Blogs > Liberty and Power > Iraqi Casualties

Nov 12, 2004 1:29 pm


Iraqi Casualties



One of my favorite sites, LewRockwell.com has an article this morning by John Pllger who points out the coverup that has been occurring in the media on the number of Iraqi casualties. (Pilger's analysis is followed by an email I received from a Prof. who breaks down the casualty figures.)

Pilger writes, There is nothing illicit about this cover-up; it happens in daylight. The most striking recent example followed the announcement, on 29 October, by the prestigious scientific journal, the Lancet, of a study estimating that 100,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the Anglo-American invasion. Eighty-four per cent of the deaths were caused by the actions of the Americans and the British, and 95 per cent of these were killed by air attacks and artillery fire, most of whom were women and children.

The editors of the excellent MediaLens observed the rush -- no, stampede -- to smother this shocking news with"scepticism" and silence. They reported that, by 2 November, the Lancet report had been ignored by the Observer, the Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph, the Financial Times, the Star, the Sun and many others. The BBC framed the report in terms of the government's"doubts" and Channel 4 News delivered a hatchet job, based on a Downing Street briefing. With one exception, none of the scientists who compiled this rigorously peer-reviewed report was asked to substantiate their work until ten days later when the pro-war Observer published an interview with the editor of the Lancet, slanted so that it appeared he was"answering his critics." David Edwards, a MediaLens editor, asked the researchers to respond to the media criticism; their meticulous demolition can be viewed on the alert for 2 November. None of this was published in the mainstream. Thus, the unthinkable that"we" had engaged in such a slaughter was suppressed -- normalised. It is reminiscent of the suppression of the death of more than a million Iraqis, including half a million infants under five, as a result of the Anglo-American-driven embargo.

In the same vein, I received the following email...[NOTE: I have not verified the accuracy of the analysis. Also I have edited out various comments that seemed politically over-the-top and may call the fellow's perspective into some question.]

Dear Ms McElroy, The following letter is being sent to global media and other organizations concerning horrendous civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please inform your associates and readers. Yours sincerely, Dr Gideon Polya.

Re: Reporting Iraq civilian deaths in post-invasion Iraq...Aside from the sustained lying, massive public deception, illegality, the horrendous" collateral" civilian casualties and immense US corporate benefit (nearly US$400 billion extra military expenditure by the US alone since 9/11), there is a further outrageous scandal associated with the post-9/11 US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, namely the NON-REPORTAGE of horrendous civilian casualties by mainstream global mass media. SOME mainstream global media have FINALLY permitted their readers to glimpse the horrendous reality of Iraq civilian deaths thanks to a scientific article in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet - however the figure typically quoted of"100,000 over 18 months" is a MINIMUM ESTIMATE as outlined in estimates #1-4 below.

#1. The group of US scientists that just published an article in the top British medical journal The Lancet (online, 29 October 2004) found 0.1 to 0.2 million civilian"excess deaths" in post-invasion Iraq; that mortality increased post-invasion; and that violent death increased dramatically post-invasion. From primary survey data, The Lancet article calculated a post-invasion Iraq annual mortality rate of 12.3 deaths per 1000 (corresponding to 300,120 persons per year with The Lancet article's assumption of a population of 24.4 million ). However their pre-invasion estimate of an annual mortality rate of 5.0 deaths /1000 corresponds to 122,000 persons per year - yielding an upper estimate from The Lancet of"excess deaths" of 178,120 people per year - corresponding to 297,000"excess deaths" in 20 months of US war and occupation in Iraq. This upper estimate (based on data in The Lancet) of nearly 300,000"excess deaths" due to the US invasion and occupation in Iraq is equivalent to ONE HUNDRED (100) World Trade Centre atrocities. This US study is consonant with EXISTING UN and UNICEF data that has been COMPREHENSIVELY IGNORED by mainstream global media.

#2. According to UNICEF (2004), in 2002 the under-5 infant mortality was 1,000 in Australia, 108,000 in Iraq and 283,000 in conquered Afghanistan (up from 277,000 in 2001) - noting that these countries have populations of about 20, 24 and 22 million, respectively. From UNICEF data it can be CONSERVATIVELY estimated that the post-invasion under-5 infant mortality has been about 0.2 million in Iraq and 0.9 million in Afghanistan. These estimates largely IGNORE the effects of invasion and the evil reality that in Iraq (since 1991) and Afghanistan (since 2002) there has been an excess" collateral" mortality of about 2000 Muslim children for every US combat death...

#3. According to the UN, the current annual death rates in Iraq's poorest Arab neighbours Jordan and Syria are 4.3 and 3.9 persons per 1000, respectively - and the values range from 1.9 to 3.7 persons per 1000 for the prosperous and peaceful Arab Gulf States. If we assume a conservative estimate of an annual death rate in a peaceful, non-occupied Iraq of about 4 persons per 1000 then we would EXPECT 97,600 Iraqi deaths per year - as compared to the post-invasion estimate by the US scientists of 300,120. The difference - the"excess mortality" due to the US invasion and continued war and occupation - is 202,520 deaths per year or about 340,000 after 20 months of US-imposed war and occupation.

#4. Using UN and UNICEF data it has been CONSERVATIVELY calculated that total"excess mortality" (excess death, avoidable mortality) in war-ravaged Iraq since 1991 has been about 1.5 million (with under-5 infant mortality totalling 1.2 million) [see G. Polya, Australasian Science, June, 2004] and that the"excess mortality" has been about 1.2 million in post-invasion Afghanistan (with the under-5 infant deaths totalling 0.9 million)....

Silence kills. Silence is complicity. Please inform everyone. Save the children.

Dr Gideon Polya, e-mail: gpolya@optusnet.com.au. [Credentials: Dr Gideon Polya published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text"Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003), and is currently writing a book on global mortality (numerous articles on this matter can be found by a simple Google search for"Gideon Polya")].

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