Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Juan Cole thinks the John Hopkins figures are plausible.

(...) There is heavy fighting almost every day at Ramadi in al-Anbar province, among guerrillas, townspeople, tribes, Marines and Iraqi police and army. We almost never get a report of these skirmishes and we almost never are told about Iraqi casualties in Ramadi. Does 1 person a day die there of political violence? Is it more like 4? 10? What about Samarra? Tikrit? No one is saying. Since they aren't, on what basis do we say that the Lancet study is impossible?

There are about 90 major towns and cities in Iraq. If we subtract Baghdad, where about 100 a day die, that still leaves 89. If an average of 4 or so are killed in each of those 89, then the study's results are correct. Of course, 4 is an average. Cities in areas dominated by the guerrilla movement will have more than 4 killed daily, sleepy Kurdish towns will have no one killed.

If 470 were dying every day, what would that look like?

West Baghdad is roughly 10% of the Iraqi population. It is certainly generating 47 dead a day. Same for Sadr City, same proportions. So to argue against the study you have to assume that Baquba, Hilla, Kirkuk, Kut, Amara, Samarra, etc., are not producing deaths at the same rate as the two halves of Baghad. But it is perfectly plausible that rough places like Kut and Amara, with their displaced Marsh Arab populations, are keeping up their end. Four dead a day in Kut or Amara at the hands of militiamen or politicized tribesmen? Is that really hard to believe? Have you been reading this column the last three years?

Or let's take the city of Basra, which is also roughly 10% of the Iraqi population. Proportionally speaking, you'd expect on the order of 40 persons to be dying of political violence there every day. We don't see 40 persons from Basra reported dead in the wire services on a daily basis.

But last May, the government authorities in Basra came out and admitted that security had collapsed in the city and that for the previous month, one person had been assassinated every hour. Now, that is 24 dead a day, just from political assassination. Apparently these persons were being killed in faction fighting among Shiite militias and Marsh Arab tribes. We never saw any of those 24 deaths a day reported in the Western press. And we never see any deaths from Basra reported in the wire services on a daily basis even now. (...) So if 24 Iraqis can be shot down every day in Basra for a month (or for many months?) and no one notices, the Lancet results are perfectly plausible.


The UN estimate for Iraq in its current state is around 100 killed per day.

Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary General, told a news conference that sectarian violence and military operations had forced over 315,000 to flee their homes in the past eight months.

"Some 9,000 have been displaced every week... even worse, perhaps 100 people are killed every day," he said.
Between 1.2 and 1.5 million Iraqis were sheltering in neighbouring states, with some 2,000 crossing into Syria each day, Egeland said.

Many of those who were fleeing were highly educated people, such as doctors, leaving the country facing a considerable brain drain, Egeland said.

"Some estimates are that universities and hospitals had a loss of up to 80 per cent of their professional staff. A third or more of Iraqi professionals have also left the country," he said.


I don't feel up to commenting on all this "in my own words" any more - I keened and retched throughout Shock n' Awe, Fallujah, Ramadi, Tal Afar... freaked out over the Ashura Festival massacre in March 2004... have been generally wailing and keening about death-death-death chain-reactions and blood-debts all over my personal blog for the last few years ... No words left.


"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami

by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Wed Oct 11th, 2006 at 11:48:23 PM EST

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