Wednesday, July 13, 2005

128,000 Iraqi Civilian Casualties

{following on from here}

Now says an Iraqi humanitarian organization:
The 128,000 figure only includes those whose relatives have been informed of their deaths and does not include those were abducted, assassinated or simply disappeared.

Well no, obviously. From the LNC listserv:
John Matson writes:
"It is hard to get figures that agree on the war deaths in Iraq"

I agree entirely. And the fact that the number of Iraqi deaths is
unknown, whereas we know how many US soldiers have stubbed their toes is
in itself a marker of structural racism - they are 'mere Arabs' after all.
However, any discussion should proceed from up-to-date figures, not by
citing a BBC report from almost a year ago. Taking this as our starting

Iraq Body Count is now 22,838 - 25,869. However, their methodology is
inherently flawed. To use the reports of the major media is simply daft
given what is self evident about news values.

Brookings Institute: as of May 31, 2005, 12,700-23,000 (not including
deaths from crime) or 29,700-60,800 including deaths from crime. Quite a
large range that. What they say about 'deaths from crime': these are
"based on the number of bodies brought to the Baghdad morgue with mortal
gunshot wounds. We recognize that our estimates could be too high as a
result of that some of the gunshot victims could be insurgents killed
intentionally by U.S. military, but also that they could be too low
since many murder victims are never taken to the morgue, but buried
quickly and privately and therefore never recorded in official tallies."
In short, they "recognize that these estimates are most probably lower
than the actual number since many separate incidents go unreported or
unnoticed." See LINK

UK foreign secretary said that casualties were >10,000 in February 2004
and for some reason hasn't raised this figure since. Why we should take
him to be an authority figure, given his ideological stake in the
killing, is beyond me.

People's Kifah >37,000 This is an interesting study, given that in
contrast to the above estimates, it is actually drawn from field
research in Iraq. A novel approach - actually talking to Iraqis instead
of guessing. However, this projection is only for the period March 2003
to October 2003.
It is not unthinkable that this figure may have increased in the last 2
years. If the increase occurred proportionately (which I grant is
unlikely given the slaughter that took place in the first few months)
civilian deaths would stand at 172,666.

Lancet: >100,000 Until the report I posted on, this is the most recent
and accurate report. Although based on a sample & projection, it is
methodologically sound. The Iraqi humanitarian organization applies
and updates this research and hence it is the most accurate and up to
date figure we have.

John E Richardson
Dept of Journalism Studies
Sheffield University

Next, a return to discussing poetics. But first may I gently nudge your attention this-away and that- away.

Some more timely thoughts on protest here. And here's putting the lie to all those pious calls for "respectful silence."

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