The staggering research reported in the British journal Lancet shows the magnitude of the Bush administration’s war crimes: 98,000 Iraqi civilians dead, including 40,000 children. And that’s not even counting Fallujah.
The number of deaths is particularly shocking because the researchers measured deaths in the 18 months after March 2003 in comparison to a similar period before March 2003. But it’s been widely reported the under sanctions deaths in Iraq were already very high, including among children—so the post-March ’03 increase is even more significant.
The researchers didn’t include Fallujah because the number of deaths there were so high they didn’t want that city’s dead to skew their national sample, measured in 808 Iraqi households in 33 clusters spread across Iraq.
Newsday, reporting the study, notes :
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.
I guess I don’t think most Americans care a lot about dead Iraqis. I hope I’m wrong. The researchers deliberately released their report on the eve of the U.S. elections in the hope that it would have the greatest impact. Two more American soldiers died yesterday in combat, bringing the total of American dead to 1,106. That the ratio is 100 to 1 won’t change most American minds, I don’t think. But in a close election, if it affects one of a hundred American voters, it can make a difference. It should.