An Argument for Documenting Casualties

An Argument for Documenting Casualties: Violence Against Iraqi Civilians 2006

Katharine Hall
Dale Stahl
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 70
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  • Book Info
    An Argument for Documenting Casualties
    Book Description:

    This study examines available open-source data on Iraqi civilian fatalities and assesses problems associated with previous collection efforts. The authors present a new and more robust RAND Corporation Iraqi civilian violence dataset from which they derive observations about trends in targeting and weapons in 2006. These findings lead to a proposed framework for future civilian fatality data-collection efforts in Iraq and beyond.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4532-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    As expressed in the U.S. Army counterinsurgency (COIN) field manual (FM), two of the main goals of military operations in the COIN context are to secure the population and separate the insurgency from the populace.¹ Achieving these aims is of paramount importance to realizing other objectives of a COIN campaign. Logically, securing the population requires some understanding of what is happening to it:

    the level of violence it is experiencing

    the types of hostilities occurring and the targets being attacked

    the effects that these hostilities have on the population and on the organizations seeking to respond to the population’s needs...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Counting Iraqi Civilian Deaths
    (pp. 3-16)

    To begin an analysis of violence against Iraqi civilians, the RAND team examined currently available open-source information on violent incidents and civilian fatalities. This chapter outlines the methodologies and findings of four major datasets: theLancetstudy, the UN, IBC, and the Iraqi government. This examination also highlights the limitations of each, demonstrating the need for better collection efforts. Table 2.1 provides an overview of this comparison.

    Iraqi civilian fatalities became a hot topic in the media and in the U.S. Congress when theLancetpublished a 2006 study that reported an estimated 655,000 civilian deaths in Iraq since the...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Detailed Analysis of RAND’s Civilian Violence Dataset
    (pp. 17-32)

    In an effort to obtain more-comprehensive data on Iraqi civilian fatalities, RAND has compiled its own dataset. Work to create this database started under another RAND project, sponsored by the Department of Defense Joint Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Defeat Organization (JIEDDO),¹ to examine civilian fatalities due to IEDs, but the database was completed and fully analyzed for 2006 during this study. Like the IBC dataset, the RAND dataset relies on media reporting; however, it also combines the RAND-MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base with IBC incidents.

    RAND’s database on incidents of terrorism around the world is maintained in coordination with the MIPT.²...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Recent Developments: COIN and the U.S. Military’s Data Collection Effort
    (pp. 33-44)

    In December 2006, three years after the U.S.–led Coalition invasion of Iraq, the U.S. Army published its first FM on COIN operations in over 20 years. The FM, Which was written jointly with the U.S. Marine Corps, is the only current, official COIN-specific military guidance. While it can be argued that Iraq does not fit the mold of a traditional insurgency environment, the FM is the best source for understanding how the U.S. military conceptualizes its operations in Iraq, which have clearly extended beyond conventional warfare, and include the following: postcombat and stability operations, provision of essential services (military...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions and Recommendations: A Better Collection Framework
    (pp. 45-48)

    This monograph has examined the violence directed against the civilian population in Iraq. After reviewing data available on violent attacks on Iraqis, the RAND study team has determined that a comprehensive source of information does not exist, particularly one that provides the detail necessary for U.S. military policymakers and troops on the ground. Using available unclassified information, the RAND study team merged two databases and conducted extensive coding to answer the key questions of who is being killed, where, and how. Accordingly, this study provides a detailed analysis in response to these questions for the year 2006. This analysis provides...

  14. References
    (pp. 49-52)