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  • Iraqi Dead May Total 600,000

    by Leon
    11th October, 2006 at 1:27 pm    

    A team of American and Iraqi public health researchers has estimated that 600,000 civilians have died in violence across Iraq since the 2003 American invasion, the highest estimate ever for the toll of the war here.

    The figure breaks down to about 15,000 violent deaths a month, a number that is quadruple the one for July given by Iraqi government hospitals and the morgue in Baghdad and published last month in a United Nations report in Iraq. That month was the highest for Iraqi civilian deaths since the American invasion.

    But it is an estimate and not a precise count, and researchers acknowledged a margin of error that ranged from 426,369 to 793,663 deaths.
    The mortality rate before the American invasion was about 5.5 people per 1,000 per year, the study found. That rate rose to 19.8 deaths per 1,000 people in the year ending in June. [Via The New York Times]

    Is there anything new that can be said about the sheer tragedy that is Iraq; its invasion, occupation and [what looks like a] civil war? The death toll rockets skyward and still there’s no sign of sanity from our leaders regarding the problems they’ve caused.

    (Hat Tip: Lenin’s Tomb)

                  Post to del.icio.us

    Filed in: Middle East,United States

    80 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2006 at 1:38 pm  

      I really want Harry’s Place and Norman Geras’s take on this. I don’t agree with anything that Lenin’s Tomb says about Islamic terrorism or Israel/Palestine, I detest those assholes who excuse Muslim fundamentalist violence in Britain, but Harry’s Place and Norman Geras owe us their reflections on this, in all seriousness, without being rude to them or having names called or slurs thrown around. I understand Johan Hari performed a mea culpa recently, it would be interesting to read from others as to whether they have reflected on their original stance. If there are Harry’s Place or Norman Geras people reading this, I’d love to hear from you.

    2. Kesara / StrangelyPsychedelic — on 11th October, 2006 at 2:24 pm  

      Oh dear - looks like quite a few anti-war posters are gonna need updating (from 100,000…)

      This is like playing Wheel-Of-Misfortune with Iraqi lives! I’ll take 1.2 million dead for $45 and raise The DPRK Team by $87 please…

    3. Bert Preast — on 11th October, 2006 at 2:58 pm  

      This is going to sound rather harsh, but does this mean the war has now caused almost as many deaths as the sanctions did?

    4. Leon — on 11th October, 2006 at 3:04 pm  

      I don’t think it sounds harsh at all, it’s a good question.

    5. The Common Humanist — on 11th October, 2006 at 3:06 pm  

      But neither has caused as many as Saddam Hussein…………sorry, couldn’t resist.

    6. raz — on 11th October, 2006 at 3:35 pm  

      “But neither has caused as many as Saddam Hussein”

      Given that Saddam was in power for almost 25 years, and that this 655,000 figure is from the last 3 years, Saddam would have had to have killed more than 5 million people to be killing as many as are dying now.

    7. Nav — on 11th October, 2006 at 3:42 pm  

      I don’t think we can just assume these numbers are accurate, though. The fact that it’s six times as much as most estimates makes me skeptical. Not that I ultimately think it makes the biggest difference. 50,000, 100,000 or 655,000. It’s a tragedy either way. And the criminal negligence of the Bush administration is just as deplorable.

    8. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2006 at 4:14 pm  

      Don’t the pro war left feel like dickheads sometimes?

    9. Nyrone — on 11th October, 2006 at 4:35 pm  

      I hope that every politician that gave this invasion the go-ahead see this figure staring out at them from newspapers and TV screens.
      I hope giant 6′s and 0′s haunt them in their miserable money-power filled dreams, the fucking greedy liars..

      “is there anything new that can be said about this?

      Yes, actually..there is.
      How about the fact that it’s still going on, and that nobody in charge of our country has even apoligised or been held accountable for it? how about stating that GB mentioned he will always think this was the right decision if it was only his dog and wife that remained convinced along with him? Dementia??

      I read accounts or Vietnam and Rwanda as historical events, and yet this crime against humanity has taken place on our doorstep, and it’s our generation that failed to stop it from happening.
      Do people have such short attention spans, are they so fickle that they suffer from such grotesque amnesia?

      If I’ve learnt anything these last few years, it is that these enormous crimes are endlessly repeatable and that every war we have seen so far could easily be repeated in today’s age.
      Even WW2 and Rwanda. I wanted to believe it could never transpire after finishing my CGSE history, but it’s clear now that Einstein was right..human stupidity is infinite.

    10. The Common Humanist — on 11th October, 2006 at 4:38 pm  

      Whether you kill approx 2M people between 1979 and 2003 or 655,000 in three years the people are still very dead and every single one a tragedy.

      So your point is what? 2 million dead iraqis and iranians isn’t as significant as somewhere between 85,000 and 655,000 Iraqis because the Americans killed 31% of the latter?

      And it is also depressing to note that Iraqi on Iraqi violence now accounts for 69% of the deaths - a direct consequence of the disastrous US post war policy and actions.

      Now, this Johns Hopkins study has probably counted too highly (this is a regular feature of appraisal methodologies that rely on sampling questionnaires) but even if you half it, it’s still a tragic figure.

    11. raz — on 11th October, 2006 at 4:40 pm  

      “the people are still very dead and every single one a tragedy”

      Exactly. Which is why your “But neither has caused as many as Saddam Hussein” comment was so pathetic and childish. Grow up.

