Canadian death rate in Kandahar outpaces U.S. in Iraq

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  1. Canadian death rate in Kandahar outpaces that of U.S. in Iraq
    Tom Blackwell, with files from Allison Lampert, CanWest News Service; National Post
    Published: Thursday, January 03, 2008
    TORONTO - The death rate among Canadian soldiers fighting around Kandahar has outstripped not only that of U.S. and British troops in Afghanistan, but Americans in the bloody Iraq war as well, the forces' own figures indicate.

    A Defence Department analysis of casualty rates in the first year of operations in and around Kandahar - obtained by the National Post under Access to Information legislation - confirms unofficial reports that Canada has suffered a lopsided toll in the conflict.

    Canadian soldiers died at a rate 2.6 to four times higher than the British and Americans in Afghanistan and two to 2.6 times higher than U.S. forces in Iraq, according to the April 2007 number-crunching by Barbara Strauss, an official with the Forces' health services group.


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    Font:****The proportion of Canadian soldiers killed by enemy action is higher even than it was in all but one year of the Second World War, the government document indicates.

    The numbers reflect that Canadians are operating in one of the most dangerous pockets of the country, Lt.-Col. Jamie Robertson, a Defence spokesman, said in an interview Wednesday.

    "You can look at statistics, but that doesn't take into account that Kandahar province is very different from even Helmand province next door (where the British operate)," he said.

    "It's a totally different threat environment. We are in the former heartland of the Taliban, and obviously they have resorted to tactics designed to force casualties among civilians and security forces whenever possible."

    Some experts say another reason for the relative beating taken by Canadian soldiers may be that they have no heavy-transport helicopters of their own, forcing them to rely more on ground transportation and face the threat of roadside bombs. Others disagree, noting that helicopters have crashed or been shot down in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Canadian deaths at the hands of the insurgents dipped somewhat in 2007, to 27 from 32 the year before, with the rate seeming to slow in the second half of the year especially. The total since this country first got involved in Afghanistan is 74.

    Brig.-Gen. Guy LaRoche, who heads the Canadian force in Afghanistan, attributed the recent drop in fatalities to new equipment, including the metal-detecting Husky vehicle, and a change in strategy toward more foot patrols. A growing number of Afghan security forces are also helping coalition forces hold more ground won in battles, he said.

    The report by Strauss, dated April 24, 2007, calculates "hostile" deaths during 2006 as a ratio of the total number of Canadian, American and British forces in Afghanistan.

    For the Canadians, the death rate ranged from 1.3 to 1.6 per cent, compared to 0.3 to 0.6 per cent for their allies in Afghanistan, and 0.5 to 0.6 per cent for the U.S. forces in Iraq.

    The Canadian rate is higher than the proportion of troops killed in action during all years of the Second World War other than 1944, when close to half Canada's 45,000 deaths occurred.

    Between 2,500 and 6,800 Canadian troops died annually in 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1945, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. But the rate of deaths those years was actually lower than it has been in Afghanistan. The death rate in 1941 was 0.4 per cent, 1942 (0.6 per cent), 1943 (0.6 per cent), 1945 (1.1 per cent). The death rate for 1944 was 3.4 per cent.

    "We are, with the British, in the hotbed of the insurgency," said Steven Staples of the Rideau Institute, a think tank opposed to Canada's involvement in Afghanistan. He said Canadians need to evaluate seriously whether such losses are justified by the mission in Kandahar.

    Another expert, though, cautioned against reading too much into the figures.

    The numbers in Afghanistan are relatively small, which can skew statistics, and the comparison with the American allies may not be accurate, said Don Macnamara, a retired brigadier general and board member of the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies.

    The U.S. forces typically have far more troops involved in support roles and therefore out of harm's way, which would lower their rate of fatalities, he noted.

    "Let's not run off with any conclusions before we do further analysis," he said.

