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Scientists Estimate 100,000 Iraqi Deaths

LONDON Oct 28, 2004 — 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.

There is no official figure for the number of Iraqis killed since the conflict began, but some non-governmental estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000. As of Wednesday, 1,081 U.S. servicemen had been killed, according to the U.S. Defense Department.

The researchers of The Lancet report concede that the data they based their projections on were of "limited precision," because the quality of the information depends on the accuracy of the household interviews used for the study. 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, is being published Thursday on the Web site of The Lancet medical journal.

The survey indicated violence accounted for most of the extra deaths seen since the invasion, and air strikes from coalition forces caused most of the violent deaths, the researchers wrote in the British-based journal.

"Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children," they said.

To conduct the survey, investigators visited 33 neighborhoods spread evenly across the country in September, randomly selecting clusters of 30 households to sample. Of the 988 households visited, 808, consisting of 7,868 people, agreed to participate in the survey. At each one they asked how many people lived in the home and how many births and deaths there had been since January 2002.

The scientists then compared death rates in the 15 months before the invasion with those that occurred during the 18 months after the attack and adjusted those numbers to account for the different time periods.

Even though the sample size appears small, this type of survey is considered accurate and acceptable by scientists and was used to calculate war deaths in Kosovo in the late 1990s.

The investigators worked in teams of three. Five of the six Iraqi interviewers were doctors and all six were fluent in English and Arabic.

In the households reporting deaths, the person who died had to be living there at the time of the death and for more than two months before to be counted. In an attempt at firmer confirmation, the interviewers asked for death certificates in 78 households and were provided them 63 times.

There were 46 deaths in the surveyed households before the war. After the invasion, there were 142 deaths. 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 Falluja, where fighting has been most intense recently. Because the fighting was so severe there, the numbers from that location may have exaggerated the overall picture.

When the researchers recalculated the effect of the war without the statistics from Falluja, the deaths end up at 7.9 per 1,000 people per year still 1.5 times higher than before the war.

Even with Falluja 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.

The most common causes of death before the invasion of Iraq were heart attacks, strokes and other chronic diseases. However, after the invasion, violence was recorded as the primary cause of death and was mainly attributed to coalition forces with about 95 percent of those deaths caused by bombs or fire from helicopter gunships.

Violent deaths defined as those brought about by the intentional act of others were reported in 15 of the 33 clusters. The chances of a violent death were 58 times higher after the invasion than before it, the researchers said.

Twelve of the 73 violent deaths were not attributed to coalition forces. The researchers said 28 children were killed by coalition forces in the survey households. Infant mortality rose from 29 deaths per 1,000 live births before the war to 57 deaths per 1,000 afterward.

The researchers estimated the nationwide death toll due to the conflict by subtracting the preinvasion death rate from the post-invasion death rate and multiplying that number by the estimated population of Iraq 24.4 million at the start of the war. Then that number was converted to a total number of deaths by dividing by 1,000 and adjusting for the 18 months since the invasion.

"We estimate that there were 98,000 extra deaths during the postwar period in the 97 percent of Iraq represented by all the clusters except Falluja," the researchers said in the journal.

They called for further confirmation by an independent body such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, or the World Health Organization.

The study was funded by the Center for International Emergency Disaster and Refugee Studies at Johns Hopkins University and by the Small Arms Survey in Geneva, Switzerland, a research project based at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

3,000 people killed, 11,600 injured in Iraq

April-August, 2004 ‏

BAGHDAD, Sept 3 (KUNA) -- The Iraqi health ministry announced on Friday, September 3rd, 2004, that 2,956 people were killed and 11,669 others were injured due to clashes and terror attacks in several Iraqi cities over the last four months. A well-placed source at the ministry told the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) the victims fell during the period from April 5 to August 31 this year. There are 157 women and 125 children among the killed, while 508 women and 310 children were injured during this period.A total of 829 people including 57 women and 42 children were killed in the capital city, Baghdad alone, while the injured totaled 4,652 including 241 women and 151 children. In the Moslem holy city of Najaf, 528 people were killed including nine women and three children, while 2,039 others were injured including 37 women and 27 children. The case was worse in the Anbar governorate, to which the cities of Falluja and Ramadi belong; there were 620 persons killed including 33 women and 53 children and 1,441 injured including 88 women and 67 children.