    12. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2006 at 4:43 pm  

      I get the feeling no pro war left people are going to answer my question about whether they ever feel like dickheads on days like this.

      The preposterous Johan Hari wrote an article, like chubby cheeked boy apologising for having stolen some sweets from the cornershop, about why he felt like a dickhead. I will never be able to take that silly man seriously again. But are there not other people, like the patrons of Harry’s Place who occasionally post here (David t where are you?), Nav who posted on this thread, and also Norman Geras — do you ever look in the mirror or in a quiet moment, feel like a dickhead?

      I should add that on almost everything else in relation to Islamic extremism in the UK I agree with you completely,and think that some on the left’s compact with extremist Islam is pathetic and loathsome. But don’t you ever feel like dickheads for cheerleading this war?

    13. Leon — on 11th October, 2006 at 4:44 pm  

      Do people have such short attention spans, are they so fickle that they suffer from such grotesque amnesia?

      Hey don’t lecture me mate, I was at all the demonstrations, risked a police beating at the Oxford Street blockades, went to the meetings, wrote about it, argued against it with everyone in my family/friends and it did nothing. I’ve known people who did far more than me, were far more committed and were burnt out as activists because of this.

      Short of storming every military base (which didn’t happen because those fuckers the STWC said its better to march) I fail to see what else we could have done to stop it.

      Exactly what did you do to oppose this war and occupation?

    14. Refresh — on 11th October, 2006 at 4:45 pm  

      Actually I think you’ll find this figure with the deaths due to sanctions are way beyond Saddam Hussein’s own.

    15. Kesara / StrangelyPsychedelic — on 11th October, 2006 at 5:05 pm  

      Shame on the Bushie Administration for failing to gag the folks at Johns Hopkins…

      …I suppose no one would take it seriously if it came out a study from, say, The Maldives…

      theres irony there is.

    16. bananabrain — on 11th October, 2006 at 5:06 pm  

      so what would this “sign of sanity” look like, then, given that the various insurgent groups, sects and political parties would apparently rather murder each other than have dinner? and would they also have to display signs of sanity? and what about the iranians? should they do something different?

      i’m not asking so as to be difficult - whether you think the war was right or not, what can feasibly be done now? what’s the best case scenario?



    17. Neil W — on 11th October, 2006 at 5:13 pm  

      Yes, we are a virus with shoes………

      Mea Culpa time:
      As a Harrys Place regular, let me offer you this, I supported the war and to be honest aren’t ashamed to say it.

      Why did I support the war?

      1. The Iraqi people needed a break - the brutality of the Ba’ath, the Iran-Iraq war, 91 War and sanctions were all terrible. Principally though, we asked the Iraqis to rise up in 91 and they did and we watched them be slaughtered.

      2. Have met and known many Iraqi victims of Saddams regime - could not support a ‘peace’ movement that would leave him in place.

      3. Getting rid of a brutal dictator and enabling the Iraqis to determine their own future was therefore the right and just thing to do.

      So imagine my anger and hatred for the Bush Admin when not long into the initial war that it began to look less like a ’91 style invasion and more like a coup attempt.

      The situation has got worse and worse from there - a situation that you can lay the blame squarely at the feet of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz et al.

      Now, I have always had a healthy distrust and dislike of the right side of the aisle but I did hope that in 2003 Bush could actually do somenthing that might leave a lasting postive legacy for the people of Iraq. Personally I underestimated just how arrogant and hubris ridden the Bush Admin had become and how that would cripple efforts in Iraq.

      I don’t think it is particularly unreasonable to suppose that if a country is going to fight a war of strategic choice, when there exists a strong body of experience of what works and what doesn’t, that they might devote the proper efforts of a great power rather then trying to pull off a banana republic coup d’tat.

      So call that a mea culpa if you so wish but don’t suppose that all of the people who supported the liberation of iraq to be bloodthirsty right wing warmongers, for those of us on the left who did it was more a motivation to attone for the mistakes of the past and to give the Iraqis a chance at something better.

      Clearly, that has not worked out as hoped (I think thats British understatement used to maximum effect there)



    18. Leon — on 11th October, 2006 at 5:13 pm  

      First sign of sanity: admitting they lied and fucked things up big time. You can’t take responsibility for a problem until you admit your part in its creation.

      what can feasibly be done now?

      Well, that’s the big question. Any attempt to honestly sort this mess out would require a massive shift of coming out of denial over the matter.

    19. Leon — on 11th October, 2006 at 5:14 pm  

      Yes, we are a virus with shoes………

      Heh, I love the way Bill Hicks fans slip in quotes randomly on here.:D

    20. ZinZin — on 11th October, 2006 at 5:16 pm  

      Refresh, Raz, common Humanist please do not go into a childish he killed more than he did argument. It does neither of you any favours.

      Jagdeep asking such questions of the pro-war camp is a pointless exercise. However we should not pull out and allow the Islamists a free hand.

    21. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2006 at 5:20 pm  


      Thanks for your honesty and for being so open. But I can’t believe how naive you were.

      I think a little humility would do good across the board from the pro-war people right now.

      Pro war lefties, like participants at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, feel free to express your thoughts on whether or not you feel like a dickhead on days like this. I think it is important to talk about it, to work out in plain sight how you could have put your name to such an egregious error.

