Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mortality Due to Iraq Invasion Now Exceeds 650,000: Latest Surveys Results Published in The Lancet

The full research paper on the latest nationally representative mortality survey in Iraq was published today in The Lancet. One point that has not received press attention, and was glossed over by the NY Times article we posted on yesterday, is the extremely high level of casualties inflicted by US forces. According to the published research:
Deaths attributable to the coalition accounted for 31% (95% CI 26–37) of post-invasion violent deaths. The proportion of violent deaths attributable to the coalition was much the same across periods (p=0·058). However, the actual number of violent deaths, including those that resulted from coalition forces, increased every year after the invasion.

Interestingly, the proportion found by this survey was consistent with that reported by the Iraq Body Count in 2005 when their media monitoring project found that 37% of civilian casualties were caused by US forces, the largest single cause of violent death. But what does 31% mean when considering the results of this new national survey?

To put it into numbers, US and UK troops have directly killed about 186,000 Iraqis since the war began. The invasion, occupation and resulting war has, overall, resulted in the deaths of about 655,000 more people than would of died if it had not happened.

Richard Horten, editor of The Lancet, writes in The Guardian on the findings of the study and the expectations of the government response.