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Thursday, July 05, 2007


Death in Iraq

Readers know I frequently return to the subject of how many Iraqis have died, why the Johns Hopkins ("Lancet") study is so credible yet so discredited in the corporate media, how there could be such discrepancies between the Johns Hopkins study and the numbers reported by Iraq Body Count, and so on.

Today, on CounterPunch, Michael Schwartz goes into lengthy detail on that subject in an article well worth reading. Perhaps the most salient point from which so much else flows, which I wasn't aware of, is this:

The answer lies in another amazing statistic: this one released by the U.S. military and reported by the highly respectable Brookings Institution: for the past four years, the American military sends out something over 1000 patrols each day into hostile neighborhoods, looking to capture or kill insurgents and terrorists. (Since February, the number has increased to nearly 5,000 patrols a day, if we include the Iraqi troops participating in the American surge.)
With so many of those patrols involving kicking doors down, throwing grenades into houses on the slightest suspicion that someone might be lurking inside with a gun, and so on, it takes little imagination to understand how the "seemingly impossible" numbers reported by Johns Hopkins are, indeed, quite understandable.

Update: This organization has a counter which extrapolates from the Johns Hopkins study, using ongoing data collected by Iraq Body Count (but multiplying by a ratio to correct for its undercounting) to provide an ongoing estimate. Their current number: 969,038 - just short of a million dead Iraqis.

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