    22. Sid — on 11th October, 2006 at 5:23 pm  

      Where have you gone, Norman Geras,
      Our nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you

    23. Nav — on 11th October, 2006 at 5:23 pm  

      Jagdeep: I was actually against the war. I just wanted it to succeed once it started, and had to admit that there were some good arguments for the war that I’d overlooked. But never did I think it was a great idea.

      I think most of the pro-war left no longer supports the war. Some (though not Johann Hari) will use the defence that it’s the horrible execution of the war that made things so terrible, and I think that’s fair. The Bush Administration has made every possible mistake. It’s impossible to know how things would have gone if these mistakes weren’t made, but certainly they would be a lot better than they are now.

    24. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2006 at 5:27 pm  


      You see, on virtually every issue when it comes to British multiculturalism and the apologetics for suicide bombing I agree with the Harry’s Place line. I loathe, despise and hate Islamic fundamentalists and hate how they are poisoning the well of British society. I detest those who apologise and exculpate terrorism.

      But I also cannot get my head around how they could be so much in error on this colossal issue. I think it would do real good, as Leon says, to talk about how they worked themselves into putting their name to this endeavour so they can contribute to the debate as to how to extricate ourselves from it. The damage done to the moral integrity of Britain and America will take an entire generation to even begin to shift in policy areas like this. And I just don’t understand how sentient and intelligent people of the pro war left can go around without analysing their stance. On Pickled Politics there are many issues in which we face up to errors in order to fix them. Sometimes we get attacked for this, and people say you are perpetuating stereotypes. But just because your enemies will attack you is not a reason not to face up to something.

    25. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2006 at 5:35 pm  

      Thanks for clearing that up Nav. I’m sorry for assuming you were pro-war, and your stance on wanting it to be done as properly as possible after it became inevitable is a creditable one.

      I remember reading an article by Anrew Sullivan published in the run up either in the Times and the Sunday Times in which he specifically said that invading Iraq would have the additional value of becoming a ‘jihadi honey trap’ in which the terrorists would congregate to be picked out like flies, ie: make them congragate in one place and then take them out one by one. Like all armchair analysis, it is enticing, and the prospect of shooting dead jihadis and sucide bombers is attractive on a certain level even to me. But in reality, it is an unbelievably callous thing to have anticipated - without regard for what would happen to innocent Iraqis to have their lives used as ‘honey pots’ to mop up Al Qaeda - and if the current situation could not have been foreseen, it is at the minimum an example of criminal negligence. I have tried to find that article, but cannot locate it on google. Nevertheless, it points to a level of belligerence and fantasising on the part of some pro-war people that should make them reflect deeply, as a very simple and basic requirement.

    26. ZinZin — on 11th October, 2006 at 5:37 pm  

      Fair comment but it will only happen when the Bush Administration admits that the war hasn’t gone the way they expected. This is not going to happen.

      I would like you to put such a question to the Harry’s place crowd as i agree with them on issues such as Islamic extremism and multiculturalism. Its fair to say that they are wrong on the war and i get no satisfaction from the way events have unfolded.

      The Pro-war left in my view is as myopic as the anti-war left they are a mirror image of each other. This is the Left in Britain today Euston Manifesto versus Respect and i don’t fit comfortably into either group.

    27. Neil W — on 11th October, 2006 at 5:38 pm  


      No worries, what annoys me is being labelled as some bloodthirsty warmonger, am not, just something who thinks we should atone for past mistakes (i.e. 91 uprising)

      I prefer wilfully optimistic but I don’t think naive is too far wide of the mark (Like I said, I totally misread the Bush Admin - perhaps its having grown up in the 80′s, I might not have liked the Reagan WH but at least they were, well, thorough, and I honestly thought the son wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the father by doing only half a job)

      (You might want to come back in abit - the sound of me banging head on desk will continue for quite some time)

      Speaking of naive - having read alot about the pre, during and post war situation with regards to the US admin I have to pinch myself to remind myself that, yes, they really were that stupid.

      For anyone wishing to journey through the mountains of arrogance and crass stupidity I recommend:

      ‘The Assassins Gate’ by George Packer
      ‘Fiasco’ (can’t remember the author)
      Bob Woodwards latest too.

      So there you have it.

      Best Regards


    28. Nyrone — on 11th October, 2006 at 6:13 pm  


      Probably everything you mentioned.
      I was as active as possible, and continue to be so, but we are not the majority here. I appluaud you for what you have put in, but I still think ‘we’ collectivley all failed in preventing this…eg: why did the Media spin the 45-min claim without investigating it properly? shouldn’t we the citizens have stopped that lie in it’s early trcaks? John Pilger said that if Journalists had done their job, they may have even prevented this war…. as someone who is currently working in news, I’ll tell you why they didn’t because they are not interested in promoting resoloution or peace, but in selling newspapers…

      The comments were not an attack on you, they were a vent of frustration at the nature of attrition, that allows events in ‘history’ to simply be forgotten every couple of years.
      It’s a perfectly reasonable thing to ask why some of these people in power and in society don’t still feel the stab of events in Nanking, between the Hutu and Tutsi’s, the events of WW2…it just seems like we (as a society) suffer from some collective amnesia that allows us to forget the horrors of war which occur in faraway places. Do we need empathy studies?

