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INFANT & CHILD MORTALITY -- Iraqi Civilian Casualties

by GraceReid Fri Jul 15th, 2005 at 09:33:00 PM EST

Here is a compilation of studies on Iraqi civilian casualties..  Like everything else about this war, there are a lot of things we, the world's people, are not meant to know.  The true tally of Iraqi civilian casualties is one of the worst of the worst kept secrets.  Iraq body count currently lists Iraqi civilian casualties as 25,500 on the high end.  Yet last winter, Lancet, the British medical journal listed the number at 100,000.  And this week AFP has come up with its most accurate number:

128,000 Iraqi civilian casualties.  

Of this number a fair estimate of how many are below the age of 15 is half.  We are looking at 68,000 children's deaths in the war on and occupation of Iraq.  This figure does not include deaths of children due to sacnctions enforced by the UN and imposed on Iraq by the United States and the United Kingdom.

There is, in fact, too much data to look at, so I'll just make a start:  UPI, BBC report, CBC report, and a 1999 report from the UN,

Iraqi civilian casualties
Published July 12, 2005
BAGHDAD -- An Iraqi humanitarian organization is reporting that 128,000 Iraqis have been killed since the U.S. invasion began in March 2003.

Mafkarat al-Islam reported that chairman of the 'Iraqiyun Humanitarian Organization in Baghdad, Dr. Hatim al-'Alwani, said that the toll includes everyone who has been killed since that time, adding that 55 percent of those killed have been women and children aged 12 and under.

'Iraqiyun obtained data from relatives and families of the deceased, as well as from Iraqi hospitals in all the country's provinces. The 128,000 figure only includes those whose relatives have been informed of their deaths and does not include those were abducted, assassinated or simply disappeared.

The number includes those who died during the U.S. assaults on al-Fallujah and al-Qa'im. 'Iraqiyun's figures conflict with the Iraqi Body Count public database compiled by Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies. According to the Graduate Institute of International Studies' database, 39,000 Iraqis have been killed as a direct result of combat or armed violence since March 2003. No official estimates of Iraqi casualties from the war have been issued by the Pentagon, which insists that it does not do "body counts." The Washington Post on July 12 reported that U.S. military deaths in Iraq now total 1,755.

Casualties in the Iraq war
CBC News Online | Updated July 13, 2005
Even before U.S. troops rolled into Baghdad and helped topple a statue of Saddam Hussein in Paradise Square on April 9, 2003, media organizations and human rights groups were complaining that no one was keeping track of the number of people killed in the war that started a month before.

Some observers believe that measuring the bloodshed on both sides of the conflict is a useful way to measure the progress of the war.

That's a belief not shared by U.S. or British military officials.

Gen. Tommy Franks, the top officer in the U.S. Central Command for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, summed up the American military's attitude when he told reporters during the Afghan campaign, "We don't do body counts."

In fact, the Pentagon stopped counting the people killed by its soldiers after the Vietnam war, where the numbers publicized were often inflated by field commanders and Pentagon officials in attempts to show the war was going better than it was. Those attempts ultimately backfired when the body counts provided fuel for the anti-war movement.

But the U.S. military, like the British, does count its own dead and wounded, even if it has tried to limit the public's awareness of those numbers by preventing the media from covering military funerals or the coffins returning from Iraq.

Civilian deaths estimated from various sources
(Since March 20, 2003)


  • Civilian Iraq deaths: 22,838 to 25,869 (Source: Iraqbodycount.net))
  • Civilian Iraq deaths: 12,000 (Source: Official estimate from Iraqi interior ministry March 20, 2003-June 2, 2005)
  • Iraqi civilian or religious officials assassinated: 52 (Source: Official estimate from Iraqi interior ministry March 20, 2003-June 2, 2005)
  •  Lancet: 100,000
  •  'Iraqiyun Humanitarian Organization: 128,000

    Total: 169

  •  Journalists: 32
  •  UN employees: 22
  •  An estimated 75 U.S. civilians have been killed, the most of any international country in Iraq. Four were killed in hostage incidents as of June 2005
  •  8 Canadian civilians have been killed, 1 Red Cross, 1 UN, 1 Christian Children's Fund, 3 contractors, and 2 other
  • BBC

    Counting the civilian cost in Iraq
    Monday, 6 June, 2005, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK  

    There is no official record of how many Iraqi civilians have died

    Thousands of Iraqi civilians have also died as a result of conflict and its bloody aftermath - but officially, no one has any idea how many.

