The Guardian blog has a poignant piece about the number of dead journalists in Iraq.
The fact of the matter from Guardian Unlimited: News blog
What is striking is that the number of dead journalists, 127, is lower than the number of British military casualties in Iraq, 113. This number, 113, is shockingly lower than the more than 2500 for the American military (at the time of the article’s writing). Hence, the number of British casualties is roughly 5% of the number of American casualties.
This may sound reasonable, but looking at some estimates of numbers–like this one in Washington Post National Weekly Edition–the number of British troops is roughly 10% of that of American troops. Hence, assuming that the number of contingents from each country has not changed much, the American casualty rate is about 2500/135000, or 1.8%, while the British rate is 113/10000, or 1.1%. This means that the British casualty rate is almost 40% lower.
Could this be because the British are administering more “peaceful” areas? Hardly. After all, Basra is hardly a calm place. Certainly, the American contingent is administering larger, more violent regions like Baghdad, but this alone cannot explain why the casualty rate is so much higher. American and British forces are partners in this campaign, but the British troops have not been targeted as avidly as the American troops. This is indubitably due to the fact that they have not committed as many stupid acts like Abu Ghraib to invite anger and violence.
It is possible that British troops are better equipped than their American counterparts. Rather, that they have armored vehicles at all.