    National Post
     
  2. The links gone.

    And comments by reporters like

    Is this for ground forces or navy and air force in total. Not many Canadian ground forces were used except for Dieppe and 44 onwards.

    And silly as you cannot easily find the answer to rebuff them so people take them at face value.

    I this poor tactics, poor survivability of vehicles or poor use of troops. And what are the numbers, I think the US casualties in Iraq are over 3000. I always find these figures a little silly as they have very little depth.
     
  3. Having now read the complete article I would agree with the brigadier when he said

    The U.S. forces typically have far more troops involved in support roles and therefore out of harm's way, which would lower their rate of fatalities, he noted.

    The Canadians do not have a long tail to support the front line.
     
  4. They've also taken a large number of casualties in IEDs which have caused bigger casualties in a lower number of incidents. That said while the Canadians are pulling their weight, this has become a real issue with Ottawa. I'd be looking to the report of the Manley Commission with real interest as I'm not 100% convinced we can be sure of a Canadian presence as of next year - at least not in its current form.
     
  5. "Some experts say another reason for the relative beating taken by Canadian soldiers may be that they have no heavy-transport helicopters of their own, forcing them to rely more on ground transportation and face the threat of roadside bombs. Others disagree, noting that helicopters have crashed or been shot down in both Iraq and Afghanistan"

    I think lack of helicopters is a contributory factor. Remember south armagh where everyone went by helo. I know that PIRA arent the taleban but the tactics must still apply where it isn't secure by road...I'm prepared to be corrected though.
     
  6. No your point appears to be sound to me. The Canadian Forces (which technically don't have 3 seperate services but land, sea and air arms of one big happy :?: triservice family) have like the British forces paid the price for the peace dividend of the 90's with cutback after cutback, and this is now coming back to bite them in the arse. :x

    I hope their Government rectifies this problem better than ours is, but I won't hold my breath. :roll:
     
  7. I find this appalling - attaching statistics to soldiers deaths in this way, it appears that the media of one nation are claiming one upmanship through the deaths of their servicemen.

    It clearly shows that to some soldiers are only a number after all.
     
  8. While I agree with your sentiment, it does help to highlight shortages that coalition soldiers are having to deal with. If it helps to bring more helicoptors and armoured vehicles to the brave men and women serving, then it will be worth while. :)

    However, it is vital to get the civvies back home on side. The Canadians have tremendous support from their civilian population, who show it by buying yellow ribbons, car stickers etc... whose profits go towards supporting those serving personnel and their families who are injured or killed (whether on or off duty at the time). :D

    I feel it is a pity that the UK doesn't adopt a similar policy, because I believe that the majority of the UK civ pop supports the military (even if they don't believe in the war). However, no doubt, displaying stickers and waving flags etc... wouldn't be allowed as it would probably upset some scumbag wannabe terrorist and all his loonie, lefty, liberal supporters and be labelled as being 'racist'. Nuff said. :roll:
     
  9. It's true the majority of the Civ Pop supports the Canadian's in Afgan. but it's news reports like this that undermine anything useful that is taking place over there. With every death the bleeding heart liberals climb off the fence and pour more fuel onto the "bring the troops home campaign".
     
  10. Rather rash and unfounded statements to.

    Firstly publicising one nations deaths as being greater than another is just number spinning - it provides nothing extra for the troops on the ground.

    Secondly: I am currently serving in Canada and am aware of the Civilian support for service personnel, from what i have seen it is no more and no less that that of the UK.
     
  11. It doesn't matter how you express the number killed and wounded , it is still a totally futile war that can never be won . Withdraw all forces immediately and replace them with politicians from the various countries .
     
  12. Totally agree, its a manipulation of numbers and statistics and it shouldn't be. It doesn't matter from which nation they come from the loss of any serviceperson is a tragedy.
     
  13. Well said OldTimer
    Troops Out Politico's In
    john
    Soon get increase in Front Line Pay.