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October 11, 2006

Weeping for Iraq - 655,000 Dead

A team of Iraqi physicians and epidemiologists from John Hopkins University are estimating that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since March 2003 than would have died if the US invasion had not occurred.  The survey, being published today by the British medical journal, the Lancet, was conducted using "cluster sampling", a technique used to estimate mortality as a result of famines and natural disasters.  From an article in today's WAPO:

Of the total 655,000 estimated "excess deaths," 601,000 resulted from violence and the rest from disease and other causes, according to the study. This is about 500 unexpected violent deaths per day throughout the country.


According to the survey results, Iraq's mortality rate in the year before the invasion was 5.5 deaths per 1,000 people; in the post-invasion period it was 13.3 deaths per 1,000 people per year. The difference between these rates was used to calculate "excess deaths."

To put this is some historical context: 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda in the genocide of 1994.  In Cambodia in the years 1975-1979, 1.7 million people were killed.  And unfortunately, this is not over.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 11, 2006 at 05:14 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink


And Bush is playing the "fuzzy numbers" game again. He thinks if he holds a press conference and says the Lancet numbers are wrong that somehow his pathetic JAR numbers will rise. I believe his approval is still stuck at 37%.

What he's done in our name is a crime and a disgrace (I know, I know - but how do I really feel about him?). The only way to stop the nation's downward spiral is to "change course" and vote in a Democratic Congress in November. It won't immediately save the patient, but it may help staunch the bleeding. In January we can begin to operate.

Posted by: shoephone | Oct 11, 2006 11:59:58 AM

That comes to 600 people a day. Think someone might have noticed all those bodies piling up in the street somewhere if these numbers were accurate?

Another example of nonsense being accepted as fact.

Posted by: Denny K | Oct 12, 2006 9:35:40 AM


The people interviewed had death certificates 92% of the time. And the great majority of the reported deaths were men of fighting age.

And yep, 600 people per day is a lot of people.

Posted by: Lynn | Oct 12, 2006 12:08:40 PM

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