Red Cross Horrified by Number of Dead Civilians

Posted by admin on Thursday April 03, @04:28PM
from the ctv.ca dept. Iraq

Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Red Cross doctors who visited southern Iraq this week saw "incredible" levels of civilian casualties including a truckload of dismembered women and children, a spokesman said Thursday from Baghdad. Roland Huguenin, one of six International Red Cross workers in the Iraqi capital, said doctors were horrified by the casualties they found in the hospital in Hilla, about 160 kilometres south of Baghdad. "There has been an incredible number of casualties with very, very serious wounds in the region of Hilla," Huguenin said in a interview by satellite telephone.

"We saw that a truck was delivering dozens of totally dismembered dead bodies of women and children. It was an awful sight. It was really very difficult to believe this was happening." Huguenin said the dead and injured in Hilla came from the village of Nasiriyah, where there has been heavy fighting between American troops and Iraqi soldiers, and appeared to be the result of "bombs, projectiles." "At this stage we cannot comment on the nature of what happened exactly at that place . . . but it was definitely a different pattern from what we had seen in Basra or Baghdad.

"There will be investigations I am sure." Baghdad and Basra are coping relatively well with the flow of wounded, said Huguenin, estimating that Baghdad hospitals have been getting about 100 wounded a day. Most of the wounded in the two large cities have suffered superficial shrapnel wounds, with only about 15 per cent requiring internal surgery, he said. But the pattern in Hilla was completely different.

"In the case of Hilla, everybody had very serious wounds and many, many of them small kids and women. We had small toddlers of two or three years of age who had lost their legs, their arms. We have called this a horror." At least 400 people were taken to the Hilla hospital over a period of two days, he said -- far beyond its capacity. "Doctors worked around the clock to do as much as they could. They just had to manage, that was all."

The city is no longer accessible, he added. Red Cross staff are also concerned about what may be happening in other smaller centres south of Baghdad. "We do not know what is going on in Najaf and Kabala. It has become physically impossible for us to reach out to those cities because the major road has become a zone of combat." The Red Cross was able to claim one significant success this week: it played a key role in re-establishing water supplies at Basra.

Power for a water-pumping station had been accidentally knocked out in the attack on the city, leaving about a million people without water. Iraqi technicians couldn't reach the station to repair it because it was under coalition control. The Red Cross was able to negotiate safe passage for a group of Iraqi engineers who crossed the fire line and made repairs. Basra now has 90 per cent of its normal water supply, said Huguenin. Huguenin, a Swiss, is one of six international Red Cross workers still in Baghdad. The team includes two Canadians, Vatche Arslanian of Oromocto, N.B., and Kassandra Vartell of Calgary. The Red Cross expects the humanitarian crisis in Iraq to grow and is calling for donations to help cope. The Red Cross Web site is: www.redcross.ca

1,361 Iraqis Killed in April, 2004

Fri, Apr. 30, 2004


SICHIR, Iraq, Sept. 23 — Tahseen Ali Khalaf was asleep beside his brother Hussein when the shooting started early this morning outside their ramshackle house in this farming community 40 miles west of Baghdad, he said.

Then a pair of United States fighter jets swooped in, dropping nearly a dozen bombs or missiles — it was not immediately clear which — in a highly unusual strike. Now Tahseen, 12, and Hussein, 10, are lying beside each other again, in the main hospital in nearby Falluja, a center of resistance to the American occupation. The hospital lately has tended to a number of apparently accidental victims of American attacks.

