"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

25,000 is just a baseline figure

Dear Madam,

It is encouraging to see that the Irish Times has made the civilian death toll in Iraq headline news, as it should be. The coalition's policy of sweeping these figures under the carpet has been accepted for too long. There is an important point to remember with this in mind. Jonathan Steele and Richard Norton-Taylor state that "the total number of deaths in the study is significantly lower than the estimated 98,000 figure in a disputed study in the medical journal the Lancet last autumn." Although the figures are quite different, the fact that each study measures different variables makes it impossible to debunk the Lancet findings by using the IBC figures. The important inaccuracy in this account is that while the Lancet study did create a stir, it is not the methodolgy that is disputed, but the figure for the death toll. With no statisical basis for criticism, the study has been disregarded by the coalition authority and inturn the liberal media. The fact that the coalition does not 'do body counts' should not impede the independent media from revealing the real human toll of war.

Yours sincerely,

25,000 Iraqis 'killed in war'

Almost 25,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the two years since the invasion, and four times as many died at the hands of US-led forces than suicide bombers and other insurgents, according to a detailed study of the human cost of the conflict, write Jonathan Steele and Richard Norton-Taylor in London.

The survey, which calculates the toll of dead and injured since March 2003, also shows that the rate of criminal violence has risen dramatically. It comes after a particularly bloody few days in Iraq. Gunmen yesterday shot dead two Sunni Arab members of a committee drafting Iraq's new constitution, and an aide.

1. http://www.ireland.com