Talk:Civilian casualties

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source of numbers on civilian casualty ratios[edit]

are there any civilian casualty ratios numbers out there kind of like 2 or 3000 from wtc bombing compares with a million dead from Iraq war as a 1:300 casualty ratio

or wwII

French or german uniforms: 5 million uniforms 17 million dead 1 per three civilian casualty ratio


<quote>One example of unintended civilian casualties is when an aircraft targets a bridge with a missile, then lauches the missile, and the pilot realizes that a bus full of women and children is driving onto the bridge. The bridge explodes, collapses, and the bus and its occupants are destroyed.</quote>

Women and children are more civilian than men?

This seems tendentious & disputable to me[edit]

These statements seem tendentious to me and disputable:

This statement is fine & is factually true:

"The United States military, also, historically has been willing to attack civilian targets if it is determined that mission success is more valuable than the risk of civilian casualties."

Now the disputable comments begin:

"This is a determination that is not taken lightly."

Some argue that the USA does make these determinations lightly for which there is ample evidence.

The next statement is also tendentious:

"Since anti-war and enemy propagandists often jump at the chance to discredit US military action, such an attack can be detrimental to the mission despite operational success"

"propagandists often jump at the chance to discredit US"--this statement is highly inflammatory and unnecessary.

Why are any of the disputable statements in the article?

Improving this article[edit]

Hi. I have made some improvements, if anyone disagrees then 'be bold' and make further changes. 13:40, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Combatant/Non-combatant confusion[edit]

There should be a section dedicatd to the confusion or the difficulty in counting civilian casualties when the combatants are not part of a recognized national military and/or are dressed as civilians. Examples include the Viet Cong, Al Qaida, and otehr groups. This should also address the issue of when one side chooses to fight or chooses to attack the other in a civilian-populated area, or use civilian areas as a base or sanctuary. Boneyard90 (talk) 17:22, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Removed unsourced statement[edit]

The civilian casualty section includes a huge and completely undocumented leap -- saying that the proportion of civilian deaths has been steadily rising. The article that this section points to says exactly the opposite, or a muddled picture at best. I'm removing it.Msalt (talk) 22:20, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Reliable sources[edit]

I've researched the topic of civilian casualties for several years now and have never found any credible source to show that 90% of all war-related deaths are civilian. In the body of macroquantitative research on war it is not unusual to come across some "magical" figures which are repeated and reiterated over and over again, and the 90% figure is one of them that Wikipedia has been guilty of repeating. Some of the citations can be traced back to Ahlstrom and Nordquist's 1991 "Casualties of conflict: report for the world campaign for the protection of victims of war," which includes refugees and internally displaced persons as casualties, and is in turn partially based on Eckhardt, W. (1989). "Civilian deaths in wartime." Security Dialogue 20(1): 89-98. Eckhardt himself stated that, with a few exceptions, most wars produce an equal number of civilian and combatant casualties.

A statement in this article which I have taken the liberty of removing referred to the ICRC report (without actually citing it); this report used as a source Crimes of War by Roy Gutman and David Rieff, however the book does not cite a source for the 10-to-1 figure.Cmacauley (talk) 17:26, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

Some researchers have included refugees and internally displaced persons[edit]

From the history of the article:

  • 12:42, 8 September 2015‎ PBS (removed the sentence from the lead that start with weasel words "Some researchers have included" what would be surprising would be researchers excluding refugees as civilians!.) (undo)
  • 12:51, 9 September 2015‎ Callinus (Reverted good faith edits by PBS (talk): It's in terms of the word "casualty" - some researchers include IDPs forced to leave as casualties as well as injured/dead. (TW)) (rollback: 1 edit | undo | thank)

The wording:

Some researchers have included refugees and internally displaced persons in their definition of "civilian casualty".[1]


  1. ^ Ahlstrom, C. and K.-A. Nordquist (1991). "Casualties of conflict: report for the world campaign for the protection of victims of war." Uppsala, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University.

There are several things wrong with this sentence first it uses weal words "some researchers" does that mean three? If so, three out of how many? If not what is the ratio for "some"? The second thing that is wrong with it is that this is not a summary of anything in the article -- see the lead guideline:

The lead serves as an introduction to the article and a summary of its most important aspects... The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview. It should define the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the most important points, including any prominent controversies

The fact that it needs citation and mentions something not touched upon within the article is a strong indication of this. If this sentence is to go anywhere in the article (and UNDUE needs to be sorted out first) it rightfully belongs in the section currently named "International law" (which would need a new section header). -- PBS (talk) 15:38, 9 September 2015 (UTC)

@PBS: Moved out of lead.-- Callinus (talk) 16:29, 9 September 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. -- PBS (talk) 17:35, 9 September 2015 (UTC)

Binksternet, stop keep on removing balance information on lesser-well known articles.[edit]

