The Iraqi Death Toll

My previous post on the Iraqi death toll was based on the US Government’s official estimates. I did mention the estimates of a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University in 2004 too though. To learn more about this study, listen to the interview with the study’s author at This American Life, it was broadcast 11/03/2006 (find it in the archives–their website totally sucks). A new study has the numbers at 6 times this study’s estimates. I’ve plucked the following quotes from a story run in The Guardian. Give the This American Life episode a listen too. It mentions the US Government’s estimate at bombs dropped to date (not sure what date) was somewhere around 55,000 in Iraq alone. That’s a lot of bombs.

The death toll in Iraq following the US-led invasion has topped 655,000 – one in 40 of the entire population – according to a major piece of research in one of the world’s leading medical journals.

The study, produced by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and published online by the Lancet, claims the total number of deaths is more than 10 times greater than any previously compiled estimate.

Nearly a third of the deaths (31%) were ascribed to the coalition forces. Most of the deaths – 601,000 out of 655,000 – were due to violence and of those, 56% were caused by gunshot wounds. Air strikes, car bombs and other explosions accounted for a further 13-14%.

The authors say their discovery that the death rate in Iraq has more than doubled from 5.5 per 1,000 a year before the invasion to 13.3 per 1,000 a year since “constitutes a humanitarian emergency”.

“We continue to believe that an independent international body to monitor compliance with the Geneva conventions and other humanitarian standards in conflict is urgently needed. With reliable data, those voices that speak out for civilians trapped in conflict might be able to lessen the tragic human cost of future wars.”