Monday, March 26, 2007

Good News!

By which, of course, I mean bad news.

The prestigious British medical journal The Lancet recently released a study indicating that about 650,000 Iraqis have died during the Iraq War.

Some in the British government are questioning the study's sampling method, even though the method is the standard one for battleground estimates. But the chief scientific advisor to the British Ministry of Defense has said that the estimate is pretty much as good as possible, and even its British critics in the Foreign Office have written, "The survey methodology used here cannot be rubbished, it is a tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones."

At Iraq Body Count, the death toll is at about 62,500. But, as they point out, they're counting only reported deaths. And, as they point out, "It is likely that many if not most civilian casualties will go unreported by the media. That is the sad nature of war." So The Lancet figure isn't necessarily inconsistent with the IBC figure.

Still, if we're optimistic, maybe the IBC number is only, say, a 10% undercount. That would mean that only 70,000 Iraqis had died since the war began. Which is a mere 23 times more than died in the 9/11 attacks. Cheer up, Iraqis! Good news!

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