Binksternet, your excuse is that you need to keep in consensus when it's supposed to stay in the main article, where it's supposed to be discussed, not just add what you want and use some excuse to make it appear legitimate. This is not neutral and you keep on posting information even without explanation. It's supposed to be balanced, not to confuse readers what the actual casualty are. XXzoonamiXX (talk) 16:58, 6 November 2015 (UTC)

Since you don't say anything concrete here, your post must be incomprehensible to anybody but you and me; the two people who have seen your long-term activity on this issue. Let me explain below what has been going on, so that others may understand. Binksternet (talk) 04:53, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
  • The basic issue is that XXzoonamiXX has a different opinion about what we should tell the reader regarding the number of people who were killed by atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He thinks the numbers should be lower.
  • On December 18, 2013, XXzoonamiXX changed 70,000 deaths to 40,000. He was reverted/corrected by Oda Mari.[1]
  • On June 28, 2014, XXzoonamiXX made this change to the article called Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, changing the Nagasaki death estimate from "40,000 to 75,000" to "35,000-40,000". XXzoonamiXX was reverted by Mirokado, who also asked XXzoonamiXX to make his edits clearer, as opposed to hiding significant changes inside other changes. XXzoonamiXX did not understand Mirokado's request.
  • That little battle spurred me to revert XXzoonamiXX again and to start a talk page discussion titled Counting the deaths at Nagasaki. I presented a bunch of high-quality sources, all with different estimates of dead and wounded. XXzoonamiXX argued that we should not represent the published sources by telling the reader the lowest and highest reliable estimates—instead he wanted to decide on a smaller range, one that was sort of a median range, throwing out the high and low reliable estimates. XXzoonamiXX kept edit-warring[2][3] his favorite numbers into the article during discussion, but he did not carry his point against myself, Lentower and Timmytim6912. I implemented the numbers that we had arrived at on the talk page, but XXzoonamiXX tried to tell the reader that these numbers were less than reliable, but this was reverted.
  • Having been frustrated at the main article about the atomic bombings, XXzoonamiXX went to other articles which mentioned the death estimates, and tried to implement his preferred numbers:
So we see that XXzoonamiXX has been edit warring over this issue for 16 months, spreading his efforts widely over a group of related articles, trying to insert lower death estimates in other articles, even though the reliable sources give a wide range of death estimates. I don't agree whatsoever with his assertion that a wide range may be presented to the reader at the main article but a smaller, lower range, or a single lower figure can be presented at other articles. My position is that we use the same death estimate range every time the number comes up, on all articles. Binksternet (talk) 04:53, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

Arriving at a consensus on "My position is that we use the same death estimate range every time the number comes up"[edit]

Agreed that we use the same death estimate range on all articles that mention them. — Lentower (talk) 20:31, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

Comment using the same range be could done with an inline template, so N articles do not need to be edited, if new reliable sources are found. Be best if the sources were in this template - if source collsions occur in an article, the one in the template could be the main one, referenced by the other cites in that article (this should be documented in the template & by a comment just after each use of the template. — Lentower (talk) 20:31, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

  • Comment on Comment This template might link to an article that includes further discussion. It's not clear to me if such an article is needed. Such an article could be used in lieu of an inline template. — Lentower (talk) 20:31, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment on Comment This template might include Average, Mean, & Median based on the reliable sources cited in the template. Updating them would be a considerable maintainence chore, even if there are templates that calculated them. or such calculations are an advanced feature for Wikitables. — Lentower (talk) 20:31, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

