Death toll: Occupation in Iraq

It has been nearly impossible to determine exact civilian casualty figures during and after the US invasion.

Iraq US troops

Data source: Brookings Iraq Index    

The 2003 US invasion of Iraq was sold to the American public as a war to defend the nation and free the Iraqi people.

Then-US vice-president Dick Cheney said the military effort in Iraq would take “weeks rather than months”.

Paul Wolfowitz, the US deputy secretary of defence at the time, said US soldiers would be greeted as liberators and that Iraqi oil money would pay for the reconstruction of the country.

But the costs have steadily risen, in financial terms and in lives – both military and civilian.

The highest number of US soldiers to be killed in Iraq was just over 900, in 2007, the same year that then-president George W Bush announced that a surge of 21,000 extra troops would enter the country.

For Iraqi military members and police, the bloodiest year on record was 2005, when just over 2,500 were killed.

The number of civilian casualties during the eight-year occupation of Iraq has been less easy to pin down.


Data sources: Brookings Iraq Index, The Lancet Survey, Iraq Health Ministry, AP  

Since the US-led coalition invasion of Iraq in March 2003, accurate casualty figures for Iraqi civilians have been almost impossible to confirm.

One of the highest estimates was published in the UK medical journal The Lancet, which said that over 600,000 violent deaths occurred between the invasion and June 2006.

Most other estimates of civilian deaths are much lower, with the Iraq Index published by the Brookings Institution in Washington DC reporting nearly 115,000 civilan deaths from March 2003 to April 2011.

The Iraq Index also says that nearly 4,500 US troops have been killed in Iraq since the start of hostilities.

Between 800 and 900 US troops died each year from 2004 to 2007.

But casualties have fallen since then with just 60 deaths last year and 24 so far in 2011.

Source: Al Jazeera