The air attack in Sichir killed three men and wounded another, in addition to Tahseen and Hussein, family members said today. They described an attack that seemingly came out of nowhere just before 2 a.m. An American ground patrol fired on their house, five rooms of dilapidated brick and concrete inside a cinder-block wall, for about 15 minutes, they said.

The patrol retreated for a few minutes, and then jets roared overhead and the ordnance fell, blasting a hole in a room used to store grain and throwing shrapnel and panic everywhere.

Ali Khalaf Muhammad, the father of Tahseen and Hussein, was hit by shrapnel and retreated to a corner of his room. There he tried without luck to staunch the bleeding that killed him, family members said. Salem Khalil Ismael and Sadi Fakhri Faiyadh, who were among the 15 family members sleeping at the house, also died, the family said.

Family members insisted they had offered no resistance to the American patrol. No bullet cartridges or weapons were visible this afternoon at their house, only bomb craters and holes punched in concrete by large-caliber weapons.

"We don't have any bullets in the house — it's a safe and quiet area," said Abd Rashid Muhammad, who was injured in the attack, from his hospital bed in Falluja. "Is it logical to attack children, people sleeping in their beds during the night?"

The American military confirmed the incident, including the air attack, but said soldiers had fired only after they had been fired upon.

"Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne were attacked by the enemy," said a spokesman, Specialist Anthony Reinoso. "The attackers fled into a building. Coalition forces pursued them and formed a defensive perimeter. Air support was called in to assist."

Specialist Reinoso said that only one "enemy" had been killed and was unaware of any people injured. No American troops were killed or wounded. He said he had no further information and did not know why the patrol had called in an air assault.

Since Saddam Hussein fell in April, the United States has rarely used warplanes in its battles with guerrillas, although fighters can sometimes be heard over Baghdad.

From a preliminary examination of the scene, it was obvious that a major attack had occurred. Bomb or missile craters dotted the yard of the house, and family members pointed to two places where the ordnance had landed but failed to detonate. Bullet holes punctured steel doors and shattered windows, as well as a picture of Mr. Muhammad that hung in the corner of the room where he died.

For the second time in two weeks, a unit of the 82nd Airborne appeared to have attacked an unresisting group of Iraqis. On Sept. 11, a patrol shot at a convoy of three Iraqi police vehicles on a road a few miles from here, killing at least eight officers and one Jordanian hospital worker.

"We are only peasants here," said Zaidan Khalaf Muhammad, the brother of Ali Muhammad. The American troops "came like terrorists."

Falluja, a city three miles south of Sichir, lies at the heart of the heavily pro-Saddam Sunni Triangle, where Americans have been under nearly constant guerrilla attack. But Zaidan Muhammad and other members of his family said that they were simple farmers who had never wished American troops harm. That may change now, they said.

"They are invaders, mercenaries," said Ghanem Muhammad, a cousin of Ali. "From now on, the war will start."

In keeping with Islamic tradition, which specifies that the dead be buried as quickly as possible, funerals for all three men were held today, the family said. Under a tent not far from the house, the men of the Muhammad family sat quietly in the midday heat, receiving visitors. Inside the house, women chanted and beat themselves in ritual mourning.

At the hospital in Falluja, Tahseen, Hussein and Abd Rashid Muhammad lay beside each other on three low beds in a room filled with flies. A cut ran across Tahseen's forehead, while two bandages covered the wounds on the face of Hussein, who appeared to be the most seriously wounded of the three.

When the bombs fell, "I thought it was Ali Babas," Tahseen said, using Iraqi slang for thieves. "I didn't realize it was Americans."

More Iraqis killed by U.S. than by "terrorists"

Civilian Deaths are Undermining Efforts to Win Over People

September 25, 2004


BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Operations by U.S. and multinational forces and Iraqi police are killing twice as many Iraqis -- most of them civilians -- as attacks by insurgents are, according to statistics compiled by the Iraqi Ministry of Health.

