'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Only 151,000 Violent Iraqi Deaths? 

I have frequently posted on the subject of Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the 2003 US invasion, especially the uses and abuses of the numbers developed by Iraq Body Count, and the politically motivated criticisms of the studies performed by survey teams supervised by John Hopkins University. Click on the Iraq Body Count tag at the end of this post to read them.

Earlier this week, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study that indicated that only 151,000 Iraqis had violently died since the March 2003 invasion, disputing the much larger numbers of violent deaths estimated by the John Hopkins survey teams. Significantly, the study did not reach deaths from illness that would have not otherwise occurred if not for the invasion, as the John Hopkins study did, and relied upon the discredited Iraq Body Count numbers as part of its methodology.

For two critiques of the study that address these issues, consider this article by Andrew Cockburn and this post by lenin over at Lenin's Tomb. Yet again, we encounter the manipulation of the numbers generated by Iraq Body Count, an imputation of statistical credibility that doesn't exist. Will the people responsible for the IBC numbers publicly disassociate themselves from such a use of their admittedly subjective data? Doubtful.

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