Why the Deafening Silence Regarding Iraqi Civilian Casualties?
COLORADO - October 8 – While we frequently hear references to the thousands of U.S. troops who have died in Iraq, there is little or no mention given by the U.S. government or media to the Iraqi civilian death toll. But three weeks ago, for the second time in about 14 months, reputable sources estimated Iraqi civilian deaths to be near a million. Unlike most other estimates, these are based on surveys conducted throughout most regions of Iraq. Why then are these casualty estimates largely ignored or downplayed, while relatively low estimates based solely on fatalities confirmed in media reports are treated as credible?
In July 2006, a study funded by MIT and conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers estimated the "excess deaths" in Iraq -- the difference between the pre- and post-invasion death rates. This estimate was determined by surveying "12,801 people living in 47 clusters" throughout Iraq, according to study co-author Gilbert Burnham. Participants were asked about the numbers of deaths in their household since the invasion. Teams asked for death certificates 87% of the time, and these were presented in 92% of the cases. The resulting death rate estimate was extrapolated over the entire population, resulting in an estimate of deaths due to the direct and indirect consequences of the invasion. The result: 654,965 deaths, within a 95% confidence interval of 392,979 to 942,636, with 92% of fatalities due to violence. At the time, John Zogby, whose polling company had done several surveys in post-invasion Iraq, said "The sampling is solid. The methodology is as good as it gets. It is what people in the statistics business do."
This horrifying gut-wrenching estimate is now supported by a similar Iraqi household study released last month, and done by the respected UK-based ORB research group. It surveyed 1,499 Iraqis in 15 of the 18 provinces. Results showed that 83% died from violence. The total estimated death toll since the invasion was 1,220,580. Based on a 2.5% margin of error, there was a minimum of 733,158 deaths and a maximum of 1,446,063.
AFP National Chairman Jonathan Hill stated, "Our illegal and unjust invasion has probably, directly and indirectly, led to about one million Iraqi deaths. Respect for constitutional foreign policy principles would certainly have avoided this blunder and many others. It is high time for cheerleaders of this war to face their mistake and change direction. We all need to work together now to minimize further loss of life and end this tragic war."