Iraq Relative Risk Update

I am beating a dead horse yet again, but I feel it is part of the public service of this blog to fight the occassional talking point that Iraq is no more dangerous to a US soldier than living in the United States. Instead Iraq is far more dangerous for US troops than any public safety occupations in the United States.

For instance the most recent Bureua of Justice Statistics report has 708,022 sworn officers at the state and local levels. The most recent FBI statistics had 122 officers die while on duty, of which fifty five were due to hostile fire. This gives an annualized rate of roughly 7.7 deaths per 100,000 sworn officers due to hostile fire and the more generalized 17.2 deaths per 100,000 sworn officers due to all causes while on duty.

Now in Iraq, the US forces in Iraq averaged roughly 140,000 soldiers in country at anyone time during 2005. Accoring to Iraq Coalition Casualty Count 846 US soldiers died in or due to serving in Iraq during 2005. 676 deaths were due to hostile fire. The hostile fire death rate for US soldiers in Iraq 482 deaths/100,000 deployed man years in 2005, and the overall death rate was 605/100,000 deployed man years.

Neglecting accounting for age, health and the massive uparmoring a US infantry man has over the local beat cop so that an burst of AK-47 fire against the chest of the infantryman wearing heavy body armor creates a bad pattern of bruising versus killing the cop, the relative probability of death for a US soldier in Iraq is roughly 63 times more likely than that of a sworn US officer due to hostile fire and a slightly better 35 times more likely for all causes.

Once you start throwing in adjustments for body armor and age, the probable risk of death for a US infantryman versus a US police officer working in the US becomes even higher.

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