      My comments were simply connected to that quote how “history only remembers the victors” line of thought.
      When I met Brian Haw opposite parliment a few months ago, he almost bit my head off… He said:

      “has the world gone mad? why isn’t everyone in this country out here with me? why do they leave after the protests finish? why are they not here every day and every night demanding that they stop killing our children?”

      My viewpoint is entirely personal Leon.
      why was I not more outraged that I was?
      Why were all people not more outraged?
      What else could I have done, as an individual and as part of a group?
      Does the action that other individuals and groups take affect what I do in my approach?
      How can we really evolve beyond peaceful protest with something that will be listened to?

      Perhaps i’m waffling, but as we now hear headlines like 655,00 dead from invasion our country committed, it feels like the end of a giant grave in time, and now perhaps we shall “move on” to Iran and Korea…will Iraq just be a small part of history glossed over? Will we forget, like Afghanistan?

      Who is still standing up to support the Chagosians of Diego Garcia, the ‘comfort’ women held by the Japanese years ago for sexual slavery? even the people still locked into that ‘black hole of law’ guantanamo bay?

      I’m worried that as an ‘activist’ I am only drawn to stories still on the news agenda that other people relate to and condemn too, which is in itself an act of collective sheep mentality…
      I don’t want to be an issues footballer.
      I don’t want Iraq to become my personal refugee.
      So, I ask why we forget these things in the first place.


    29. John Palubiski — on 11th October, 2006 at 7:17 pm  

      One would have to be almost brain-dead to rely on an estimate that has as its “margin” of error some 350,000 people. In fact, the “margin” of error is almost as big as the minimum number cited!

      In other words, there’s no substance to any of this; it’s mere speculation based on an arbitrary “geustimate” and motivated by hatred of America and The West.

      Now quick! Let’s all dab a little more lip-stick on the 1960s, shall we?

      It is such a hoot reading postings by 30 year-olds going on 65….as though they’ve been victims of a “generational imperialism” that has prevented them from forming opinions and views that address the times we live in.

      Ché Guevera is D.E.A.D. Castro is soon to follow. Fonda wears Depends and both Vietnam and China have embraced american-style capitalism

      Get over it.

      Then tell your old hippie professors, the ones who’ve colonised your minds, cheated you of a proper education ( Hey! I had ‘em too!) and closed off your thinking, for a fucking refund!

    30. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2006 at 7:26 pm  

      John Palubski, you are fighting the 1960′s culture wars, not us. Pickled Politics is full of left wing sceptics, sceptics of doctrinaire leftism. Unfortunately for you, there are no useful idiots or knee jerk Maoists here - the jibe about Vietnam and China embracing American style capitalism is therefore especially silly and irrelevant.

      So, the fevered LSD flashbacks to your 1960′s professors apart, I suggest you are as paranoid and small minded and doctrinaire as the people you decry.

    31. John Palubiski — on 11th October, 2006 at 7:53 pm  

      Jagdeep, this site is as doctrinaire as they get…that’s why everyone here “sounds” 15 to 20 years older than I am. You need to wash those 60s right out of your hair, dumplin’!

      Altogether now! “Ho! Ho! Ho-Chi-Minh!” Have fun!


    32. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2006 at 8:04 pm  

      John Palubski, to a hysterical LSD paranoaic, who considers anyone not wearing the same underpants as he does to be a ‘West hating Anti American’, a six year girl old playing with her barbie doll will appear to be a doctrinaire leftist. That’s fine - intellectual decrepitude overrides reasoned debate, the ghosts in the machine take over and you start hallucinating enemies, and ranting surety of your kind can be a comfort at your stage of life, in the same way that a catheter is a relief for your urinary infection. For nuanced or truthful debate though, all you’re doing is dribbling piss on the floor embarassingly.

      Your energy is impressive though - are the LSD flashbacks to the 1960′s really bad?

    33. Chris Stiles — on 11th October, 2006 at 8:11 pm  

      John -

      One would have to be almost brain-dead to rely on an estimate that has as its “margin” of error some 350,000 people. In fact, the “margin” of error is almost as big as the minimum number cited!

      That is not necessarily true - it depends on the probabilities assigned to a margin of error that big. Incidentally, the difference between the margin of error and minimum number is ‘almost as big’ as Saddam’s toll in 1988.

      If the “margin of error” is your sole argument, then let us point out that it’s largely reflective of the incompetence of the US occupying authority in reintroducing the rule of law.

    34. Peter Jackson — on 11th October, 2006 at 8:21 pm  


      The roots of my support for the Iraq invasion (such as that support was) goes a lot further back than Gulf War 1. Since I first became politically aware in the early 70s, I had seen dictators propped up, democratic movements crushed, and people enslaved in the name of crude anti-Communism. I had seen evil men like Sukarno, Pinochet, Videla, Assad pere, Saddam and the rest doing whatever they wanted with the support of Governments that supposedly supported opposite principles.

      Finally - I thought - finally, one of these arseholes was going to get what he deserved, and his serfs would have a chance to choose their own escape.

      I’m not especially proud of that feeling now, but I’m also not ashamed of the moral stance which I think I’ve held since the Chile coup. I still want to see the dictators overthrown.

    35. Electro — on 11th October, 2006 at 9:34 pm  

      Jagdeep, John Palubiski went to high-school in the 70s and “university” in the early 80s.

      He has had to put up with “old hippie” and old hippie’s deluded and lazy thinking all his life.

