a huge difference between the Iraqi Body Count project and - for example- weather records, or crop records etc.
    – MCW
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 13:46

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