According to the ministry, which provided the Free Press with the figures Friday, the interim Iraqi government recorded 3,487 Iraqi deaths in 15 of the country's 18 provinces from April 5 -- when the ministry began compiling the data -- until Sept. 19. Of those, 328 were women and children. Another 13,720 Iraqis were injured, the ministry said

While most of the dead are believed to be civilians, the data include an unknown number of police and Iraqi national guardsmen. Many Iraqi deaths, especially of insurgents, are never reported, so the actual number of Iraqis killed in fighting could be higher. During the same period, 432 U.S. soldiers were killed.

Iraqi officials said the statistics proved that U.S. air strikes targeting insurgents also were killing large numbers of civilians. Some of the officials say these casualties are undermining popular acceptance of the U.S.-backed interim government. The U.S. command is planning more aggressive military operations to clear the way for nationwide elections scheduled for January, the Bush administration has said.

Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, a U.S. military spokesman, said the insurgents were living in residential areas, sometimes in homes filled with munitions. "As long as they continue to do that, they are putting the residents at risk," Boylan said. "We will go after them."

Boylan said the military conducted intelligence at a home to determine whether it housed insurgents before striking it. While damage would happen, the air strikes were "extremely precise," he said. And he said that any attacks conducted by the multinational forces were done "in coordination with the interim government."

The Health Ministry statistics indicate that more children have been killed around Ramadi and Fallujah than in Baghdad. U.S. air strikes and ground combat have been heavy in both places, particularly in April and May. According to the statistics, 59 children were killed in Anbar province, a hotbed of the Sunni Muslim insurgency that includes the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, compared with 56 children in Baghdad. The ministry defines children as anyone younger than 12.

"When there are military clashes, we see innocent people die," said Dr. Walid Hamed, a member of the operations section of the Health Ministry, which compiles the statistics. Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan who specializes in Iraq and Shi'ite Islam, said the widespread casualties meant that coalition forces already had lost the political campaign: "They lost the hearts and minds a long time ago. "And they are trying to keep U.S. military casualties to a minimum in the run-up to the U.S. elections" by using air strikes instead of ground forces, he said. U.S. military officials say they're targeting terrorists and are aggressively working to spare innocent people nearby.

Nearly a third of the Iraqi dead -- 1,122 -- were killed in August, according to the statistics. May was the second deadliest month, with 749 Iraqis killed, and 319 were killed in June, the least violent month. Most of those killed lived in Baghdad. The ministry found that 1,068 had died in the capital. Many Iraqis say they think the numbers show that the multinational forces disregard their lives.

At his fruit stand in southern Baghdad, Raid Ibraham, 24, theorized: "The Americans keep attacking the cities not to keep the security situation stable, but so they can stay in Iraq and control the oil." Others blame the multinational forces for allowing security to disintegrate, inviting terrorists from everywhere and threatening the lives of everyday Iraqis.

"Anyone who hates America has come here to fight: Saddam's supporters, people who don't have jobs, other Arab fighters. All these people are on our streets," said Hamed, the ministry official. "But everyone is afraid of the Americans, not the fighters. And they should be." Saddam is former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Iraqi officials said about two-thirds of the Iraqi deaths were caused by multinational forces and police; the remaining third died from insurgent attacks.

From that date until Sept. 10, 1,295 Iraqis were killed in clashes with multinational forces and police versus 516 killed in terrorist operations, the ministry said. The ministry defines terrorist operations as incidents in which someone is killed by an explosive device in a residential area, killed by a car bomb or assassinated. The Health Ministry is the only organization that attempts to track deaths through government agencies. The U.S. military said it kept estimates, but refused to release them.

Contact NANCY A. YOUSSEF at youssef@freepress.com.

Report says military distorts war deaths

By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff, 2/18/2004

WASHINGTON -- By refusing to make public its estimates of civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has undercut international support for the US campaigns in those countries and has made the postwar stabilization of the two societies more difficult, according to an independent report to be released today that accuses the Pentagon of appearing indifferent to the civilian cost of war.