      The “flashback” crowd is about 10 to 12 years older than he is.

    36. Electro — on 11th October, 2006 at 9:35 pm  

      And, Jagdeep, what’s the “margin” of error for the numbers comming out of Darfur?

    37. Sunny — on 11th October, 2006 at 10:17 pm  

      I’m not especially proud of that feeling now, but I’m also not ashamed of the moral stance which I think I’ve held since the Chile coup. I still want to see the dictators overthrown.

      I think moral stances have to be taken taking into account who you are jumping into bed with. I want rights for Palestinians but I’m not jumping into bed with bigots from the SWP / Respect crew. The same goes for the war. I would have loved to see Saddam Hussain gotten rid of, but by an incompetent and follish American president? No way. He was an idiot from the moment he took power all the way to the way he reacted to 9/11. The collosal train-wreck that is now Iraq could easily have been seen in advance and I’m disappointed so many people didn’t.

    38. Laban — on 11th October, 2006 at 10:24 pm  

      The number of dead, then, is more than the number of civilian dead in Germany from six years of Allied bombing, which flattened most of Germany’s major cities and included huge contributions from events like the Hamburg firestorm (50,000 deaths) and the destruction of Dresden.

      Is that really feasible ? And this calculation is based on extrapolation from 547 deaths ?

      “Statistics experts in the United States who were able to review the study said the methods used by the interviewers looked legitimate.

      Robert Blendon, director of the Harvard Program on Public Opinion and Health and Social Policy, said interviewing urban dwellers chosen at random was “the best of what you can expect in a war zone.”

      But he said the number of deaths in the families interviewed — 547 in the post-invasion period versus 82 in a similar period before the invasion — was too few to extrapolate up to more than 600,000 deaths across the country.

      Donald Berry, chairman of biostatistics at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, was even more troubled by the study, which he said had “a tone of accuracy that’s just inappropriate.” ”


    39. Kulvinder — on 11th October, 2006 at 10:26 pm  

      In other words, there’s no substance to any of this; it’s mere speculation based on an arbitrary “geustimate” and motivated by hatred of America and The West.

      Obviously your criticisms are completely different.

    40. soru — on 11th October, 2006 at 10:42 pm  

      It’s a hard question, and not one I am going to say I have an answer to. But one I think deserves a try.

      Once death totals get beyond the number of people you know, they bemome unimaginable. I would, I suppose, kill some bad guy to defend myself or my loved ones. In some artificial situation I might possibly kill one person to avoid a wider tragedy, if I was convinced there was no alternative. I would never kill 6, let alone 60, 600, 6,000, 60,000 or 600,000.

      But imagine living in a country ruled by a vicious dictator for the last 30 years. Imagine being one of the 75% of people, according to one survey, who had a family member or friend tortured, locked up or killed.

      Imagine being convinced the dictatorship would last another 30 years, with his sons ruling your children, and things gradually getting slightly worse, as all the while the outside world got gradually richer and freer.

      Would you accept 5 years of 20 deaths per 1,000 to avoid that fate? Would you take that risk with yourself and your loved ones?

      I don’t know, personally I probably wouldn’t, so if you are like me you probably wouldn’t either.

      But the interesting thing is that that question has been asked of Iraqis. There answer was, as of september this year:

      Thinking about any hardships you might have suffered since the US-Britain invasion, do you personally think that ousting Saddam Hussein was worth it or not?

      The affirmative “worth it” answers were as follows:

      Overall: 61%
      Shia: 75%
      Kurds: 81%
      Sunni: 11%

      So 61% of Iraqis (worked out by a similar statistical method to the 600,000 figure) feel differently from you and me. Can you place yourself in their shoes, feel what they feel, understand their point of view, even if you disagree with it?

    41. Sid — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:23 am  

      Ché Guevera is D.E.A.D. Castro is soon to follow. Fonda wears Depends and both Vietnam and China have embraced american-style capitalism

      Get over it.

      John Palubiski,
      So the net worth of your HP-endorsed pro-war stance comes down to a disenchantment with a handful of cultural icons that your parent’s generation held dear?

      So this is it? The fate of Ché Guevera, Castro and Jane Fonda in the pop-icon charts is the way you would wish others to calibrate their intellectual and political compass?

      Well since you’re in the game of bandying round pop icon figues as way of argument, the celebrity who springs to mind when I think of you pro-War Lefties is our very own Ben Elton. Or is it Sir Ben Elton now? You know, the brilliant ex-Left wing comedian who is popularly regarded as the epitome of the phrase “Sell Out”.

    42. realitist — on 12th October, 2006 at 6:49 am  

      600K is nothing. as long as we succeed in bringing stability and democracy to the middle east, its worth it.

    43. Tilling — on 12th October, 2006 at 9:24 am  

      I get the feeling no pro war left people are going to answer my question about whether they ever feel like dickheads on days like this.

      “When did you stop beating your wife?”

      Do you have an inkling as to why people might not answer your question?

      As to the 600,000 figure, well - we’ve been here before, with a similar methodology as I recall and a similarly huge confidence interval. 69% of the deaths are not attributable to coalition forces, but the anti-warniks won’t acknowledge that fact - those people won’t be as important as the 31% attributed to coalition forces action.

      Don’t the anti-war left feel like dickheads as well?

