In this post, I depict the trajectories taken by the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001 and 2013. In particular, I plot--over time, for each war--US troop deployments, US Military casualties, and civilian casualties. Both wars were started by the Bush administration--the Afghanistan war in October 2001, and the Iraq war in March 2003. During the first term of Obama's presidency, his administration brought the Iraq war to a close and simultaneously expanded the war in Afghanistan. Huge numbers of civilians have been killed in both wars: over 100,000 in Iraq, and over 15,000 in Afghanistan. While the case for Afghanistan was arguably stronger than the case for Iraq, in my opinion the US should not have gotten involved in either war.
Data on US troop deployments in Iraq are from the US Department of Defense. Data on US troop deployments in Afghanistan are from the Brookings Institution's Afghanistan Index. Data on US Military casualties are from iCasualties.org. Data on civilian casualties in Iraq are from Iraq Body Count.org. Data on civilian casualties in Afghanistan are from Brown University's Cost of War project. The first three graphs correspond to the Iraq war; the latter three to the Afghanistan war. (Note that the final graph shows combat-related civilian deaths in Afghanistan; I could not find any figures for total civilian deaths.)