Iraq Body Count, an anti-war organization that tracks casualties in Iraq has a lengthy rejoinder to the Johns Hopkins study alleging 655,000 civilian deaths in Iraq due to the war. IBC’s methods are sometimes questionable, but their findings are still quite interesting and show the gaping flaws in The Lancet article released last week. For instance, IBC finds:
It is a long-established finding that around three times as many people are injured in modern wars as are killed in them. This is borne out in Iraq in statistics gathered by the Iraqi Ministry of Health (MoH). Their casualty monitoring centre was set up in Spring 2004 to allow the Ministry to allocate resources in response to conflict-related violence across Iraq (excluding the Kurdish-administered regions). The system is claimed to be manned 24 hours a day, with hospitals phoning the Ministry in Baghdad on a daily basis (when necessary) to report on dead and wounded from conflict-related violence,
The MoH has reported 2.9 wounded for each person killed in the period from mid-2004 to mid-2006. An almost identical ratio was confirmed in IBC’s independent analysis of media-derived data for the first two years after the invasion.
If 600,000 people have died violent deaths, then the 3:1 ratio implies that 1,800,000 Iraqis have by now been wounded. This would correspond to 1 in every 15 Iraqis.
The Lancet study is an absolute joke. There is simply now way that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis could have been killed without the knowledge of Iraqi officials. In wars, casualties do go unrecorded, but that large a butcher’s bill is simply ridiculous on its face. One can rationally and logically argue that the war in Iraq was a mistake that has killed thousands — but the Lancet‘s political motivated hack job is not science, but propaganda. Even those who decry this war on humanitarian grounds can see through it — and IBC deserves credit for standing up for intellectual honesty in this case.