But if you adjust the numbers to reflect those realities, and if the Army and Marine combat troops killed civilians at the same rate as their comrades in the NEJM study, then US ground combat forces would have been responsible for the deaths of an absolute minimum of 13,881 noncombatants since March 2003. And that figure omits all civilian deaths caused by the Air Force and by noncombat Army and Marine forces.
Needless to say, this figure is a suggestive estimate, not a definitive number. And a third caveat is necessary. Iraq was also a very deadly place for many civilians under the reign of Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi dictator killed an estimated 300,000 people during his twenty-four-year reign, an average of 12,500 people a year. In other words, the NEJM survey suggests that US military power may now be more hazardous to the health of Iraqi civilians than the dictatorship it destroyed.
--- Jefferson Morley, The Nation, 15 November 2004