    44. Sahil — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:18 am  

      “As to the 600,000 figure, well - we’ve been here before, with a similar methodology as I recall and a similarly huge confidence interval. 69% of the deaths are not attributable to coalition forces, but the anti-warniks won’t acknowledge that fact - those people won’t be as important as the 31% attributed to coalition forces action.

      Don’t the anti-war left feel like dickheads as well? ”

      I think that this is the point most anit-warniks are saying: incompetency! If the rule of law was set, along with something resembling a Marshall Plan (god I miss the New-Deal politicans) Iraq would be far more cohesive than it is now! Indeed even General Tommy Franks said “We don’t do nation building”:


      The republicans also have a dubious history of ‘helping’ people, they like to call themselves realists i.e. self-interested. If the basics of infrastucture, civil rights, law etc, had been at the top of the agenda (instead of watching a 1000 miles of pipe lines) the situation would be very different! The civil strife in Iraq, is DIRECTLY attributal to the failure of pre-war strategy!

      I was not instinctively against the war, but I never believed that this republican administation could or would be able to accomplish what they were selling. Hence I didn’t support the war. And BTW 31% of 600,000 is still ~ 180,000 deaths attributed to coalition forces, but I guess you need to break a few eggs to make an omlette, right?

    45. Kismet Hardy — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:44 am  

      Sadly, I think this figure (considering the method that was used to reach such an estimated figure) does nothing but damage. Those citing it as a real figure will be dubbed loonies by the right-wing who will now be more hell-bent on accepting George Bush’s figure of 30,000. It kinda makes a mockery of the simple fact: innocent people have died unnecessarily because of our decision to go to war

      When 7/7 happenned, the tabloids went mad on figures ‘hundreds die all across london’. Did it make it any less atrocious that only 52 died?

      Oh and realitist: ’600K is nothing.’ And the 24-carat wankstain award goes to…

    46. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:45 am  

      Oh Electron, you’re so cute with your arthritic and flabby Tu quoque reflexes :-)

      They are silly and funny when slapped at me though, don’t be a trench warrior, I am discussing this seriously.

    47. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:50 am  

      Peter Jackson

      Thanks. I don’t think that anyone here (or most people anywhere apart from the Lenins Tomb type zombies) would be against the demise of dictators, it was just the price and manner of removing him, by whom, and what it would lead to, that was contested.

    48. Sahil — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:51 am  

      Post #45, Kismet, I think that’s unfair. WHilst all lives are important, there needs to be some number crunching (yes that’s a crude way of putting it). Simply in order to carry out an analysis of what’s happened, and what went wrong. You’re right when you say that people will see what they want, critise the methadology, but at least there is some methods being used to hold the administration to account. Better than, “We don’t have a clue”.

    49. bananabrain — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:56 am  

      i think the points about inaccuracy have something to be said for them. obviously, whether it’s half the figure suggested, it’s still far too much, but what bothers me is mostly the fact that many people seem to be far more concerned about using the statistics to bush-bash than they are with how to actually move forward. in other words, the iraqi casualties become about their own personal “crusade” (and i use the word advisedly) rather than actual real people who they want to help. rather like those poor buggers in gaza and the west bank - they’re so much use as a symbol that everyone seems to want to keep them like that (not a signal to derail the thread!!!)

      anyway, i agree 100% with sunny, particularly about the political bedfellows thing - but also with soru. look at ken’s friends and you’ll see what i mean…

      and i didn’t realise you had to be a leftie to post here, because i’m not. although i don’t think i’m a rightie either. i don’t think either position makes sense any more.



    50. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:58 am  


      It is a genuine question. On days like this, don’t you feel like dickheads? Because when I look at people who show no doubt or question their motives in the face of how this has turned out, I see dicks on heads. I see dicks on the heads of people who apologise or make excuses for Islamic terror, and have clashed with them on this site. That’s why when people use the standard lines of defence (see Electro, the LSD addled Pabulski) they show the bankruptcy of argument amongst some pro-war left people.

      And I just wondered, because I think a great deal of arrogance and hysterical self-belief and righteousness was an element at play among SOME people who cheerleaded the war, and an element of introspection would be good now, to understand how you things got to this point, quite apart from the deaths, the destruction of Anglo-American moral authority within a few years of 9/11.

      These things are worth discussing, worth thinking about.

    51. Kismet Hardy — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:00 am  

      Sahil, it’s a bit like if you’ve got loads of money but tell a girl you’re a millionaire to impress her. When she founds out the truth, it won’t matter to her you’ve still got loads of money, in her eyes you’re still a lying bastard.

      I’d have much rather George Bush came out and said the official death toll was 30,000 without prompting, then we could all laugh at him

    52. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:01 am  

      I remember reading an article in Prospect by Michael Ignattief explaining why he supported the war, and now see that he is going to stand for Prime Minister of Canada. I would love to hear or read his reflections on things now.

    53. Sahil — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:05 am  

      Yeah, but I’m more interested in knowing, why the deaths have happened, and help create a strategy to stop things from getting worse. Did the republican’s lie, of course. But that’s by the by, and I hope more American’s can see these guys for what they are. However that means nothing to the average Iraqi, who is trapped in escalating violence. We need some analysis to get simply a clue. This study should help us understand some factors.

    54. realitist — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:07 am  

      jagdeep you talk nonsense. would like to see you fight a war against terrorists without any loss of casualities, especially when terrorists want to cause as much havoc as they can

    55. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:10 am  

      realtist, I feel like a kitten with a ball of wool before him, when I see silly posts like yours. How shall I play with you??

