Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

my newspaper column for this week: Iraqi death toll

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007) Donate to DU
 
flowomo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 12:05 PM
Original message
my newspaper column for this week: Iraqi death toll
also available online at:
http://cumberlink.com/articles/2006/10/12/editorial/ric...

MODS: I write this weekly column; I have reprint permissions as long as The Sentinel is credited


Casualty estimates should give pause
By Rich Lewis, October 12, 2006
The Sentinel, Carlisle, PA

A few weeks ago, we learned that the heads of the 16 spy services within the federal government had unanimously concluded that the war in Iraq has bred a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world.

The much publicized National Intelligence Estimate written in April concluded the war is cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.

Yesterday we were given one horrifying explanation of why that is so.

The British medical journal, The Lancet, has published the results of a survey by Johns Hopkins University showing that an estimated 655,000 Iraqi civilians have died as a consequence of the war.

That number is more than the combined populations of Cumberland, Perry, Adams and Dauphin counties.
RSS Feed / Comment on this Story / E-mail this story / Print Version

The study estimates that 601,000 of the excess deaths resulted from violence and the other 54,000 from disease and other causes. By excess deaths the study means people who would not have died if the war had not taken place.

About a third of violent deaths were directly attributed to coalition forces. In many other cases the responsible party was not known, or the households were hesitant to specifically identify them.

President Bush was quick to deny the findings, saying he did not believe the report was credible but he gave no reasons for that conclusion or offer an estimate of his own. A year ago, Bush put the death toll at 30,000.

But his remarks came within hours of a report from the Iraqi Health Ministry that more than 2,660 Iraqi civilians were killed in Baghad alone in September, an increase of 400 over the month before. The Hopkins study indicates that similar levels of violence occur in many other cities, including Mosul, Ramadi and Falluja. In light of those numbers, the Hopkins estimate of 15,000 deaths a month across Iraq is hardly incredible and is certainly way beyond the presidents estimate.

The Hopkins study (available at www.thelancet.com ) is far from perfect. It was, after all, conducted in a war zone. But the authors are very clear about their methods, which Ronald Waldman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, told the Washington Post are tried and true. Waldman called the study the best estimate of mortality we have.

The Hopkins researchers also acknowledged a margin or error that would put the number of excess deaths in Iraq between 426,369 and 793,663.

Whether you choose the high end, low end or middle, these numbers are shocking.

Most Americans are rightly appalled that 2,754 U.S. soldiers have been killed in the war but it was our national decision to place our own citizens in harms way. We chose to make the sacrifice and must take responsibility for it.

But we must also take responsibility for the deaths of these hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, most of whom did not ask for or welcome the war.

It is a heavy weight on the conscience because it is not clear that Iraqis have received anything of value in exchange for the sacrifice we forced them to make.

One of the Bush administrations oft-stated reasons for invading Iraq was to liberate the country from a brutal dictator and thus improve the lives of ordinary Iraqis.

This argument became increasingly important after it was clear that Iraq had no connection whatsoever to 9/11 and that Saddam Husseins arsenal of weapons of mass destruction was a fantasy written by people who had decided upon war long before 9/11 and who deliberately buried evidence to the contrary.

If we couldnt explain or justify the war in terms of making ourselves safer, at least we could take comfort in the belief that we had freed the Iraqis to enjoy the blessings of democracy. They would, we were told, dance in the streets and greet us with flowers.

It was a pleasing but false bit of self-congratulation.

The war we instigated has killed ordinary Iraqis at a rate far surpassing Saddams. The most widely cited statistic about Saddams brutality comes from The Documental Centre for Human Rights in Iraq an anti-Saddam organization based in Iran and an organization with clear motive to put the worst possible face on the pre-war situation. The center estimated that Saddam had conducted 600,000 civilian executions.

But it took Saddam 24 years to kill that many. The Hopkins study says the war has achieved that body count in just four years.

And in the decades before the war, Iraqis led relatively normal lives people had food and electricity, jobs and social lives; schools, museums and stores were open; crime rates were low.

Now? Just read the news. The country is a disaster area. Baghdad is hell. Mass murder is a daily event.

Jan Egeland, the United Nations under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, said yesterday that about 2,000 people are fleeing Iraq for Syria every day, bringing the number of Iraqi refugees abroad to as many as 1.5 million. Another 1.5 million Iraqis are now displaced within their own country, the UN estimates.

Its not hard to understand why Iraqis are running away. They didnt need a Hopkins study to tell them that the prospects for staying alive in Iraq are very poor indeed.

Nor is it hard to imagine that they feel deep resentment toward the country that started it all.

Rich Lewis e-mail address is:
rlcolumn@comcast.net


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 12:21 PM
Response to Original message
1. I just reposted that on my union's BBS
Because of the 3KB size limit, I pared it down as follows:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Casualty estimates should give pause

By Rich Lewis, October 12, 2006

A few weeks ago, we learned that the heads of the 16 spy services within the federal government had unanimously concluded that the war in Iraq has bred a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world.

The much publicized National Intelligence Estimate written in April concluded the war is cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.

Yesterday we were given one horrifying explanation of why that is so.

The British medical journal, The Lancet, has published the results of a survey by Johns Hopkins University showing that an estimated 655,000 Iraqi civilians have died as a consequence of the war.

That number is more than the combined populations of Cumberland, Perry, Adams and Dauphin counties.

he study estimates that 601,000 of the excess deaths resulted from violence and the other 54,000 from disease and other causes. By excess deaths the study means people who would not have died if the war had not taken place.

About a third of violent deaths were directly attributed to coalition forces. In many other cases the responsible party was not known, or the households were hesitant to specifically identify them.
.
.
.
The war we instigated has killed ordinary Iraqis at a rate far surpassing Saddams. The most widely cited statistic about Saddams brutality comes from The Documental Centre for Human Rights in Iraq an anti-Saddam organization based in Iran and an organization with clear motive to put the worst possible face on the pre-war situation. The center estimated that Saddam had conducted 600,000 civilian executions.

But it took Saddam 24 years to kill that many. The Hopkins study says the war has achieved that body count in just four years.
.
.
.

http://cumberlink.com/articles/2006/10/12/editorial/ric...
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you.

pnorman
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
flowomo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. thanks....
I'm just trying to help get that story out... people need to refelct on this
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Red Zelda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
3. Thanks, Rich
Your work is very much appreciated in this otherwise vast cultural and intellectual wasteland that is Central Pennsyl-bama.
You go, Guy!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
flowomo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Hey RZ, thanks!
I know there are a bunch of central PA'ers on this board, and I'm always glad to hear from them. I was in Harrisburg just last weekend, touring my Dickinson College class through the state Capitol and talking about the "semiotics" of the place -- all about power and privilege. Then for contrast, we went down to the farmers' market a few blocks away to get in touch with the real people of the city. Quite a gulf between the two spaces!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
flowomo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 09:35 PM
Response to Original message
5. kick
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Fri Dec 19th 2014, 03:41 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC