Revolution #66, October 22, 2006
New Study Reveals:
Over 650,000 Iraqis Killed by U.S. Occupiers
654,965. According to a new study, this is how many Iraqi civilians have died, between the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and July 2006.
The study, released October 11 by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and published in The Lancet, a British medical journal, identifies these deaths as “in excess” of the number of civilian deaths that could have been expected based on pre-war mortality rates. And it is three times the number of deaths that the same researchers estimated in a 2004 study they did which covered Iraqi deaths from 2002–2004.
These deaths are a direct consequence of the U.S. war and occupation which has brought bombings, shootings, torture and roundups plus all the massive destruction of infrastructure and the accompanying disintegration of the health, sanitation, housing, and food systems.
The figures compiled in this study also include people killed in the sectarian violence that has erupted since the war began. This factional fighting is also a result of the U.S. invasion and occupation, which has fostered and unleashed, then alternately backed and raided, various competing militias, death squads, and warlords that target rival groups as well as innocent civilians.
The Johns Hopkins study used scientific statistical sampling methods which are internationally accepted. The estimate of 654,965 was extrapolated based on representative samples of 50 clusters randomly selected from among the 16 government jurisdictions (“Governorates”) in Iraq. In each cluster, people in 40 households were personally interviewed and death certificates were examined. The total samples were 12,801 individuals in 1849 households throughout Iraq.
Previously, the most well known non-government tally of civilian deaths in Iraq—of 50,000—was done by Iraq Body Count. But this number is based only on compiling media reports—which do not accurately reflect the total number of deaths.
Despite the fact that this new report is the most comprehensive and scientifically rigorous study done on civilian deaths in Iraq, it has come under severe attack. Not surprisingly, U.S. President Bush dismissed the new study, saying its methodology was “pretty well discredited.” Bush stands by the figure of 30,000 civilian deaths, put out by the Pentagon. Even if this figure were true, it would be horrible enough. But the U.S. government has released almost no scientific data to back up their statistics, other than numbers of Iraqi bodies that have been delivered to morgues in Iraq. This is in line with U.S. General Tommy Franks proclaiming at the beginning of the U.S. invasion in 2003, “We don’t do body counts.”
What should we believe? Systematic, scientific research? Or statistics from a president who initiated this war based on blatant lies about weapons of mass destruction and fabricated stories of Iraqi ties to Al Queda?
654,965. And the death toll continues to mount, every day, every hour—of Iraqi men, women, and children killed in an immoral, unlawful, and criminal war being carried out by a U.S. superpower hell-bent on carving out an unprecedented world empire.
If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.