By Emma Ross
Published October 29, 2004
LONDON -- A survey of deaths in Iraqi households estimates that as many as 100,000 more people may have died throughout the country in the 18 months after the U.S. invasion than would be expected based on the death rate before the war.
The researchers of The Lancet report concede the data they based their figures on were of "limited precision," because the quality of the information depends on the accuracy of the household interviews used. The interviewers were Iraqi, most of them doctors.
The study, conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University and the Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, was released to journalists and is expected to be published on the Web site of the British medical journal The Lancet.
The survey indicated violence accounted for most of the extra deaths since the invasion, and air strikes from coalition forces caused most of the violent deaths, the researchers wrote.
"Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children," they said.
Richard Peto, an expert on study methods who was not involved with the research, said the approach the scientists took is reasonable. However, it is possible the report may have zoned in on hot spots that might not be representative of the death toll across Iraq, said Peto, a professor of medical statistics at Oxford University.
Investigators visited 33 neighborhoods spread evenly across the country in September, randomly selecting clusters of 30 households. Of the 988 households visited, 808, consisting of 7,868 people, participated.
There were 46 deaths in the surveyed households in the 15 months before the war. In the 18 months after the invasion, there were 142 deaths. Adjusting for the different time periods, that is an increase from 5 deaths per 1,000 people per year to 12.3 per 1,000 people per year, more than double.
However, more than a third of the post-invasion deaths were reported in one cluster of households in the city of Fallujah, where fighting has been most intense recently. When the researchers recalculated without the statistics from Fallujah, the deaths end up at 7.9 per 1,000 people per year, 1.5 times higher than before the war.
Even with Fallujah factored out, the survey "indicates that the death toll associated with the invasion and occupation of Iraq is more likely than not about 100,000 people, and may be much higher," the report said.
Even if their estimates are off 50% (highly unlikely), that's still 50,000 people dead... a great many of which are obviously civilians and not soldiers from Saddam's army, etc.
Makes me sick.