Disinfo: The US military intervention in Iraq in 2003 killed millions of Iraqi civilians


The US military intervention in Iraq in 2003 killed millions of Iraqi civilians.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives that exaggerate the number of civilian casualties of US-led or NATO military interventions claiming that such interventions aim to indiscriminately kill civilians.

Although the US-led invasion in 2003 provoked tragic loss of life among Iraqis, the claim that the US and its allied killed millions of Iraqi civilians is clearly exaggerated, and the article provides no evidence to support this claim. One of the best resources for tracking the number of civilians killed in Iraq is the site Iraqi body count. According to this site, the number of documented civilian deaths in Iraq (from the 2003 invasion until the beginning of 2017) caused by violence is 184,775 to 207,645. Further analysis of the WikiLeaks' Iraq War Logs may add 10,000 civilian deaths.

These figures include not only civilian deaths perpetrated by the US-lead coalition, but also by Iraqi state forces, anti-government forces, ISIS and unknown actors. When ISIS declared a Caliphate from the city of Mosul in June 2014 ISIS became the main cause of civilian deaths in Iraq.

A 2013 analysis by researchers from the US, Canada and Iraq estimates that 461,000 people died in Iraq as a result of war-related causes between the US-led invasion in 2003 and mid-2011. This toll includes not only violent deaths caused by the invasion and the subsequent insurgency but also deaths related to the collapse in Iraq of infrastructure and services.

Read here similar cases claiming that between 1200 and 2500 civilians were killed as a result of NATO’s air campaign in former Yugoslavia and that the US military during the Vietnam war was responsible for the deaths of 3 million Vietnamese and that US-led coalition targets civilians in Syria.


  • Reported in: Issue182
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 22/01/2020
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Iraq
  • Keywords: Military, NATO, Daesh


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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