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I was just looking at these numbers, partly because I know the White House and its lackys are contesting them, and partly because I read the story and saw that 500-per-day figure and thought, whoa, that seems high.  But having spent a little time checking around, it seems entirely possible that it's accurate.

If those 500 deaths a day were spread evenly between Iraq's 18 governorates, it averages out to 27 or 28 per day, per province.  The Baghdad morgue alone averaged 60 per day in July, according to this story and quite a few others reporting on the same figures (1815 bodies in the month of July, followed by 1500 in August). (The Baghdad morgue handles bodies only from Baghdad and the surrounding areas; other cities have their own morgues.)

Granted, not everywhere in Iraq is equally violent, and not every month has been equally violent, but all of this does point to the real number of deaths being within the study's expected range.

But let's look at it another way.  Even if we accept George Bush's 30,000 figure, that's still an average of roughly 900 deaths per month over the 33 months between March 2003 and December 2005, when Bush's statement was made.  That's about 30 per day.  (And never mind that that figure excludes the shocking increase in violent deaths during 2006, after the February bombing of the Al-Askari Mosque in Samarra.)

Not long after the 2003 invasion, the US Department of Defense estimated that Saddam's regime had executed 300,000 people during Saddam's 24 years in power.  That's an average of 12,500 a year, or 1,042 a month, or 34 a day.

So even by George Bush's own figures, the daily death toll in December last year was approaching Saddam's daily average of executions.  (Never mind what happens to the numbers when we assume Bush was lowballing and the DOD exaggerating....)

Now... getting back to the study in The Lancet:  If we take even the low end of the study's range, we still end up with more violent deaths in Iraq in the last 39 months than there were people executed during 24 years of Saddam's rule.  If we take the mid-range estimate, it's twice as many.

Mission accomplished?

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed Oct 11th, 2006 at 10:27:34 AM EST
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What was the mission?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 11th, 2006 at 10:30:23 AM EST
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It depends on the year, month, day and hour we're talking about... You get to pick among 27 options.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Oct 11th, 2006 at 10:39:48 AM EST
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Interesting.  For some reason, "making our old pal Saddam look good by comparison" isn't on the list.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed Oct 11th, 2006 at 10:42:21 AM EST
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