[OPE-L] 600,000 have died in Iraq war

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Thu Oct 12 2006 - 13:29:08 EDT

The final obscenity is really that the same people who said they didn't
really care about the death statistics ("We don't do body counts," said Gen.
Tommy Franks, and Iraqi mortuaries stopped compiling statistics by order),
now claim that the results of this research into the death toll are not

"The US and Britain have long insisted they have not recorded Iraqi death
figures. Yesterday, Mr Bush sought to dismiss the survey, claiming without
elaboration that its methodology was flawed. "I don't consider it a credible
report. Neither does General George Casey [the commander of US forces in
Iraq] and neither do Iraqi officials," he said."

Actually the Pentagon did estimate some Iraqi civilian deaths last year, and
reported them to Congress: "Extrapolating the daily averages over the months
from Jan. 1, 2004, to Sept. 16 [in 2005] results in a total of 25,902 Iraqi
civilians and security forces killed and wounded by insurgents. (...) The
casualties were compiled from reports filed by coalition military units
after they responded to attacks, said Lt. Col. Barry Venable, a Pentagon
spokesman, in answers to questions from The New York Times sent by e-mail."
(...) "These incident reports are not intended to provide - and do not
provide - a comprehensive account of Iraqi casualties," Colonel Venable said
in his e-mail message. The information in the reports shows "trends in
casualties resulting from insurgent attacks."

The new Lancet study of "excess deaths" (i.e. the excess over the normal
mortality in the population) concludes:

"In Iraq, as with other conflicts, civilians bear the consequences of
warfare. In the Vietnam war, 3 million civilians died; in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, conflict has been responsible for 38 million deaths;
and an estimated 200000 of a total population of 800000 died in conflict in
East Timor. Recent estimates are that 200000 people have died in Darfur over
the past 31 months. We estimate that almost 655000 people-25% of the
population in the study area-have died in Iraq. Although such death rates
might be common in times of war, the combination of a long duration and tens
of millions of people affected has made this the deadliest international
conflict of the 21st century, and should be of grave concern to everyone. At
the conclusion of our 2004 study we urged that an independent body assess
the excess mortality that we saw in Iraq. This has not happened. We continue
to believe that an independent international body to monitor compliance with
the Geneva Conventions and other humanitarian standards in conflict is
urgently needed. With reliable data, those voices that speak out for
civilians trapped in conflict might be able to lessen the tragic human cost
of future wars."

"Dr Roberts [one of the authors of the study] said: "Yes [this finding was a
surprise]. I didn't realise that things there were twice as bad as when we
carried out our first survey in 2004. I did not know it was that much." Dr
Roberts said he expected there would be many who would seek to undermine the
report, as happened two years ago. But he said: "Let's have these people
tell us what we have done wrong and what the true numbers are. Our study is
pretty easy to verify. If they go to a graveyard in a small village and ask
how many people are being put in the ground..."


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