Blogs > Liberty and Power > The Death Toll in Iraq

Mar 31, 2007 3:15 am


The Death Toll in Iraq




The BBC carries an interesting update about the Lancet peer-reviewed survey of the number of victims of violence in Iraq published last October. The report suggested that 655,000 Iraqis had died but was severely criticized by the Iraqi government and by Tony Blair and George Bush ("I don’t consider it a credible report"—but then who considers GWB a credible president?).

The BBC World Service made a Freedom of Information Request last November 28 and the information was released on March 14. In a memo dated October 13, 2006 the Ministry of Defence’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Roy Anderson stated:"The study design is robust and employs methods that are regarded as close to 'best practice' in this area, given the difficulties of data collection and verification in the present circumstances in Iraq."

Of course, even if one accepts either Iraqi Health Ministry figures that put the toll at less than 10% of the total in the Lancet survey, or perhaps the range stated on Iraq Body Count, where the confirmed civilian death toll is currently reported as between 59,801 and 65,660, the number who have died is still huge and far exceeds the number of deaths attributed to Saddam Hussein in the last several years of his rule.

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David T. Beito - 3/27/2007

An interesting diffence with Vietnam. During that war, the administration was obsessed with raising body counts (albeit of enemey dead) in this case they seem intent on minizing it.