Just wondering when this will reach the major media

Lew Frederick

Sue Hagmeier sent this to me... I thought blog readers would enjoy reading it:

Iraqi Freedom

Now we know exactly why the administration has refused to account for civilian deaths in Iraq. A study by a team of US and Iraqi scientists, peer reviewed and published in The Lancet online edition, puts the civilian death toll at upwards of 100,000, not counting the toll in Fallujah.

Dr. Les Roberts, the team leader, said: "We can say with absolute confidence that both mortality and violent deaths have gone way up. Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths, and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths."

It makes one wonder about the administration's definition of "freedom." In Bush's world view, we'll all be "free," someday.

Susan Hagmeier

  • Anne Dufay (unverified)

    Here's the link: http://www.thelancet.com/journal/vol364/iss9445/early_online_publication

    You have to register, but it's free.

    If you're a statistically minded person what may shake you, what shook me, was the fact that they took Faluja out, as an outlier. Too many deaths there. And that was before the "softening up" bombing, and coming blitzkrieg they’re forecasting there, any day now.

  • Anthony (unverified)

    Given the fact that the highest estimates from sources unfriendly to the American administration have been considerably less than 20,000, one might approach this study's findings with some skepticism.

    Slate.com, whose writers are almost unamimously behind Kerry, has published a scathing critique of the study (which was released prematurely, evidently for political reasons) entitled, "100,000 or 8,000; How many Iraqi civilians HAVE died as a result of the war? http://www.slate.com/id/2108887/

    Any number of civilian deaths is grievous, and larger numbers proportionately more grievous. Depressingly, civilian casualties are virtually unavoidable in war. They are more likely in a war where combatants are willing to deliberately kill civilians for terroristic and propagandistic purposes, and are moreover willing to use civilians for cover while they continue operations.

    When considering the cost of liberation (calculated along with other goals), one might consider that during World War II, Holland suffered approximately 235,000 civilian casualties. I guess in FDR's world, we'll all be "free" someday.

    WWII casualty figures might shed some light on how accurate the Johns Hopkins study is likely to be found in the end. Italy suffered about 93,000 casualties -- 7,000 less than the estimate in the Lancet -- despite a protracted and bitterly fought land campaign and heavy aerial bombardment.

    Japan suffered just three times the Johns Hopkins study's estimate (roughly 300,000), despite massive aerial bombardment including the firebombing of large urban centers and the detonation of two atomic bombs. According to the Harper Collins Atlas of the Second World War, edited by historian John Keegan, "in six months in 1945, Japan sustained damage ffrom air attack equivalent to that sustained by Germany in the last three years of the European war." And this was in an age before precision guided ordnance, and including huge incendiary raids against population centers whose dwellings were mostly built of wood and paper.

  • Pedro (unverified)

    Anthony, which is it? Is the John Hopkins study dead wrong or are 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths perfectly justified?

    Time for you to get your head out of the sand and follow your own advice and look at what Bush has done with a critical eye and question what he says. Remember why we invaded Iraq in the first place? I'll remind you. Weapons of mass destruction. So where are they? Pretty clear the President and his handlers have lied repeatedly to the American people.

  • Anthony (unverified)

    Compare our reactions, Pedro. I don't say the study is definitely wrong: I question its reliability, and provide an argument. You accept the study uncritically because it suits your prejudices and avoid engaging in an argument about its merits. Whose "head is in the sand"?

  • cc trotsky (unverified)

    this study underwent rigorous peer review in the world's most prestigious medical journal. researchers did not include fallujah which would have skewed their findings only higher. some estimates have been that the actual number might be over 200,000 dead. researchers secured actual death certificates to verify civilian casualties. the point is that these are by far greater numbers than americans have been told before and the researchers stated that their numbers were conservative. over half of the dead surveyed were women and children, the rest were noncombatants. this scientific study with actual documentation by scientists is more credible than the surveys on which election polls are based which have no documentation and which measure hypothetical acts before no one has even voted. this horrendous loss of innocent peoples lives---if a president of another country came into your neighborhood and bombed you and killed your family, how would you feel?

  • Anthony (unverified)

    cc trotsky,

    All you have to offer is an appeal to authority? Did you bother to read the Slate article?

