2,000 Troops Dead—and No End in Sight

American casualties reach grim milestone in Iraq


The Toll in Iraq: How Many More Must Die?
illustration: Viktor Koen
flash animation: Don Rainwater
Not all the 2,000 servicemembers who have died in the Iraq war have been identified yet nor added to Pentagon statistics that describe the dead and how they perished. However, the most recent version of those numbers (filed when the toll stood at 1,970) tells us something about the fallen.

They were mostly white (73 percent of them) and fewer than 50 were women. More than half were younger than 24. California, Texas, Pennsylvania, and New York are the states that lost the most soldiers. But American Samoa, Vermont, the Virgin Islands, and North Dakota suffered the most deaths per capita.

Two-thirds were in the Army; most of the rest were Marines, and a quarter of them were reservists or National Guard members. Nearly 60 percent of those killed held ranks lower than corporal, even though they make up only 43 percent of the military.

The vast majority of the dead were killed in combat, but 48 committed suicide and 10 were the victims of homicides. About a third of the dead were felled by "explosive devices," while 30 percent were killed in transportation mishaps. Forty-one died by drowning, 10 by electrocution, six from strokes, three from cancer, three from overdoses, and one by small arms. More of them died in April and November 2004—126 in each month—than in any other. Together, the 2,000 deceased are more than five times larger than the dead of the Persian Gulf War, and still fewer than died in any other U.S. war, the closest being the Spanish American War, in which 2,446 were killed.

These are their names:

 
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