    56. Sid — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:10 am  

      I think theviews from both camps, Lenin’s Tomb and Harry’s Place, can’t seem to countenance Iraq unless its framed in a factional partisan tribalist dispute of and within the British Left. In that regard, both the HP crowd, as demonstrated by our friend and John ‘Jane Fonda’s flower child’ Palubiski and the Lenin’s Tomb idiots have their heads up their arses on Iraq.

      But the HP insistence on the Pro-Iraq War is becoming increasingly bizarre if not desperate.

    57. realitist — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:11 am  

      how about a sane rational response and save the lefty bullshit propaganda?

    58. Kismet Hardy — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:18 am  

      Sane rational response?

      “would like to see you fight a war against terrorists without any loss of casualities”

      Going into Iraq wasn’t about fighting against terrorists. It was about killing innocent people and creating terrorists.

      There’s a line between sanity and imbecile. Find it

    59. realitist — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:23 am  

      You cant be serious kismet. Bush, Blair went into Iraq with the intention of killing innocent people and creating terrorists? Comeon, even the meanest intelligence by now knows that it was about other things.

    60. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:26 am  

      600K is nothing

      You are neither sane or rational realtist.

    61. realitist — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:30 am  

      my wit is wasted on you

    62. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:31 am  

      You have no wit dude! There’s none to waste.

    63. sonia — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:59 am  

      yeah Sid, you’re right. you cant have any discussion without someone going on about the LEft ( which to me is starting to sound like a marching band :-) ) here. i mean ha ha - if i think some one’s not really bothered about some one else being bombed - and if i see that as a problem - im hardly likely to then ascribe a linear- paradigm political position to them - to explain their viewpoint - am I? ” oh that must mean you’re Left or Right” oh puhleese. lots of people have opinions about wars who couldn’t care less about the Left and the Right. ( two marching bands..?)

      do you like raspberry yoghurt? no. Oh you must be on the Left then..

    64. realitist — on 12th October, 2006 at 12:03 pm  

      sonia whats it your business if someone else is getting bombed? get off your high horse, there are bigger issues at stake that your personal feelings

    65. Kismet Hardy — on 12th October, 2006 at 12:04 pm  

      Using yoghurt to sooth cystisis or thrush, for instance, would make you Right.

      Using muller with toffee crunch, on the other hand, would be Wrong

      Me, I scoop up and eat what’s Left

    66. Kismet Hardy — on 12th October, 2006 at 12:10 pm  

      “sonia whats it your business if someone else is getting bombed? get off your high horse, there are bigger issues at stake that your personal feelings”

      There are so many things wrong with this sentence, allow me to amuse myself by trying to analyse it

      1. Sonia it’s not your business that your government has caused the death of so many people that live far away. My eyes are blinkered, stop showing me things that make me question what I choose to belief
      2. Your talk of linear-paradigm is making me feel intellectually inadequate. Please get off your high horse
      3. There are bigger issues at stake than your personal feelings. Like, for instance, my feelings
      4. I’m so used to being a knob, I’ve stopped caring who knows it anymore

    67. Git — on 12th October, 2006 at 2:14 pm  

      Going into Iraq wasn’t about fighting against terrorists. It was about killing innocent people and creating terrorists.

      Yes, that’s right - that’s exactly what the intention was.

      Fuck’s sake!

    68. Kismet Hardy — on 12th October, 2006 at 2:17 pm  

      No you prick. That’s what it turned out to be.

    69. Nyrone — on 12th October, 2006 at 2:34 pm  


      great post #66 Kismet:)

    70. Sahil — on 12th October, 2006 at 4:28 pm  

      Great article on the study:


    71. Leon — on 12th October, 2006 at 4:46 pm  

      Cheers for the link, certainly interesting reading.

    72. Sahil — on 12th October, 2006 at 5:16 pm  

      No Probs ;)

    73. Joe Duck — on 15th October, 2006 at 5:53 am  

      Here in the states this report is not getting as much news time as it should. It’s a staggering toll if true and a staggering mistake if it’s not true.

      For the study’s conclusion to be valid it seem that the death certificates they say were produced 92% of the time [I’ve also seen 80% ] *are not counted* by the health ministry.

      This seems highly unlikely since the ministry currently publishes death counts far below the counts the study suggests are going on right now.

      The discrepancy between the study noting that there are death certificates issued and the ministry counts really should be reconciled by the researchers immediately, since their credibility seems to be at stake and their result conflicts with *every* other reporting mechanism.

    74. Tancred — on 15th October, 2006 at 7:17 pm  

      Any violent death is worthy of regret. That is why, even if the figure of 600,000 violent detahs in Iraq is patently unbelievable - it only escapes public ridicule because of the lamentable failure of British and American schools to teach times tables - we should all be saddened by the fact that some people have suffered violent death as a consequence of the intervention in Iraq.

      Of far greater seriousness, however, is that one consequence of the events in Iraq is that, no matter how heinious the activities of very wicked people in Darfur, Zimbabwe or any other of the God forsaken spots on this planet may be, no one now will argue the case for armed intervention. Indeed, the very crimes that the United Nations was allegedly set up to prevent, genocide in particular, will go unprevented and unpunished in the present ‘pacifist at any price’ climate.