    Doesn't it concern you that an otherwise reputable scientific journal (though they have been accused of at least one other similar lapse before) would resort to political motivation (which is clear from the executive summary) and break its own discipline in order to release this study before the election?

    Can you tell me exactly what its "rigorous peer review" consisted of in this case?

  • (Show?)

    The times ran a story on Friday:

    "An estimated 100,000 civilians have died in Iraq as a direct or indirect consequence of the March 2003 United States-led invasion, according to a new study by a research team at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore."


  • (Show?)

    Well, even if your standard of evidence is tougher to meet than The Lancet's, I think it would be hard to argue that this study is not news. Interestingly, the only appearance I have been able to find in the Oregonian was a letter to the editor on Saturday. I can understand how the zoo elephants' annual pumpkin smashing party would crowd it off the front page, but you'd think they could find space somewhere else.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    On media misleads, and on people calling themselves 'audience' and then investing 'celebrity' with 'authority', and on why his name is Liars:

    Monday, Nov. 1, between 1: and 2: pm: Ed Schultz announced on KPOJ that Arbitron ratings prove his show is the highest-rated, talkradio-format program in Portland market. So-called 'liberal' Air America Radio. Number 1.

    Liars Larson stated "liberal talk radio has not been successful."

  • Pedro (unverified)

    Anthony, I have come to realize that the John Hopkins study does indeed require me to apply some "critical thinking". So I took the following steps:

    1) In order to understand the process of "critical thinking", I went looking for another example to learn from. I decided to critically look at the claim made by John Kerry and the Democrat(ic) party that George W. Bush is the first President since Herbert Hoover (who left office in early 1933) to have a net loss of jobs.

    2) So instead of reading the biased liberal media, I decided to surf on over to various GOP and pro Bush websites to see what was really happening with employement in America.

    3) I saw no mention of Kerry's startling charge that fewer people were actually employed now than at the beginning of George W. Bush' term in office.

    4) Instead I read that "We are turning the corner" and that "with George Bush's leadership" the country had added several million new jobs in the last several months.

    5) I now had a good understanding of how to look critically at the Hopkins Study that appeared in the Lancet. Read below and tell me how I've done.

    6) It is clear to me that the people at John Hopkins University were measuring the wrong data. They measured Iraqi civilian deaths since the U.S. led invasion back in April of 2003. Such a negative thing to measure.

    7) Anyone who looked critically at the study would realize right away that we have "turned the corner" in Iraq since April 2003 and that there have been thousands of Iraqi births since the invasion.

    I am now a changed man. Anthony, I am forever in your debt. How can I ever thank you.

    Now that I have seen the light I am going straight down to the Multnomah County Elections Division on Tuesday morning to demand that they return my ballot so I can change my vote to George W. Bush for President. I think my no vote on measure 36 and the vote for Ron Wyden are still ok. As near as I can tell the No on 36 crowd hasn't taken a position on Iraqi civillian deaths and even Kevin Mannix doesn't want King elected to any job above dog catcher.

    Thanks for keeping after me until I "got it" Anthony. I wish the very best to you, your family and your friends.



  • Anne Dufay (unverified)

    Anthony - going back to WWII is very disingenuous. Wars are fought differently now. Just go back as far as Vietnam, much more contemporary, and similar in many more ways than WWII. We dropped more ordinance on that tiny little country, Vietnam, than we dropped on Germany and Japan in all of WWII.

    Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese died in that war. Magnitudes more than have, according to Lancet (which, is a publication with real, extended, solid experience in such mortality studies, as Slate, is not...) Iraq.

    Shock and Awe. It comes with a price tag.

  • Jesse (unverified)

    We were talking about this article's precision over here in case that adds to the discussion.

  • Anthony (unverified)


    The problem is not my “disingenuousness” but your incomprehension. My argument is meant not to draw a parallel between the methods of war between WWII and Iraq, but precisely to contrast them. According to the source I cite (the Harper Collins Atlas), at a time when civilian populations were deliberately and persistently targeted over long periods of time, the casualties figures from then suggest that the Lancet/Hopkins numbers are grossly inaccurate.

    If in Vietnam the bombing were conducted in a manner and with technology analogous to that used in Iraq, you’d have a point. It wasn’t, and you don’t.

    Jesse, thanks for a very reasonable reply over at the other thread. I’ll try to find time to answer later on today over there.

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