Do you personally know anyone who was killed or wounded in the Iraq war?


If you can answer yes to the question in the headline above, you’re part of a small minority of Americans, as we see HERE:

The nearly decade-long war in Iraq cost the United States dearly in lives, casualties and dollars, but despite the immense toll, the overwhelming majority of Americans know no one who was wounded or killed there.

That sense of personal disengagement is the most striking finding from a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. Just 12 percent of Americans said that they or someone they know was wounded in the war in Iraq, and only 6 percent said they know someone who was killed in the Iraq War.

While 52 percent of Americans said they at least know someone who served in combat in Iraq (including 2 percent who served themselves and 14 percent who had a family member serve), nearly half (44 percent) reported no personal connection at all to those who did the fighting and dying there.

The numbers from the survey largely reflect the reality of today’s professional military. The U.S. Department of Defense states that 1.1 million Americans were deployed to Iraq, and a total of 2.5 million were deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan. That amounts to 1 percent of the nation’s adult population. In comparison, 9 percent of Americans were in uniform during World War II.



  1. “In comparison, 9 percent of Americans were in uniform during World War II.”

    And I suspect a much higher percentage of those deployed was killed or wounded.

  2. Craig Knauss

    You comment piqued my interest, so I looked it up.

    Based on info at this link:
    See Table 523 at

    Proud to Serve
    16.1 million
    The number of U.S. armed forces personnel who served in World War II between Dec. 1, 1941, and Dec. 31, 1946.

    33 months
    The average length of active-duty by U.S. military personnel during WWII.

    Serving Abroad …
    The proportion of U.S. military personnel who served abroad during WWII.

    16 months
    The average time U.S. personnel served overseas during WWII.

    Supreme Sacrifice
    The number of U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines killed in battle in WWII.

    The number of other deaths sustained by U.S. forces during WWII.

    And the Wounded:
    The number of U.S. troops wounded during WWII.

    Therefore it looks like 1,077,000 total casualties out of 16.1 million service people for about 6.7% casualty rate.

  3. Thanks Craig. It is a long story, but I have a particularly soft spot in my heart for WW II vets. This movie is part of the reason why.


  4. Brian Opsahl

    I just watched zero dark thirty last night and for all that could and did go wrong during that mission we were very lucky those brave young men got out of their with lives. That critical mission change the course of the coming election. My only wish is that every single American could have seen the look on Bin Ladins face as Seal Team 6 broke through his door that nite and squeezed the trigger of his life out.

    My Grandfathers generation fought that war and those men saved our asses thats for sure

  5. Craig Knauss


    So do I. But now the ones I knew are all gone.

    I had two uncles who flew in B-24 bombers. Another uncle who was in Tank Corps and got captured in the Battle of the Bulge. I know two others who were in that battle. First wife’s father was a Marine in the Pacific. Her step-father was in the Army in the Pacific. My wife’s father was in Europe at the end of WWII and later in Korea.

    But the biggest number of combat vets I know were in Vietnam. I only know a couple from Iraq.

  6. A slight expansion on my story.

    Both of my grandfathers were WWII vets who rarely talked about their service. My uncle was a Vietnam vet.

    My 13 yo daughter has been involved with creating a project in which she and a group of her friends have been interviewing local WWII vets and videotaping their stories. They have edited these and will provide them to all of the local school libraries so that when kids are studying the war they can hear actual first hand accounts from the vets. They also have interviewed a couple of Holocaust survivors.

    They have been hooked up with our local Honor Flight chapter (that was featured in the documentary) and are now also raising funds for that organization. Several of their interviewees are the stars of the film.

    It has been a very profound experience for all involved.

    If you get a chance to see the movie, I highly recommend it.

  7. doc: My great-uncle Harry Shelly, whom I got to know quite well before he died in 1957, was a big hero in World War I and was personally decorated by King George V of England and General Phillipe Petain of France.

    Here’s a link to stuff about Harry’s heroism:

  8. Thanks Pat.

    Neutralizing a sniper position sounds heroic all right!

    It is actually amazing how many great stories my daughter’s group obtained and how little these men thought of their own heroism.

    One vet was convinced he had nothing intersting to share. The only even slightly interesting thing he thought they might want to hear about was his witnessing of the detonation of the first atomic bomb!

    They are truly living history and their stories and the lives they have led teach us all to be thankful for the great country we live in and the freedoms and blessings we enjoy every day because of men (and women) like them.

  9. Brian Opsahl

    Doc: I sure like this side of you where we can actully agree on good old American issues..

  10. I have lots of sides you would probably like Brian, as I am sure you do too.

    I have made this argument here before: blogs like this and political dialogue in general have become very devisive and many issues end up in black/white in this country with no room for gray.

    I participate at this site because most of the time I find the back and forth entertaining and educational. You might be surprised to know that I have even changed several of my previously held views over the years.

    I am sadly coming to the conclusion though that the majority of our political leaders, on both sides of the aisle, are neither very smart nor care very much about actually leading the country or solving our problems.

    Even more depressing to me is the fact that no “good” person of their right mind is likely to enter the political arena in the current climate of politics.

  11. Brian Opsahl

    well said, couldn’t agree more except that I beleive Mr. Obama is not one of those you discribe, although there are many who fit your profile.

    Now sing kumbyah while holding hands…lol

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