Monday, February 02, 2009

Iraq's Shocking Human Toll: Perhaps 1 Million Killed, 4.5 Million Displaced, 1-2 Million Widows, 5 Million Orphans

From an article posted on OpEdNews.com (click here for original)

We are now able to estimate the number of Iraqis who have died in the war instigated by the Bush administration. Looking at the empirical evidence of Bush's war legacy will put his claims of victory in perspective. Of course, even by his standards--"stability"--the jury is out. Most independent analysts would say it's too soon to judge the political outcome. Nearly six years after the invasion, the country remains riven by sectarian politics and major unresolved issues, like the status of Kirkuk.

We have a better grasp of the human costs of the war. For example, the United Nations estimates that there are about 4.5 million displaced Iraqis--more than half of them refugees--or about one in every six citizens. Only 5 percent have chosen to return to their homes over the past year, a period of reduced violence from the high levels of 2005-07. The availability of healthcare, clean water, functioning schools, jobs and so forth remains elusive. According to Unicef, many provinces report that less than 40 percent of households have access to clean water. More than 40 percent of children in Basra, and more than 70 percent in Baghdad, cannot attend school.

The mortality caused by the war is also high. Several household surveys were conducted between 2004 and 2007. While there are differences among them, the range suggests a congruence of estimates. But none have been conducted for eighteen months, and the two most reliable surveys were completed in mid-2006. The higher of those found 650,000 "excess deaths" (mortality attributable to war); the other yielded 400,000. The war remained ferocious for twelve to fifteen months after those surveys were finished and then began to subside. Iraq Body Count, a London NGO that uses English-language press reports from Iraq to count civilian deaths, provides a means to update the 2006 estimates. While it is known to be an undercount, because press reports are incomplete and Baghdad-centric, IBC nonetheless provides useful trends, which are striking. Its estimates are nearing 100,000, more than double its June 2006 figure of 45,000. (It does not count nonviolent excess deaths--from health emergencies, for example--or insurgent deaths.) If this is an acceptable marker, a plausible estimate of total deaths can be calculated by doubling the totals of the 2006 household surveys, which used a much more reliable and sophisticated method for estimates that draws on long experience in epidemiology. So we have, at present, between 800,000 and 1.3 million "excess deaths" as we approach the six-year anniversary of this war.

2 comments:

Cargosquid said...

In a highly unusual rebuke, the American Association for Public Opinion Research today said the author of a widely debated survey on "excess deaths" in Iraq had violated its code of professional ethics by refusing to disclose details of his work. The author's institution later disclosed to ABC News that it, too, is investigating the study.
AAPOR, in a statement, said that in an eight-month investigation, Gilbert Burnham, a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, "repeatedly refused to make public essential facts about his research on civilian deaths in Iraq."

Hours later, the school itself disclosed its own investigation of the Iraq casualties report "to determine if any violation of the school's rules or guidelines for the conduct of research occurred." It said the review "is nearing completion."

Both AAPOR and the school said they had focused on Burnham's study, published in the October 2006 issue of the British medical journal the Lancet, reporting an estimated 654,965 "excess deaths" in Iraq as a result of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. An earlier, 2004 report, in which Burnham also participated, estimated approximately 98,000 excess deaths to that point.

In its original news release on the 2006 study, the Lancet said, "The mortality survey used well-established and scientifically proven methods for measuring mortality and disease in populations." Today, Tony Kirby, the Lancet's press officer, said in an e-mail to ABC News: "The Lancet is making no comment."

The rest is at:
http://www.abcnews.go.com/PollingUnit/story?id=6799754&page=1

Mac said...

Meanwhile, another group ORB, has even higher estimates.

From Wiki article on Iraq War Casualties:

On Friday, September 14, 2007, ORB (Opinion Research Business), an independent polling agency located in London, published estimates of the total war casualties in Iraq since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.[1] At over 1.2 million deaths (1,220,580), this estimate is the highest number published so far. From the poll margin of error of +/-2.5% ORB calculated a range of 733,158 to 1,446,063 deaths. The ORB estimate was performed by a random survey of 1,720 adults aged 18+, out of which 1,499 responded, in fifteen of the eighteen governorates within Iraq, between August 12 and August 19, 2007.[2][3] In comparison, the 2006 Lancet survey suggested almost half this number (654,965 deaths) through the end of June 2006. The Lancet authors calculated a range of 392,979 to 942,636 deaths.

On 28 January 2008, ORB published an update based on additional work carried out in rural areas of Iraq. Some 600 additional interviews were undertaken and as a result of this the death estimate was revised to 1,033,000 with a given range of 946,000 to 1,120,000.[4]

ORB reports that it has been "tracking public opinion in Iraq since 2005."[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ORB_survey_of_Iraq_War_casualties