From Lando’s blog:
Now take the American Civil War, the tragic internecine conflict that devastated the U.S. from 1861 to 1865. Estimates of the number of soldiers and civilians who died vary widely, but the figure most often cited (by historian James M. McPherson, among others) is about 618,000—a toll that exceeds the number of Americans killed in all its other wars, from the Revolutionary War through Vietnam.
In fact, though, sickness, disease and other non-battlefield factors caused 414,000 of those deaths. The number of Americans actually killed by other Americans was 204,000. Because the war went on for 48 months, that works out to 4,250 killings a month—not so many more than are dying in Iraq today.
What’s more, Iraq’s population today is about 25 million, or about 80% of the U.S. population in 1860. So, on a per capita basis, the monthly rate of killing during the U.S. Civil War would be the equivalent of 3,400 Iraqis being slaughtered each month—also well under the 3,709 killings that Iraq experienced in October. Admittedly, Iraqis haven’t been murdering each other at American Civil War rates since the war began, but they have been doing so at least since the summer, and the deadly tempo keeps increasing. November’s fatalities threaten to be even higher.
Iraq’s monthly body count also has surpassed the awful statistics from the civil war that ravaged Lebanon from 1975 to 1990. That war resulted in about 100,000 deaths, according to Dilip Hiro in his “Lebanon—Fire and Embers: A History of the Lebanese Civil War.” On a per capita basis, the equivalent number for Lebanon would be 3,330 a month, also well under Iraq’s current rate.