Comment - Has there been any evidence to show why one set of numbers is deemed "correct", @Binksternet: and @Lentower:? I guess I do not understand the situation after reading all the above. I've not seen a consensus anywhere listed, just a bunch of times you guys edited over each other. If he has valid sources for his edits, then they should seemingly be included. GauchoDude (talk) 00:48, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Here's the finest examples of how Binksnet kept on reverting his edits around in order to make it seem like it's really not. For example, here is me posting the 39,000 deaths with this link in [Nagasaki prefecture article]. Then Bink reverses my edit in the same article and add this link and try to make it out as if it was an immediate death, when it was not. The link itself isn't bad enough, but moreover to the fact he deliberately mislead readers into thinking it was, without actually saying whether these deaths are in the aftermath or not, just putting it out, as if it's immediate death when it's not. Moreover, the link didn't say about 39,000-80,000 but rather 60,000-80,000 and it talks about the aftermaths of the atomic bombings in the years afterwards. This isn't the first article he done. He did the same thing for the history section for the [nuclear bombing section of the "Strategic Bombing" article], [Nagasaki article], and the section of the Civilian Casualties strategic bombing, with the same link Bink used and the same "consensus" argument all over. Lesser-known traffic articles should have well balanced in order to fit in the circumstances, as to why it happened and how. XXzoonamiXX (talk) 18:19, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
@GauchoDude: My understanding is that there are a large number of reliable sources, that give different estimates of the deaths, in different classes: ranging from deaths on the day of the bombing in both cities to all deaths to date. One editor wants to just pick one source and use a single number. The other editor wants to provide the facts from all reliable sources -- this all facts position is the one I concur with. — Lentower (talk) 00:18, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
@Lentower: The way that I took it was that @XXzoonamiXX: was looking to include seemingly credible information within the articles. That in and of itself is a good step. I agree with the fact that because there is no "one way" to slice up the facts at hand, nor can someone arrive at a definitive "correct" answer due to the circumstances, a range is most certainly the way to go. Is the solution something as easy as something like "between X and Y number of people fell victim to the bombing campaign. Between A and B number was from the initial bombing itself, while between C and D later succumbed to longer-term injuries such as complications from cancers, etc."? This would address where the numbers/ranges are coming from as well as to provide more information regarding the overall number and how that came to be. All we can do is provide the information (from credible sources, mind you), then let the readers each decide for themselves how to interpret said information. Thoughts? GauchoDude (talk) 13:25, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
First, we could provide the immediate deaths in a correct range, then we could also provide the deaths of those dying in the aftermath, which Binksnet also aggressively ignored. The current stance of of now doesn't provide any explicit explanation, except the all of the range from A to Z, even without any good explanation. As explained above, Bink did misrepresent the information with the link he provided that he did not made an immediate reply to me in regarding to this. Thoughts? XXzoonamiXX (talk) 17:24, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

Request @Binksternet: & @XXzoonamiXX: Could you link to the Talk_Page#Section on other Talk pages where this has been discussed on before. When the discussion fractures over more than one talk page, it's customary to have links pointing both ways. — Lentower (talk) 00:18, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

Talk:Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki/Archive_22#Counting_the_deaths_at_Nagasaki is the main discussion. There's also a quick comment by myself at Talk:Civilian_casualties_of_strategic_bombing#POV_fork. XXzoonamiXX made a request for assistance at Gwen Gale's talk page, but nothing of substance was discussed regarding sources or estimates. XXzoonamiXX has been addressed on his user talk page about the issue (Oda Mari, Binksternet, Nick-D, Binksternet) but he typically deletes these without response. Binksternet (talk) 20:45, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! — Lentower (talk) 15:11, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
What do you think about our proposals Mr. Len Towers? XXzoonamiXX (talk) 21:12, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

Alternative approach[edit]

Sixteen months against concensus by user XXzoonamiXX, suggests that it could be time to take wider action against him. There are articles in the Wikipedia namespace, that discuss ways to resolve these conflicts, with user block by an admin a later step. WP:EW is a place to start. — Lentower (talk) 20:45, 8 November 2015 (UTC)


FYI, XXzoonamiXX is attempting to canvas editors to supporting them here. Sam Walton (talk) 22:44, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

It is speculated that civilians are far more likely to die[edit]

I have removed the following from the article:

In times of armed conflict, despite numerous advancements in technology and society in modern times, it is speculated that civilians are far more likely to die or be injured than combatants. Ancient wars, while fought with the same thoughts in the minds of soldiers, leaders, and civilians, and often for the same reasons as modern wars, were nonetheless fought on a smaller scale, with less dangerous weapons. Wars in medieval times tended to involve fewer soldiers and deaths, and always involved less advanced technology than wars of today. Modern wars involve large numbers of soldiers put forth by large nations, as well as newer technology that is indisputably capable of killing more people. Often, those people are civilians, since the accuracy of older weapons such as swords is far greater than the accuracy of even a "smart bomb." These "advancements" in the way society is structured and the methods it uses to fight its wars have resulted in modern wars that cause more civilian deaths than previous wars ever did, as exampled by World War I, World War II, Korean War, and the Vietnam War. There’s also has been a widespread view that war has changed radically since the early twentieth century to the point where some 80–90% of war victims are now civilians.

It is full of speculation and a POV as expressed by the placing of the words "smart bomb." and "advancements". Take for example the phrase "modern wars that cause more civilian deaths than previous wars ever did, as exampled by World War I,"

This text is contradicted by:

Indeed one of the major differences between the first and second world war is that if one excludes the deaths from the flue epidemic of 1918, was the relatively low number of civilians killed as a ratio to soldiers.

Or take another sentence "Modern wars involve large numbers of soldiers put forth by large nations", well sometimes but many wars are fought by small nations with small contingents of soldiers. In the Falklands War, if one excludes the merchant sailors, three civilians died. The war involved less than 30,000 combatants (adding both sides together), Wellington commanded an army consisting of that many British Army soldiers (include the KLG) at the Battle of Waterloo, and that was but a faction of the total Seventh Coalition mobilised armed force that approached 2 million men set to invade France in 1815.

So if the text I removed is to be put back it needs very good sources to support it because I think it is unverifiable. -- PBS (talk) 14:35, 30 December 2015 (UTC)