Friday, October 29, 2004

Iraqi civilian deaths

I haven't had time to read the full report yet, but this summary gives me plenty to think about. To summarize the summary, in the eighteen months since the American invasion of Iraq, civilian death rates appear to be 1.5 times higher than they were in the last year or so of Saddam's rule. (This does not include data from Fallujah. With the Fallujah data, the rate is nearly 2.5 times higher.)

It is important to note that this study is examining all civilian deaths, and that 70-90% of them are from things like heart attacks. So pay no attention to anti-warriors who say this means American GIs have killed a hundred thousand Iraqis.

That said, it is troubling to note that the civilian death rate is higher now than under Saddam. To be specific, the report says that one hundred thousand more Iraqis died this year than would have died under Saddam. That is hard to believe. UNICEF and other opponents of the UN-mandated sanctions claimed that about sixty thousand infants and children were dying each year as a result of the sanctions. So I think there's something hinky about these numbers. As I said, though, I haven't read the full report yet, much less broken it down and figured it out.

But if any of my imaginary readers have some insight into this report, please enlighten me by leaving a comment.


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