New Estimates Suggest U.S. War Led to Nearly Half a Million Iraqi Deaths

For every three people killed by violence in Iraq, two died as a result of conflict-crippled health care, water, and transportation systems, a new study finds.

Dozens of empty coffins are carried by Iraqi security forces in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, south of Baghdad, during a ceremony held on Oct. 7, 2008 to commemorate Iraqi mass graves victims.
National Journal
Marina Koren
Add to Briefcase
Marina Koren
Oct. 15, 2013, 1:08 p.m.

Es­tim­at­ing cas­u­al­ties of war is a dif­fi­cult sci­ence. Ex­act counts are nearly im­possible to achieve, es­pe­cially in areas where vi­ol­ent con­flict con­tin­ues long after the last of for­eign troops have with­drawn. De­term­in­ing a death toll for Ir­aqi ci­vil­ians dur­ing the eight-year U.S.-led oc­cu­pa­tion has proven es­pe­cially chal­len­ging. Mul­tiple at­tempts by dif­fer­ent or­gan­iz­a­tions have covered only a few years of the war, and the res­ult­ing tal­lies range from as low as just over 100,000 to as high as 600,000.

The latest es­tim­ates, de­tailed in a study pub­lished Tues­day in the journ­al PLOS Medi­cine, come from an in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to the total num­ber of Ir­aqi deaths between 2003 and 2011 by the Uni­versity of Wash­ing­ton De­part­ment of Glob­al Health. Nearly 40 per­cent of deaths in Ir­aq that oc­curred in that time peri­od were a res­ult of the U.S. con­flict, re­search­ers say, put­ting the death toll at about 461,000.

Re­search­ers vis­ited 2,000 ran­domly se­lec­ted homes throughout the Middle East­ern coun­try. They asked adults to re­count births and deaths with­in their im­me­di­ate and ex­ten­ded fam­ily since 2001. Through this can­vassing, the re­search­ers es­tim­ated 405,000 deaths could be at­trib­uted to the war through mid-2011. They made up the re­main­ing sev­er­al thou­sands in their fi­nal num­ber by es­tim­at­ing mor­tal­ity rates for about 2 mil­lion people who fled the coun­try dur­ing the con­flict.

Re­search­ers say 60 per­cent of the 461,000 deaths are dir­ectly at­trib­uted to vi­ol­ence, such as gun­shots (62 per­cent), car bombs (12 per­cent), and oth­er ex­plo­sions (9 per­cent). Non­vi­ol­ent deaths were at­trib­uted to health prob­lems stem­ming from crippled health care, clean wa­ter, nu­tri­tion, and trans­port­a­tion sys­tems. For every three people killed by vi­ol­ence, two died as a res­ult of crum­bling in­fra­struc­ture that sup­ports these areas, ac­cord­ing to the study.

The sur­vey, however, like the oth­ers that came be­fore it, is not without its lim­it­a­tions. The re­search­ers state their cas­u­alty es­tim­ate with 95 per­cent cer­tainty. The ac­tu­al num­ber, they write, could be as low as 48,000 or as high as 751,000. The re­search­ers point to the af­ter­math of the 2010 earth­quake in Haiti as an­oth­er ex­ample of a situ­ation in which wildly dis­sim­il­ar cas­u­alty counts were un­avoid­able. In the years since, the death toll for the nat­ur­al dis­aster has been es­tim­ated to be any­where between 46,000 and 316,000, re­veal­ing the prob­lem­at­ic prac­tice of cal­cu­lat­ing mor­tal­ity.

What We're Following See More »
THROUGH AN INTERMEDIARY
Manafort Offered Russian Billionaire Briefings During Campaign
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the discussions. Paul Manafort made the offer in an email to an overseas intermediary, asking that a message be sent to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate with whom Manafort had done business in the past, these people said. 'If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,' Manafort wrote in the July 7, 2016, email.

Source:
RAISE LATER THIS YEAR POSSIBLE
Interest Rates Don’t Change
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged and said Wednesday that it would begin to withdraw some of the trillions of dollars that it invested in the American economy after the 2008 financial crisis. The widely expected announcement reflected the Fed’s confidence in continued economic growth...most Fed officials predicted in a new round of economic forecasts that the Fed would increase rates later this year."

Source:
INCLUDES COMEY FIRING
Mueller Looking For White House Docs
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

Special Counsel Robert Mueller "has asked the White House for documents about some of President Trump’s most scrutinized actions since taking office, including the firing of his national security adviser and F.B.I. director...Mueller is also interested in an Oval Office meeting Mr. Trump had with Russian officials in which he said the dismissal of the F.B.I. director had relieved 'great pressure' on him."

Source:
BUT WILL MCCAIN VOTE YES?
Graham-Cassidy to Get a Floor Vote Next Week
5 hours ago
THE LATEST
3.5M PEOPLE
All of Puerto Rico Without Power
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Hurricane Maria has knocked out power to the entire island of Puerto Rico, home to 3.5m residents, emergency officials have said."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login