      Some of this is due to the left wing pacifist tendency that has always been a force in countries such as Britain and the United States. They are the sort of people who cheered Chamberlain’s appeasement policy in the face of Hitler, refused to believe stories about the horrors of Uncle Joe Stalin’s gulags and repression of Eastern Europe and, yes, called Reagan & Thatcher murderers because they faced down the Soviet Union threat to the West in the 1970/80′s.

      And yes, this pacifist climate has also been helped by the media. Certainly the BBC is delighted to report any story about Iraq that rubbishes the American or British Armies:- even if the story is patently silly. But will never tell its viewers or listeners about some of the good things that have resulted from the Iraq intervention.

      However, the major causes of this new pacifism are not left wing arguments or media bias. People have been disillusioned by the sheer incompetence with respect to planning for the immediate post-War period:- not least in the case of implementing reconstruction works. And people in Britain, at least, have been disilluioned by the perceived lack of integrity on the part of Tony Blair. He did not need to lie about WMD to justify military action:- there was sufficient good cause to remove Saddam Hussein without that deceit. Nor did he help his own credibility by claiming that British troops would receive everything they needed, when it is manifestly certain that they went to war ill equipped.

      It will be some time before people in Britain, or the United States, can once again put their trust in their political leaders to order soldiers to take action. It is to be hoped that, during this period, no one of the ilk of Hitler, Stalin or any similar megalomaniac decides to take advantage of this pacifist climate.

    75. Marc — on 16th October, 2006 at 10:51 am  

      Hasn’t anyone bothered to crunch the numbers from this “study?” It does high matchimatical skills to debunk this tripe:

      The Iraqi invasion began: March 20, 2003
      Number of days since: 1,305

      655,000 / 1305 = average of 501.92 deaths per day

      Of course, it should also be pointed out that this average is in fact slightly low, since the study obviously was completed at a point in time prior to its public release; therefore the number of days used to calculate the “Iraqi deaths per day” average will be lower. If once reduces the number of days the study covers, the resulting average will be necessarily higher. (It may be necessary to explain these mathematical realities to liberals who were educated in American public schools, where 2+2=5 if that validates the student as a person.)

      Can anyone can point me (with link please) to any news article that sites any day since the invasion that detailed 500 deaths in a single day, outside of the actuall invasion of course.

      Question: If no single day is documented having a body count of 500 how in the hell can this “study” have an average of that number?

      That aside, Lancet has been caught putting out trash on Iraqi deaths previously. What makes anyone think they haven’t done the same again.

    76. bb — on 17th October, 2006 at 3:34 pm  

      What does not seem to have been considered in the debate over these figures is the number of iraqi deaths caused by the privatisation of the war machine.(If anyone has links to the contrary, please post them). Would deaths from this sector of our Crusade come under the title “other”?

      There are almost as many western contractors/security forces/mercinaries (take your pick) as US troops in Iraq, all of whom are heavily armed with state-of-the-art weaponary and who kill with impunity, am explicit demand that was decreed immediately after the invasion and occupation.

      It can only be the Coalition/MNF’s fault that a paucity of informed planning prior to the war has contributed to the death toll. If US and UK didn’t plan, or speak out about lack of planning and allowed criminality and lawlessness to reign in the immediate aftermath of Saddam’s statue falling - “Freedom is messy” - then we are responsible.

      The repercussions of a hastily won war without any idea real plan of what to do next were always obvious and being widely discussed in the run up to war. Pro-war types especially on the “muscular Left” simply chose to ignore such articles, many by highly qualified academics and military planners, or malign them as unduely or irrationally pessimistic. But such insults only highlighted the lack of understanding about the country we were invading.

      Being anti-war was never the simple banary logic of prefering him to remain in power that Blair claims repeatedly and hypocritically.(See bob wareing’s question to Blair during a PMQ in Hansard.)

      The most important question when going to war is: what is the best way of gaining the most preferable outcome?
      Going to war the way Bush and Blair did was always destined to failure.

    77. Chris Stiles — on 17th October, 2006 at 3:45 pm  

      Can anyone can point me (with link please) to any news article that sites any day since the invasion that detailed 500 deaths in a single day, outside of the actuall invasion of course.

      AFAICT no one in the country - least of all the CPA - has even tried to collate reports of all the deaths that have taken place. News organisations have reported them when they have taken place near to where they or the coalition is operating.

      What would you say the civilian casualties were? Try to keep your answer away from the vague.


    78. Tony Scott — on 18th October, 2006 at 8:17 am  

      Iraq is an unholy mess. However, this is surely entirely the fault of the evil people conducting an inhuman civil war. Sorry, their depravity does not justify the description of “War”. What on earth is wrong with these people?

      Tony Scott

    79. Joseph Hunkins — on 22nd October, 2006 at 6:57 pm  

      It’s interesting that most who write about this seem more interested in support for their war position than in whether the study accurately reflects a death toll some ten times what even critics have been claiming.

      I remain very skeptical because the hospitals and morgue issue death certificates and those counts suggest numbers far lower than Lancet, which itself cites death certificates in 92% of the survey sample death reports.

      I’m frustrated that Lancet does not simply take the reported deaths and compare to the online Iraq Body Count reports. If the Lancet study is correct we’d expect only a 10% overlap in these two sets of death reports. If the overlap is higher it suggests the sampling was flawed.

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