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Thursday, October 28, 2004

100,000 Civilians Killed in Post-Invasion Iraq? 

The methodology of the survey is dubious, but if the numbers are even roughly accurate, that's 35 times the number of Americans killed on 9/11 -- in a country with just over a twelfth of the population. From Reuters:
Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed in violence since the U.S.-led invasion last year, American public health experts have calculated in a report that estimates there were 100,000 "excess deaths" in 18 months.

The rise in the death rate was mainly due to violence and much of it was caused by U.S. air strikes on towns and cities.

"Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq," said Les Roberts of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in a report published online by The Lancet medical journal.

"The use of air power in areas with lots of civilians appears to be killing a lot of women and children," Roberts told Reuters.

The report came just days before the U.S. presidential election in which the Iraq war has been a major issue.

Mortality was already high in Iraq before the war because of United Nations sanctions blocking food and medical imports but the researchers described what they found as shocking.

The new figures are based on surveys done by the researchers in Iraq in September 2004. They compared Iraqi deaths during 14.6 months before the invasion in March 2003 and the 17.8 months after it by conducting household surveys in randomly selected neighborhoods.

Previous estimates based on think tank and media sources put the Iraqi civilian death toll at up to 16,053 and military fatalities as high as 6,370.
UPDATE: We told you the methodology was dubious. Fred Kaplan of Slate says the numbers are bunk.

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