As at 28 December 2006, a total of 127 British Armed Forces personnel have died serving on Operation TELIC since the start of the campaign in March 2003 according to official figures. Of these, 97 are classed as killed in action, including as a result of hostile action, and 30 are known to have died either as a result of illness, non-combat injuries or accidents, or have not yet been officially assigned a cause of death, pending the outcome of an investigation. The balance of these figures may change as inquests are concluded. Set against the 3,000 plus American dead in Iraq, reported British casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan appear remarkably ‘light’ – to all except the families and comrades of the fallen.
The true figures are in fact likely to be far higher, however. In January 2006, the British Defence Minister claimed that there were only 230 British wounded since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. That figure was too low for anyone to take seriously and within 2 months of constant pressure, the more accurate figure of 6,700 British servicemen and women needing hospital treatments was given by the British Ministry of Defence.
The UK government was forced to admit that 4,000 British soldiers were seriously injured enough to be flown back to the UK for medical treatment in the previous three years. It is worth bearing in mind that the total British contingent is 8,000. With an admitted 4,000 casualties, the figure of 109 military deaths seems incredibly low and could only be reached if the Bush method of calculating casualties is used.
The Bush method works as follows:-
Soldiers killed or injured in any other way other than a direct bullet or bomb. In other words, if a pilot or driver crashes because he had to evade a missile or bomb, it would not be counted as a death.
The dying and critically wounded are listed as en route to military hospitals outside of the country and not reported on the daily postings. This means a soldier who was shot and/or wounded but died on a flight to a U.S. military hospital would not be counted.
Anyone who dies in hospital or a U.S. military base.
Anyone who suffers from severe mental illnesses as a direct result of the war. This category includes those who are medically diagnosed as depressed and/or suicidal.
Anyone who is seemingly not seriously hurt at the time of a bombing or battle but who has long term physical or mental problems as a result. The most common example of this are soldiers who survive a road side bomb but who suffer long term brain damage.
Soldiers in the U.S. Army who are not U.S. citizens. These are commonly citizens of poor South and Central American countries who are persuaded to fight in the hope of U.S. citizenship after years of risking their lives.
Pentagon sources speaking anonymously have confirmed that the actual death toll of U.S. service personnel as of 1st May 2006 in Iraq is in excess of 12,000. The real number of casualties – i.e. those unable to return to active service – is in excess of 150,000. He also confirmed that all reports from the U.S. military in Iraq confirmed that Iraqi resistance to the occupation growing better organized and more deadly by the day.