    Human rights groups say the occupying powers have failed in their duty to catalogue the deaths, giving the impression that ordinary Iraqis' lives are worth less than those of soldiers.

    Unofficial estimates of the civilian toll vary wildly, from at least 10,000 to about 100,000.
    But the view famously expressed by US General Tommy Franks that "we don't do body counts" still resonates in government circles.

    America and Britain say the chaos of war-torn Iraq makes it impossible to get accurate information.
    And while Iraq's health and interior ministries now record non-military deaths, resources for this are tiny in a country rebuilding after war.

    The AFP news agency has started compiling casualty figures for Iraq based on information from Iraqi ministries.   The agency estimates that 364 civilians died in April 2005 from car bombings, bomb explosions and shootings.  A study by the British medical journal, the Lancet, estimated in October 2004 that the invasion of Iraq had led to the deaths of 100,000 beyond what might have been expected before the invasion.

    In August 2004, an Iraqi group calling itself the People's Kifah said it had documented more than 37,000 civilian deaths from March to October 2003.
    Critics point to the fact that neither the British nor US forces have any difficulty in announcing they have killed a fairly exact number of "enemy" or "insurgents".

    And some legal experts say it is the duty of occupying powers to keep track of civilian losses under the Geneva Conventions.

    In the meantime, Iraq's precarious security situation sees dozens of people killed every day.

    "Nobody can stop themselves being drawn into the blind violence that continues to sweep the country," said Nada Doumani, of the International Committee of the Red Cross. "Civilians are those who pay the greatest price."  

    No change in west's policy towards Iraq, despite UN admission of child deaths
    Muslimedia: September 1-15, 1999

    The routine bombing of Iraq by the US and Britain, and the UN sanctions kept in place by their vetoes, have taken a heavy toll of Iraqi lives, destroyed the country's once-thriving economy, and reduced its people to poverty. But the two western allies, now faced with independent evidence (such as the recent UN Children's Fund report) of the mass-murder and destruction they are committing, have become even more intransigent, blaming their action on Saddam Hussein's crimes against his people, and invoking the right of 'self-defence' to justify the bombing.

    Even France, a member of the coalition that evicted Iraqi forces from Kuwait and helped to establish the so-called 'no-fly zones' over Iraq, has now condemned the bombing as senseless and is seeking the suspension of the sanctions in return for Baghdad's agreement to readmit the UN weapons-inspectors, Unscom, who withdrew last December. Paris argues that it is better to secure compliance through peaceful means than through bombing.

    The US and British stubbornness is despite a new UNICEF report that provides independent and undisputable evidence of the havoc that the UN sanctions have wrought on Iraqi children. The survey, released on August 12, is the first to be conducted since 1991, the year after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. It found that in the centre and south of the country, where 85 percent of the 22-million population live, the child mortality rate has doubled. Under-five mortality increased from 56 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1984 - 1989 to 131 in 1994 - 1998. In the northern Kurdish region of the country, which is outside central-government control, under-five mortality was found to have declined from 80 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1984-89 to 72 in 1994-99.

    The publication of the survey has driven the US and Britain to desperate attempts to blame Saddam for the mayhem rather than admit their responsibility. They argue that Saddam is not spending enough money on food and medicines, and that he is misappropriating the funds provided by the oil-for food programme.


    Iraq Body Count
    U.S. military casualty update
    British military casualty update
    Iraq coalition casualty count
    The Lancet(Report requires registration, but no cost)
    New England Journal of Medicine: "Combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, mental health problems, and barriers to care"
    BBC: "Counting the civilian cost in Iraq"
    The New Yorker: "Caught in the crossfire"
    Robert Fisk: "Baghdad is a city that reeks with the stench of the dead"
    Blogs for Bush
    BBC: "Iraq Health Ministry Figures"
    British government: "Written ministerial statement responding to a lancet study on Iraqi casualty figures"
    CBC.ca: "War has killed 100,000 Iraqis: study"
    Foreign Policy: "Body Count"

    (As you have probably suspected, the problem with all these studies is that while the US/UK forces keep accurate records of how many "insurgents" they have killed, there is a wide disparity in reports because the "insurgents" are counted by many as civilian Iraqis who are members of the resistance movement.)

    A special thanks to RubDMC and SusanHu, for the work you do, and just for being.


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