The analysis by the Project on Defense Alternatives, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, concludes that the Pentagon has not fully disclosed in recent years accidental deaths and injuries inflicted upon civilian populations by American military forces. Its failure to do so has made it more difficult to predict how local populations will receive the United States after a conflict, the report said.

According to the report -- "Disappearing the Dead: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Idea of a `New Warfare' " -- the Pentagon's stance has also distorted the national debate over whether to go to war. The report says the US military has wrongly given the impression that its high-tech form of warfare is extremely low risk, creating unrealistic expectations that war produces very low casualties.

Ignoring evidence to the contrary, the report says, the Pentagon has also said that estimates of the number of war casualties cannot be known and that such numbers nonetheless would not be meaningful in assessing the overall success of a military operation.

"Distortion of the civilian casualty issue can only serve to impede the sober assessment of US policy, policy options, and their consequences," states a draft copy of the report, provided to the Globe. "It is antithetical both to well-informed public debate and to sensible policy making."

Based on a review of thousands of news articles and other publicly available materials, the report estimates that 18,000 combatants and civilians were killed during the course of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, about one-third -- 6,000 -- were civilians. A Pentagon official, who said he had not yet read the full report, maintained that the Pentagon is unable to tally civilian casualties and has no need to.

"Our efforts focus on defeating enemy forces, so we never target civilians and have no reason to count such unintended deaths," said the official, who asked not to be identified. "It is at best extremely difficult to estimate casualty figures, and we cannot say with any certainty how many civilians have been killed . . . "Even one innocent death is a sad fact, and something we sincerely regret."

As for Iraq, he added, "The responsibility for every death in Iraq, be it soldier or civilian, Iraqi, American, British, or others, lies with Saddam Hussein, who chose war over complying with UN resolutions." The 60-page report accuses the Pentagon of "spinning" the casualty issue to the media so as to limit public discourse about a subject that military leaders, still haunted by the Vietnam War, fear will hurt support at home and abroad. One method has been to simply not discuss civilian casualties and make no effort to tally them, even when news reports make estimates possible.

The report terms it "casualty agnosticism." "Rather than making positive claims about casualties, this approach simply implied that no such claims were possible," according to the report. "Casualty agnosticism aims to sink the whole issue of war casualties in an impenetrable murk of skepticism." When asked about civilian casualties, the analysis contends, Pentagon representatives often repeat a common refrain: US forces take all precautions to avoid harming civilians, and the nature of modern warfare has reduced those numbers dramatically.

That may be true, but the report argues that the approach obscures a crucial part of the debate about whether to go to war: what the civilian cost might be. At the same time, it leaves the wrong impression about how precise American forces can be -- both abroad and at home. "In addition to distorting the national discourse on war, these efforts may have damaged America's image abroad -- thus contributing to the problem they were meant to mitigate," the report states. "These efforts may have contributed to the perceptual divide that separates America from much of the rest of the world, thus undermining international understanding and cooperation."

Added Carl Conetta, codirector of the Project on Defense Alternatives: "You cannot deduce from all this talk of cruise missiles sailing into buildings how many civilians will die in a war. We need some general sense of what people are dying in these wars, and that we can do." The Pentagon's approach has also had repercussions on the ground, Conetta believes. "Body counts are not a measure of victory but nonetheless we need to know the facts of the matter," he said in an interview. "It gives us some sense of the impact and how tough it is going to be postwar. Some amount of the sympathy for the Iraqi insurgency has to do with the damage that the war caused."

The report concludes: "Until US political and opinion leaders disabuse themselves of the `new war' ideology, the nation will be brought to war easily, but left unprepared for and perplexed by the consequences that follow."

© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.

U.S. Fire Mistakenly Kills 8 Iraqi Police

Fri Sep 12, 7:46 PM ET

By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer

FALLUJAH, Iraq - U.S. soldiers mistakenly opened fire on uniformed Iraqi policemen chasing highway bandits at night, killing eight officers and a Jordanian security guard and wounding nine other people Friday in this dangerous "Sunni Triangle" city near Baghdad, Iraqi police said.