Thursday, January 27, 2005

Iraq - Civilian deaths 'reaching 10,000'

That is according to the UK Telegraph. Keep that term "civilian" in mind as you read.

Hang on a minute! The BBC just told us "There are no official figures on Iraqi civilian deaths, but unofficial estimates range from at least 15,000 to almost 100,000 since the March 2003 invasion."

That's a hell of a swing and from some unnamed "unofficial" sources. But the Telegraphs "estimate" is even lower than the BBC's low end figure.

And according to this post both are lacking in the details. Scroll down to this:

The Iraq body count website is here. The total civilian casualty meter is at 17,299 as of this morning.

Their first problem is that they do not distinguish between casualties inflicted by the insurgents/terrorists and those inflicted by the US, coalition forces, or Iraqi security forces. Second, their methodology labels all Iraqi dead who are not positively identified as insurgents as civilians. Third, they do not include any context. As this article shows, the average violent death rate under Saddam Hussein's 20+ years of rule was 70-125 per day. Using the lower end figure of 70 and multiplying by the approximately 700 days the US has been in Iraq projects to 49,000 violent deaths at the Hussein rate; a savings of over 30,000 lives under the U.S. occupation.

It further does not take into account the other ways in which the defeat of Saddam Hussein has saved Iraqi lives. Under the sanctions regime and with Hussein diverting the oil for food money to bribes, his personal use, and his security forces, UNICEF estimated that 4,500 Iraqi children per month were dying of otherwise treatable medical and nutrition related ailments. That toll has ended with the invasion and the provision of food and medicines in adequate amounts to the Iraqi people. Based on the UNICEF rates, that means over 100,000 Iraqis--mostly children--are alive now who would have died if Saddam Hssein had remained in power over the past 21 months.

There is no doubt that innocent civilians are dying in an attempt to gain their freedom. Many more would die under tyranny.

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