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« Locals figure in 'Is God Green?' | Main | Grant. Sali. Live. Be there! »



You do realize, of course, that the methodology to conduct this "survey" is complete BS. Asking people in a society where they know that when a relative gets accidentally killed by Americans, if they had someone recently killed by Americans, will probably result in quite a few "deceptive" answers. Also, I'm not sure I believe the "before" death rate -- 143K/year for the country (remembering that 60K/year children were "dying" because of sanctions) means that the death rate of non-children Iraqis was about 3 per thousand -- meaning the average Iraqi was living to over 300 years old, assuming a relatively linear population demographic (which would make sense, even with a growing population, because of the 1 million killed in the Iran-Iraq War).
Just because something is published that's critical of the U.S. military doesn't mean it's true, Julie. (And that's what this article is -- it implies the military is killing most of these people.)

Julie Fanselow

I am aware the Bush admin is disputing this study, of course. I'm also aware the researchers are standing behind it. So people can read the research and draw their own conclusions.

I haven't yet read the full study, but based on what I heard today from both sides, I am inclined to believe there's some merit to the study.


The methodology is not complete BS, it is an attempt to get an estimate of the human cost of the war. Let's say the number is off by 10 percent, or even 20 percent, that still leaves over half a million dead. Those kind of costs need to be taken into account when a superpower embarks on a unilateral preemptive adventure like this. The Bush administration and the war supporters like Sali show an utter lack of regard for human life when they ignore or attempt to discredit a study like this.


Here's another way to look at it; the study based its conclusions on cluster surveys that found 547 deaths; they said they were able to verify 90% of those deaths via death certificates. Ergo, if 90% of deaths have valid death certificates, why not just ask the Iraqi government how many death certificates they've issued since March 2003, and multiply by 1.1? Surprisingly, doing that doesn't get the huge number they're claiming.

Maybe they went to areas that are harder hit by the fighting, and extrapolated those results over the entire country, despite the fact that there's only about four of 19 provinces with major fighting. Maybe, just maybe, the authors of the study had a point they were trying to make, and "accidentally" established a methodology that would give them the numbers they were looking for.

Anyway, do you really believe that the Iraqi death toll before the war was less than half that of the U.S. - especially with all the wounded from the '80-'88 war, who would be expected to have lower life expectancies? Or, that the excess deaths of about 500 people/day (mostly by violence) really wouldn't be reported? (Remember, they were saying how bad deaths were a couple months ago when there were 2,600 violent deaths in a month -- that's a lot less than 15,000, which according to the study has been averaged every month since March 2003.) That's more than "10 or 20 percent" -- that's a factor of 6.

I respect those who think it's bad that people are dying who wouldn't have if we hadn't invaded, but there's no need to use made-up numbers to illustrate your point.

I'm also interested that "shtmlf" thinks that people who try to discredit this study show an "utter lack of regard for human life". So, I guess there are some things that just can't be questioned in your political orthodoxy, huh? Is this your way of trying to stifle my dissent?


Anything can be questioned. There are too many things that are being done in the name of our country that should be questioned a lot more closely than they are now. For instance - how many deaths have occurred due to our incursion. Our current regime shows very little interest in the true answer to that question. I do not want to stifle your dissent, but I will point out when it shows your lack humanity, or your desire to cover up bad news, or your desire to keep your own political orthodoxy unchallenged.

Julie in Boise

And to that end, click my name for an amusing roundup of blog commentary questioning the study.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: There is a whole lot about this war - and the whole disaster of 2000-2006/8 - that we simply will not know until the history books are written. We're just working on the first draft here.

25 days until daylight ...


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