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23 Oct 2006 Update

Researchers at John Hopkins along with Iraqi physicians have conducted two surveys of the death toll in Iraq. The first one, eighteen months after the invasion, was repeated with this one with the same result as before, about 100,000. This year, 2006, they found some 600,000 deaths that were war related. This is 20 times more than the official White House line of 30,000.

Those overseeing the study feel it is valid because not only was it conducted scientifically, it validated their earlier results. All other estimates arise from political sources or NGOs that use only anecdotal results as a basis. So while this study remains controversial, the argument is between two carefully done studies, and pundits who merely guess and others who have a vested interest in reporting low numbers. Until a better scientific study comes along we will go with the higher numbers. We feel confident because actual death certificates were used in most of the counting. No better studies of comparable validity have been made to our knowledge. Rwanda was also under-reported for quite some time, and still seems to be by those with vested interests in low numbers. In neither case will an absolutely accurate count ever exist. Until better numbers surface, we will go with 1,000,000 for Rwanda and 600,000 for Iraq at this time.

The Bush Administration learned from Vietnam: "Reporting Body Counts is bad politics." Their strategy therefore is to simply omit civilian body counts. Until it does accurate body counts, both military and civilian, we can only settle for the counts of others.

This blurring of the human tragedy is consistent with the secretive scorched-earth style of this Administration.

From: 44,501 - 49,440,000 - 10,000 (as of end of organized resistance)

For further research:
  • BBC News -- "All investigations must be prompt, impartial and independent and seen to be so. It is not enough for the army to investigate the army."
  • BBC Nsew -- "About 13,000 Iraqis, including as many as 4,300 civilians, were killed during the major combat phase of the Iraq war, according to a US research group. "It said the estimates were based on US combat data, battlefield press reports, and Iraqi hospital surveys. "Despite the advent of precision weapons, more civilians died in the latest conflict than in the 1991 war, the group suggests. "The US military has published no details on Iraqi deaths in either war."
  • Guardian Unlimited -- "The third anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq was marked this weekend with two days of anti-war marches and rallies across the world, including the first co-ordinated demonstrations in the US, Britain and Iraq."
  • Human Rights Watch -- "The Human Rights Watch report also criticizes U.S. air strikes on electrical and media facilities. U.S. and British forces did not secure large caches of weapons and ammunition abandoned by Iraqi forces, and the ready availability of these explosives also led to dozens of civilian casualties."
  • -- may be one of the best, reporting more or less official figures. Iraqi police, military and civilian deaths are reported. They are substantial, but only a fraction of the independent appraisal.
  • The Sydney Morning Herald -- "Civilian deaths rock campaign"
  • The Washington Post -- Most Recent Casualties

"Take up the White Man's burden
-- The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine,
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
(The end for others sought)
Watch sloth and heathen folly
Bring all your hope to nought..."

Rudyard Kipling

"A time comes when silence is betrayal. Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak out with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr


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