Friday, May 13, 2005

Iraq Civilian Casualties of War...

Civilian Casualties in Iraq

Re(1): ‘Iraq’s Dead Counted’, Tim Blair,
Re(2): ‘Iraq Living Conditions Survey 2004’, UN Report
Re(3): ‘Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey’, The Lancet, Les Roberts, Riyadh Lafta, Richard Garfield, Jamal Khudhairi, Gilbert Burnham

Please Review and make your own decision (hat tip: Tim Blair):

Lancet Study Findings Summary:

Findings: The risk of death was estimated to be 2·5-fold (95% CI 1·6–4·2) higher after the invasion when compared with the preinvasion period. Two-thirds of all violent deaths were reported in one cluster in the city of Falluja. If we exclude the Falluja data, the risk of death is 1·5-fold (1·1–2·3) higher after the invasion. We estimate that 98 000 more deaths than expected (8000–194 000) happened after the invasion outside of Falluja and far more if the outlier Falluja cluster is included. The major causes of death before the invasion were myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accidents, and other chronic disorders whereas after the invasion violence was the primary cause of death. Violent deaths were widespread, reported in 15 of 33 clusters, and were mainly attributed to coalition forces. Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children. The risk of death from violence in the period after the invasion was 58 times higher (95% CI 8·1–419) than in the period before the war.

Interpretation: 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. We have shown that collection of public-health information is possible even during periods of extreme violence. Our results need further verification and should lead to changes to reduce noncombatant deaths from air strikes.

Iraq Living Conditions Survey 2004, War-related deaths – between 18,000 and 29,000
The number of deaths of civilians and military personnel in Iraq in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion is another set of figures that have raised controversy. The ILCS data indicates 24,000 deaths, with a 95 percent confidence interval from 18,000 to 29,000 deaths. The confidence interval was estimated using a linearisation technique (using SPSS Complex Samples, version 12).

The website “Iraq Body Count” ( estimates that between 14,619 and 16,804 deaths have occurred between the beginning of 2003 and 7 December 2004 (IBC 2004).

Science Sucks:
For those of you who wasted lots of ink defending the Lancet Study in Matthew Yglesias’ and other left and left of center sites – Who do you want to believe?

  1. The Lancet Study which estimates a civilian casualty rate in Iraq of between 8,000 and 194,000 with a 95% certainty. Naturally, you assumed the bell curve would demonstrate that the most likely estimate was about 98,000.
  2. The UN study which estimates a civilian casualty rate in Iraq of between 18,000 and 29,000 with the same 95% certainty. The UN estimate implies a most likely estimate of 24,000 civilian casualties.
  3. The IraqBodyCount website which documents a casualty rate in Iraq of between 14,619 and 16,804 deaths for the same approximate timeline.

Please note, both the UN and IraqBodyCount casualty count estimates fit within the Lancet Study with a 95% certainty. Yuk, yuk…

By The Way, Saddam Hussein’s finely oiled murder machine would have killed about 30,000 civilians within the same approximate timeline. And that killing would never have ceased or been reduced. And that killing was sanctioned by the state and implicitly accepted by the isolationists, the burlap sack and Birkenstock crowd, and the real politic elites.

By now an additional 70,000 folks would have been euthanized and carefully placed in ditches and under mosque sidewalks for a proper Islamic burial!!!

Maybe, after the honorable French, Germans, and Russians removed the sanctions that were killing all the children in Iraq, Saddam Hussein would have used his enormous oil wealth for the benefit of mankind. Or maybe he would have reconstituted his other petrochemical and nuclear programs…

1 comment:

Tim Lambert said...

The Lancet number is for all excess deaths (which includes the increase in murder, accidents and disease) while the ILCS number is for deaths directly related to the war (which just includes deaths caused by the coalition and the insurgents). The time periods are also different. If you compare like with like, the ILCS closely agrees with the Lancet. More here.