Institute for the Study of Asymmetric Conflict

Casualty statistics

Today's "low-intensity" conflicts do not involve victory or defeat in the conventional sense; instead, each side attempts to achieve a psycho-political victory by influencing people's thoughts and feelings about the issues in dispute. Casualty statistics are an important element in forming these thoughts and feelings; in turn, a robust incident and casualty database can be an important tool in coming to an accurate understanding of complex conflicts with multiple actors and incident types. For a casualty database to produce meaningful, informative, and accurate results, it must have a rich array of well-defined categories to which to assign incidents and casualty data. It must also be conceived, designed, and administered with a strict adherence to accuracy rather than advocacy as a primary goal.

June 24, 2002
An Engineeered Tragedy

Between September 2000 and September 2002, Israeli and Palistinian Arabs were engaged in a “low-intensity conflict” generally referred to as the “al-Aqsa Intifada”. This conflict caused over 2,200 deaths so far; and yet, its most significant aspect seems to be the struggle for international public opinion rather than any effort at gaining a conventional military victory. A thorough accounting and analysis of the conflict’s incidents and casualties not only provided a better understanding of the conflict, but also demonstrated the effifacy of casualty statistics in determining whether the "Principle of Distinction" had been adhered to by both sides.

By Don Radlauer
Tags: casualty statistics, laws of war, intifada
Incident and Casualty Databases as a Tool for Understanding Low-Intensity Conflicts

In "low-intensity" conflicts, each side attempts to achieve a psycho-political victory by influencing people's thoughts and feelings about the issues in dispute. Casualty statistics are an important element in forming these thoughts and feelings. 

By Don Radlauer
Tags: Don Radlauer
June 20, 2002
An Engineered Tragedy: Summary of Findings
By Don Radlauer
Tags: conflict, laws of war, casualties