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2003-05-23

Was the Invasion of Iraq the Deadliest U.S. Military Campaign for Civilians Since Vietnam?

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We speak with Christian Science Monitor reporter Peter Ford who estimates that 10,000 civilians may have died in the U.S. invasion of Iraq. This translates into 33 Iraqi civilian deaths for every U.S. soldier death

While the world’s attention is focused on the lifting of the UN sanctions in Iraq, we turn now to another story from Iraq that has received practically no attention.

The Christian Science Monitor is reporting the evidence is mounting that suggests between 5,000 and 10,000 Iraqi civilians died during the US invasion.

The Monitor reports that this would make the Iraq war the deadliest campaign for noncombatants that US forces have fought since Vietnam.

The estimate is based on data provided by researchers involved in independent surveys of the country.

It is extremely difficult to obtain casualty figures for either Iraqi civilians or soldiers. As General Tommy Franks said during the Afghanistan invasion, "We don’t do body counts." The Monitor’s estimates are higher than any previously reported.

By another measure of violence against civilians the war in Iraq was particularly brutal. In the 1989 US invasion of Panama, 13 Panamanian civilians died for every US military fatality. If 5,000 Iraqi civilians died in the latest war, that proportion would be 33 to 1.

  • Peter Ford, reporter for the Christian Science Monitor speaking to us from Baghdad.

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