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Sheridan reports: "Nearly half a million people have died from war-related causes in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003, according to an academic study published in the United States on Tuesday."

An Iraqi girl is shown covered in blood in the moments after nervous US soldiers shot and killed both of her parents. (photo: Chris Hondro/Getty Images)
An Iraqi girl is shown covered in blood in the moments after nervous US soldiers shot and killed both of her parents. (photo: Chris Hondro/Getty Images)

Iraq Death Toll Reaches 500,000 Since Start of US-Led Invasion, New Study Says

By Kerry Sheridan, Agence France-Presse

22 March 14


early half a million people have died from war-related causes in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003, according to an academic study published in the United States on Tuesday.

That toll is far higher than the nearly 115,000 violent civilian deaths reported by the British-based group Iraq Body Count, which bases its tally on media reports, hospital and morgue records, and official and non-governmental accounts.

The latest estimate by university researchers in the United States, Canada and Baghdad in cooperation with the Iraqi Ministry of Health covers not only violent deaths but other avoidable deaths linked to the invasion, insurgencies and subsequent social breakdown.

It also differs from some previous counts by spanning a longer period of time and by using randomized surveys of households across Iraq to project a nationwide death toll from 2003 to mid 2011.

Violence caused most of the deaths, but about a third were indirectly linked to the war, and these deaths have been left out of previous counts, said lead author Amy Hagopian, a public health researcher at the University of Washington.

Those included situations when a pregnant woman encountered difficult labor but could not leave the house due to fighting, or when a person drank contaminated water, or when a patient could not get treated at a hospital because staff was overwhelmed with war casualties.

"These are all indirect deaths, and they are significant," Hagopian told AFP.

The aim of the study was to provide a truer picture of the suffering caused by war, and hopefully to make governments think twice about the harm that would come from an invasion, she said.

"I think it is important that people understand the consequences of launching wars on public health, on how people live. This country is forever changed."

The research team from the University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University, Simon Fraser University and Mustansiriya University conducted the work on a volunteer basis using pooled internal resources instead of seeking outside funds.

Their tally was compiled by asking adults living in 2,000 randomly selected households in 100 geographic clusters across Iraq if family members had died, when and why.

Researchers used the survey data, which was completed by 1,960 of those chosen, to calculate the death rate before the war and after. When multiplied by the whole population, they returned a number that represented "excess deaths."

Researchers estimated there were 405,000 excess Iraqi deaths attributable to the war through mid-2011.

They also attempted to account for deaths missed because families had fled the country, and estimated 55,805 total deaths, bringing the total to nearly 461,000.

About 70 percent of Iraq deaths from 2003-2011 were violent in nature, with most caused by gunshots, followed by car bombs and other explosions, said the study.

Coalition forces were blamed for 35 percent of violent deaths; militias were blamed for 32 percent. The rest were either unknown (21 percent), criminals (11 percent) or Iraqi forces (one percent).

Heart conditions were the most common cause of non-violent death from 2003-2011 -- indicating a key role of stress in war-related deaths -- followed by chronic illness and cancer.

In a perspective article accompanying the PLoS Medicine study, Salman Rawaf, director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center at Imperial College London, said the latest research would likely be called into question, as have other estimates before it, with most "perceived as being politically motivated, deliberately either over-reporting or suppressing the number of deaths."

"This estimate carries substantial uncertainty, and undoubtedly the methodology and findings of this latest study will be controversial and debated," he wrote.

However, the attempt to quantify the catastrophe created by war is "valuable" in the context of understanding the health consequences of war, he said.

"Living in Iraq today is no longer about how many have died, but how future deaths should be prevented." your social media marketing partner


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+6 # Cherylaaa 2014-03-22 16:33
Please read and sign my petition.
We can not hold our heads up while our foreign policies allow for these kinds of actions...peace .
+1 # indian weaver 2014-03-22 16:41
If you want a link to work, you have to put a period at its end.
0 # tauzinger 2014-03-22 23:27
That story is from October ...
+11 # CarolynScarr 2014-03-23 00:08
From my files, the 2006 report published in Lancet finds:
"Estimating deaths among the Iraqi population
Using the figure of 5.5 deaths/1000/yea r as a baseline for the following years, then any rate above this figure would be considered excess deaths. For the entire post-invasion period the excess deaths were 7.2/1000/year.W hen these rates of excess deaths are applied to the population of the survey area (26.1 million), we estimate that through July 2006, there have been 654,965 excess deaths in Iraq as a consequence of the war from all causes.

"Excess deaths can be further divided into those from violent and from non-violent causes. The vast majority of excess deaths were from violent causes. The excess deaths from violent causes were 7.2/1000. Applying this to the population we estimate that 601,027 were due to violent causes."

"The survey was conducted by an American and Iraqi team of public health researchers. Data were collected by Iraqi medical doctors with analysis conducted by faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. The results will be [were] published in the British medical journal, The Lancet."

How does this new estimate find that 8 years later there are only 500,000 deaths of Iraqis resulting from the invasion of 2003, the occupation and the continued violence ?
+4 # Glen 2014-03-23 10:57
There is no way I would believe any number below a million. Violent deaths come in many forms. Then one must add peripheral death in outlying areas from disease, starvation, and all things related.

In light of the fact the U.S. bombed both Afghanistan and Iraq back to the stone age there are no doubt millions, not thousands of deaths.
+5 # Kootenay Coyote 2014-03-23 08:22
Much thanks, W, for this noble legacy.
+5 # fredboy 2014-03-23 09:51
This is the evil we allowed. May God have mercy on our souls--although we don't deserve it.
+3 # AshamedAmerican 2014-03-23 12:06
Not allowed- our government intentionally caused this. We were responsible for more than a million civilian deaths there before 2003. We are responsible for at least another couple million since.
+5 # fredboy 2014-03-23 11:23
And now we walk away from their destroyed world--like a creep who picks up a vase in a store and drops and breaks it--and go on to other, current interests...

Vietnam, Iraq--one day we're going to draw the very deadly eye of Karma.
+1 # dusty 2014-03-23 15:27
Let me see, now we are trying to tell the Crimea what they will do -- and the Russian government what they will do. With all the years of the "Chechen", Georgia,or other actions the death toll never approached 500,000 combined. And how many folks have died due to our war in Afghanistan.
0 # RMDC 2014-03-24 07:55
I don't believe the 500,000 number. My guess is that it is a lot higher. And you have to account for all the people who are still living but have had their lives destroyed. They are living in either internal or external exile, in refugee camps. They have lost family members. And their society is in shambles. Before the 1991 Gulf war, Iraq had a very high standard of living. Saddam and the Ba'ath party brought modern living to Iraq. In truth, the US did just what it said -- it bombed Iraq back into the stone age.

What the US did to Iraq from 1991 up to now is a HOLOCAUST. Probably in excess of 3 - 4 million dead, 6 million in exile, 5 million wounded. How will US crimes ever be paid for. Will the Bush family and their operatives (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et al) ever be punished. The world needs to hold Nuremberg style war crimes trials for these people. I'm against the death penalty, but I'd make an exception to see these war criminal hang.

Genghis Khan sacked Baghdad in the 1200s. Iraqis remember that. They now say the Bush family is worse than Genghis Khan.

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