[DEBATE] : 655,000 Iraqi deaths
Riaz K Tayob
riazt at iafrica.com
Thu Oct 12 08:43:29 BST 2006
655,000 Iraqi deaths: Study
Bush dismisses toll as `not credible'
Estimate based on household survey
Oct. 12, 2006. 01:00 AM
WASHINGTON—U.S. President George W. Bush is dismissing a new report that
pegs Iraqi civilian casualties at 655,000 — more than 20 times higher
than his estimate late last year.
"I don't consider it a credible report," Bush told a news conference
yesterday. "I do know that a lot of innocent people have died and that
troubles me and it grieves me."
The president, who pegged civilian war casualties at 30,000 last
December, declined to amend the figure at yesterday's news conference.
The new study released yesterday suggests a death toll from the Iraq war
that's more than 10 times other independent estimates. Some experts were
skeptical of its methodology and the release less than a month before
the mid-term elections, while others hailed it as the most accurate
"We have no reason to question the findings or the accuracy" of the
report, Sarah Leah Whitson at Human Right Watch in New York told The
Ronald Waldman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, said: "This is
the best estimate of mortality we have."
More than 2,750 U.S. troops have died in Iraq since the invasion in
March 2003. At least 39 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq this
But it's the Iraqi figure that has always garnered the attention, wrote
Greg Mitchell at the Editor and Publisher journal.
"From the beginning, the U.S. military refused to count, and the
American media rarely probed civilian casualties as a result of our
invasion of Iraq," Mitchell wrote.
The survey was conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public
The estimate will be published today in the medical journal The Lancet.
It was based on a house-to-house survey of 1,849 sample Iraqi households
with 12,801 residents in 47 random neighbourhoods from late May to early
The total breaks down to more than 16,000 deaths a month in the 40
months since the invasion in March 2003 through to July 2006.
The method is widely used in international health, said Dr. Gilbert
Burnham at Johns Hopkins, one of the study's authors.
"This is the deaths above (what) would be expected before the invasion,"
About 600,000 were due to violence, mostly gunfire. The study also found
a small increase in deaths from causes like heart disease and cancer.
A private group called Iraq Body Count estimated between 44,000 to
49,000 civilian Iraqi deaths based on news reports but noted it probably
overlooked "many, if not most" of the others.
Star wire services
More information about the Debate-list