October 11, 2006

655K Iraqi dead since invasion

A new study indicates there have been 655,000 deaths in Iraq since the US/coalition invasion in 2003.

The surveyors said they found a steady increase in mortality since the invasion, with a steeper rise in the last year that appears to reflect a worsening of violence as reported by the U.S. military, the news media and civilian groups. In the year ending in June, the team calculated Iraq's mortality rate to be roughly four times what it was the year before the war.

Of the total 655,000 estimated "excess deaths," 601,000 resulted from violence and the rest from disease and other causes, according to the study. This is about 500 unexpected violent deaths per day throughout the country.

The survey was done by Iraqi physicians and overseen by epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health. The findings are being published online today by the British medical journal the Lancet.

The same group in 2004 published an estimate of roughly 100,000 deaths in the first 18 months after the invasion. That figure was much higher than expected, and was controversial. The new study estimates that about 500,000 more Iraqis, both civilian and military, have died since then -- a finding likely to be equally controversial.

Both this and the earlier study are the only ones to estimate mortality in Iraq using scientific methods. The technique, called "cluster sampling," is used to estimate mortality in famines and after natural disasters.

I don't really doubt the numbers. Consider that there were some 120 bodies found in Baghdad alone over the past two days.

Update Here's a good explanation of the methodology from a public health scientist who's familiar with the techniques.

This is horrific. Even if it's wrong by a factor of two, it would be 325,000+ Iraqi dead as a result of this ill-conceived crusade (and I don't use that word frivolously) on the part of the neocon brigade in Washington.

If there's any justice, when George W. Bush gets to the gates of heaven, as he's told us repeatedly he expects to do, St. Peter or whoever's the guard there is going to politely turn him around and deny him entrance.

Posted by Linkmeister at October 11, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack