March 18, 2005
Persistent, pervasive and pernicious: the '100,000 Civilians Dead' Canard
Beware, Puget Sound, it's going to be one of those weekends. King 5:
Saturday marks two years since the start of the war in Iraq, and anti-war protests are planned this weekend in Western Washington and all around the nation.
Call it the "Million Moonbat March." You can be sure they're going to recycle the discredited
claims by the Lancet Journal that 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died because of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On the 2nd anniversary of the liberation of Iraq from tyranny, it should come as no surprise that every anti-American hate site and/or leftie blog is doing just that. Such mentions take predictably dogmatic form:
The best estimate of the number of Iraqi civilian deaths caused by the war- 100,000- was published six months ago by Johns Hopkins and Columbia University researchers. By this two-year anniversary, the number will have increased to around 133,000. Proportional to population, that's as if 1.5 million American citizens had been killed.
It's troubling to see how frequently
projection appears in the mainstream media, especially in op-eds by leftist commentators. As this propaganda becomes firmly entrenched in the public consciousness, the ubiquity of the false figure is approaching crisis levels.
Two days ago Andy MacDonald and I attended a Town Hall forum, "Veterans Reflect on the Iraq War," featuring SoundPolitics ally Terry Thomas, a Marine lieutenant who had served in the initial push into Iraq, Josh Rushing, from CENTCOM, and John Oliviera, a naval press officer.
The veterans were diverse in their position on the war: Terry Thomas described his moral clarity in favor of it growing from meeting families in the Marshes of the south who had each lost a family member to murders by the fedayeen, and seeing Hussein's torture facilities. He spoke from the heart with real passion. Rushing was optimistic about the Middle East's reforms but thought more could have been done to avoid war and to engage the Arab media, and Oliviera felt the administration had lied and let the troops down.
Questions from the audience referred to the Lancet's figure. "Even though they're voting, how can you justify killing 100,000?" or "Don't you feel angry that you were a part of killing 100,000 people for a lie, for oil?" The vets could have refuted the premise of those questions, if only the myth begun in October last year had been more effectively, dedicatedly debunked by journalists and the DoD. They seemed caught off-guard by this, even the anti-war vet didn't seem to believe it, but didn't know how exactly to contend with the number.
The administration acts as though it's ignoring this problem, hoping it will go away. It doesn't appear it will....
From a March 15th CBS op-ed from The Nation:
It would also be a mistake to conclude that the [Lebanon] revolution in any way vindicates or legitimizes the U.S. invasion of Iraq -- the costs of which, as the occupation approaches the end of its second year, include 1,500 U.S. troops and 100,000 Iraqi civilians dead and at least $200 billion spent....
From yesterday's Guardian
Twenty-four experts from the UK, the US, Australia, Canada, Spain and Italy say the attitude of the governments is "wholly irresponsible"...
Their hard-hitting statement, published online by the British Medical Journal, comes nearly five months after the Lancet published a household survey of civilian deaths in Iraq which estimated that about 100,000 civilians had died - most of them women and children.
From a BBC report
Their statement is the latest protest triggered by a critical report in medical journal the Lancet last October, which suggested 100,000 Iraqi civilians may have died since the March 2003 invasion.
From the Sydney Morning Herald:
The survey results suggest that even excluding Falluja, 98,000 more Iraqis died as a result of the invasion of Iraq than would have if the invasion had not taken place. The major causes of death before the invasion were heart attacks and strokes; after the invasion, violence was the main cause of death. The study found that violent deaths were widespread, and mainly attributed to coalition forces.
From an op-ed on Paul Wolfowitz and the World Bank in The Herald:
In the space of one week, the US president has named as ambassador to the UN a man who loathes the organisation, and nominated the architect of the Iraq war– estimated civilian casualties 100,000 – to head a body meant to save the world's poor from early death.
Pacifica Radio, where Jim McDermott spoke of his attempts to end recruiters in high schools:
Two years ago, on March 19, 2003, the United States began dropping bombs on Iraq, while thousands of US and British forces began pouring across the country's borders. Since then, as many as 100,000 Iraqis have died and an unknown number have been wounded.
The White House and Defense haven't done enough to refute the Lancet's flawed study. I just wish they would realize how much harm it's doing and has done.
(Cross-posted on Oh, That Liberal Media!)
Posted by Brian Crouch at March 18, 2005
04:44 PM | Email This
Sadly, truth is the first casualty of war.
Of course, you could mention that we did kill about 20,000 civilians in the end.
You could also mention the persistent, pervasive and pernicious canards that the Bush administration used to get us into a war when they should have been concentrating on the war on Terror and OBL.
"part of killing 100,000 people for a lie, for oil?"
Show me the 100,000, show me the lie and show me the oil.
Still swingin' and missin', huh?
The war on Iraq IS a war on terror. The terrorists sure think so (else they would go attack someplace other than Iraq) - why don't you?
Saddam was funding terrorists (payments to Palestinian homicide-bomber families) and housing terrorists (ever heard of Abu Nidal or Abu Abbas?). Ergo, attacking his regime was attacking a source of funding and sanctuary of known terrorists.
As for OBL, what has he been up to? He's probably in (dirt) over his head right now.
The plain fact is that it is the policy of U.S. Government and military to not collect data or make estimates regarding civilian deaths. The military does not want to be constrained on what tactics it may adapt by considerations of civilian deaths. They have no one to blame but themselves.
In fact they attempt to suppress data that could be used to estimate civilian deaths. For quite some time now the press has not had access to hospital data on civilian deaths. This was on orders of the Coalition Provisional Authority and subsequently the interim government.
In fact the Lancet study uses standard methodology to estimate increased civilian mortality (not all caused by U.S. actions or from combat) resulting from the war. The estimate was quite respectable given the difficulty of collecting data in Iraq.
The body count site you linked to estimates civilian deaths only from news reports. These are clearly very limited, since news reporters are severely limited in where they can go and most deaths never come to the attention of reporters. As a result the Body Count estimate must be considered at best a lower bound for any civilian death estimate.
The Fred Kaplan article correctly pointed out that the margin of error in the estimate was large. That is it was as equally likely that the death toll was 200,000 as 8,000, with the estimate centered on 100,000. Kaplan's own estimate is a simple hunch, made by someone with no data.
But in the absence of better estimates, the Lancet study is one of the better ones out there.
Remind me again, because I keep forgeting. Are the civilians the ones with huge stock piles of weapons taking potshots at us or are they the ones setting off car bombs to kill the brave men applying for the job of defending their families?
Since the Moonbats are probably counting OBL and his Iraqi henchmen as civilians, I'm happy to keep the count going all the way to 100,010.
Margins of errors are not guesses, they're the statisical underpinnings of any study including sampling and projection.
And a margin of error of 80K or 90K on a mean of 100K is bunk - it's a bad study and not statistically relevant. Period.
If you were to say that 40 million people were killed by Stalin with a margin of error of 90K - that would be very high confidence. But 100K +/- 90K? Do you produce statistical analysis for a living, chewie? I do - and if I came up with that number I'd throw it away, form a different hypothesis, and start some more observations. I'd never publish that unless I liked being laughed at.
The huge stockpiles of weapons are in the hands of terrorists..... they are also the ones with the car bombs........
the civilians are the ones getting blown up by the terrorists with the weapons and the car bombs, that is of course when they arn't getting their heads hacked off ever so slowly.
Our good president gets blamed for everything from higher oil prices to imaginary asteroids heading towards earth, why not this too?
As long as Italy keeps paying the terrorists ransoms, they will keep the weapons stockpiled.
Something has to keep the moonbats busy this weekend, why not a protest? I personally want them to protest when the BRAC comes to Washington, and I want it well publicized! Gregoire says that our communities are all ultrasupportive of the military bases here in Washington! Maybe the BRAC will see the truth and close some of them down.
Only in America will you get arrested for starving your dog, but judges will authorize you to starve your wife!
One HUGE reason we don't attempt to count civilian casualties is that ALL THE TERRORISTS DRESS LIKE CIVILIANS!!!!
In prior wars the enemy soldiers had the decency to identify and differntiate themselves from non-combatants, just as we STILL do. The terrorists do not - which is also why they are not covered by the Geneva Convention agreements.
chew2 - The "study" fails, because it doesn't pass the sanity check.
The author who debunked the study asked, "Have more than 180 Iraqis, mainly women and children, really died every day, on average, for the past 18 months, usually at the hands of the Americans?"
The answer is, of course not, because if they had, there would have been no way to supress that much evidence.
If the authors of the study were actually interested in the truth, they would have made a sanity check, and then gone back to the drawing board when the study failed to pass it.
It's me again. Unfortunately, we're now on a topic where my sense of humor simply fails me. Whether the number is 20,000, 40,000 or over 100,000, it turns my stomach to even contemplate this loss of human life.
Regardless of the real value of that number, I think we all need to take a moment and ponder it.
Is this what we set out to do?
11. Is this what we HAD to do to insure our freedom?
So you felt the same way about the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims of Saddam throughout the years, I assume. You were hoping beyond hope that his killing would stop. Some weeks he gassed that many people, and you were overcome with grief, right?
I have a copy of National Geographic from several months back that states that the number of people missing due to Saddam and his Ba'ath regime might be in the neighborhood of six MILLION people. Seems a bit high to me, but National Geographic isn't exactly the National Inquirer, right?
So when Saddam was murdering all those Iraqis, how did you feel? What were you doing about it? Were you as concerned as you are today?
13. If the cost to the American taxpayer is $400 billion to free Iraq, shouldn't the first 400 billion dollars of Iraqi crude be paid to the US?
14. Unkl Witz, Like Goldy, may I ask YOUR military experience? [Right...that's what I thought. About the same as Headless Lucy.]
"And a margin of error of 80K or 90K on a mean of 100K is bunk - it's a bad study and not statistically relevant. Period."
Again, good point Larry.
I never really thought that this war was about WMD, and told people at the time. I thought that it was about establishing a beachhead in the middle east, showing dominance, and planting the seeds of democracy. All of those were good ideas, in my view.
It's impossible to argue with people that simply will not look at the entire picture, though. There are people on both the left and the right that are not willing to admit and accept that there are different ways of looking at things. Some times with emotion, other times with cold hard logic, usually a dose of both is a good idea.
In the case of the Iraq war, those of us that tend to use emotion primarily for making decisions decided that the war (and many other things) was bad and anything to fight it was game. They will make up statistics or do pretty much anything else in their emotional fight against the Iraq war.
They don't care about how many Saddam murdered, raped, killed, and disappeared. Of course the ones that they tortured, boiled alive, and disintegrated in vats of acid don't count either. Those murdering scumbags are over there chopping off peoples' heads, blowing up people, maiming kids, raping women and Americans are upset over nude pictures at Abu Graihb.
The protestors will take over the city streets...They will destroy property, assault bystanders..(umm..in the name of *Peace*?)...The citizens will demand order restored in their downtown streets - the Police will make arrests....The protestors (after clogging our city streets, vandalizing buildings and assaulting bystanders) will have their group lawyers on hand to file lawsuits over their arrests and the city will *pay* our tax dollars to settle (unchallenged) the bogus lawsuits filed by criminal protestors..
The local media will make the police out to be villians and play down the damage and chaos of the protestors. The citizens of Seattle will virtually be held hostage during the protests and their rights will be oppressed due to the actions of the protestors....and they will end up paying for it all with their tax dollars!
The democrat controlled legislature will then pass a bill that states "police cannot make arrests during protests unless the protestors did not first obtain a permit"...further neutering our law enforcments ability to do their job as the will of the people demand......
This is what happens in a liberal Democrat controlled city! And it's happened in Seattle many times.....
From John F Kennedy's Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961:
"The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.
We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
19. Chew2, Unkl Witz and others like them just want to blame America for all the wrong in the World. The military does count all casualties. Like it was mentioned above most of those 'civilians' are the terrorists. In one of the bloodiest battles in Iraq, to regain the city of Samarra from about 2000 'civilians', who terrorized the whole city, the exect number of terrorists killed was 206 - the rest of those cowards just melted away only to comeback at the later opportunity. I know that for a fact - my son was there. How many were killed in the battle of Fellujah? 2000 or so? And if the press had a limited access how come they were able to film our marines going through Fellujah, even killing those boobie trapped cowards? Another myth - the press has no access to hositals. Balloney, the Iraqi doctors in Fellujah were reporting phony numbers of casualties - they were just as terrorized by the 'civilians' as the rest of the city occupants. I think the Roberts guy should write for Al Jazerra. Chew2 and like him would blame our President no matter what he does, right or wrong. How come he doesn't mention those thousands of civilians killed in Bosnia on the order of President Clinton?
I know that in daily briefs we keep track of civilian casualties, whether they're killed by AIF (Anti-Iraqi Forces)or not. I have not seen the numbers of those killed unintentionally, subtracted out. If I can get those numbers, I will put them in a later posting. Everything I've seen so far indicates AIF is killing far more civilians with more frequency than are coalition forces (i.e. 115+ civilian casualties in Hillah on 28 FEB).
By the way I love the statement andy makes about our policy to not collect data. Obviously he has never worked on a military staff. Part of every mission is doing risk analysis to reduce risk to both civilian population and one's own soldiers. I'm over here trying to rebuild a country, not establish a colony or oppress a people.
Thanks to all of those who have been supporting the troops.
This Lancet "study" was so much PC crap it was a surprise that the paper didn't turn brown once oxygen hit it. The "research" was just another hit piece on Bush in the election run-up and now is a part of the big lie promoted by anti-Americans and "anti-war" organizations.
The report itself notes that the number of 100,000 was scientifically selected because it was midway between a low of ~8,000 and a high of ~200,000 (as estimated, natch, by the authors). Also, not only was the report an linear extrapolation of the numbers generated by their research, but the research itself was based on self-reporting! Not based on actual body counts, but on asking families selected by the researchers on how many children died. Even worse (if possible), the researchers did not even ask for any sort of proof from the families regarding infant deaths or adult deaths for fear of implying the respondent was not believed. Or admitting that the killed adult was a Baathist or Islamic terrorist/insurgent. I almost said that a methodology as flawed as this would not pass muster even in King County....but that clearly is not the case. But as a puported scientific study, it is on par with intelligent design, phrenology and epicycles.
Further, the baseline pre-war infant death number used by the Lancet ideologues was a third the size of the infant death rate determined by Unicef, indicating that the abnormal death rate claimed by the Lancet researchers was nowhere near as high as they thought.
But the 100,000 number sounds good to the moonbats and their helpers in the MSM. Like the millions of homeless number dreamed up in the 1980's and then repeated mindlessly for the next 10 years. Or the
insanely high 1 in 4 women had experienced rape or attempted rape number dreamed up by the feminists. So the MSM will repeat the 100,000 number without thinking for as long as it take to get a Dem administration into power.
As for the folks that feel that even 40,000 civilian deaths were too many the question arises: how many deaths had occurred because of Saddam's regime? How many deaths would continue to occur were he to remain in power, both in Iraq and without? And how much responsibility should the terrorists--who continue to struggle against the self-determination of ALL the Iraqi people, not just one religious minority--have for these deaths? Is the USA the ONLY actor with free-will and all others just robots? Of course not. Only a doctrinaire idiot would believe that crap.
V in Baghdad,
We appreciate your attempt to insert truth and fact into the Iraqi situation...However, the liberal anti-war movement is not interested in truth or fact - as it doesn't jibe with the script of BS they chant as their mantra! These protestors wouldn't know an original thought if it accidently popped from their last brain cell! They are as brainwashed as any cult member would be and it will take far more than *intervention* to ever free them of this counter-culture!
It's sad to witness this cult mentality - our kids are being strung along in this nonsense by aged hippies and throw-backs to the 60's! They are truly predators - lurking around our universities and places where young minds hang out...waiting to misinform and negatively influence more young sweet minds.. We have witnessed the damaged minds in the liberal postings here in the blog, in the violent protests in the name of peace?, in the oppression of students who do not buy into the cult....
It's just a damn shame!
Keep posting your facts! Most of us enjoy the truth! Maybe you will reach one of them...
So what is the real number of Dead Iraqi's? Cause if it's only 8,000 I am not happy with my Military(not the soldiers, love the soldiers, love America, not a commie)...we are supposed to be the best in the world, and with our dead and wounded, they are doing better than us.
PS nice job in the previous blog trying to out HL by posting her URL.
"Is this what we HAD to do to insure our freedom?"
I very good question. I would argue no. Given everything we know now and at the time, no.
We are lucky that people's desire to care for themselves is stronger than the incompentance we have shown as occupiers. Once this ceased being a military opperation and became a Whitehouse thing, it has been incompentent. It says a lot about our soldiers that they have done so well given the situation.
Larry, Mabye NG said that, but I find it hard to believe that Sadam killed six million of his own people. I believe the number you sight are the total dead from the 10 year Iraq/Iran war, Gulf War and the lastest, plus political prisioners, etc. Most of those would be from the Iraq/Iran War.
The 20,000-100,000 civilian dead is just that, civilians. Women, Children, old men. People engaged in combat, wether regular or guerrilla are not included. Best number, to my knowledge is around 20,000 dead.
As to the ones Sadam did kill. If that is your reason, why are we not in Sudan right now, where genocide of a truly horific nature is occuring, or North Korea, where you have genocide and a actual suplier of terrorists and possessor of weapons of mass destruction?
Were you yelling for the US to get rid of Pinochet when the US installed him in Chile?
"Freedom is not free," but are we the ones to pay for it? We rose form a revolution, but can you imagine if the French of Spainish had come in and imposed it upon us? The Iraqi people have some responsibility for Sadam.
All that being said, about all we can do now is try to establish some sort of democracy and hope that we don't end up with a civil war. So far, despite the incompentence of the Bush administration, we might be succeeding. But we are at "Mission Accomplish" stage right now. On should never count ones chickens.
25. According to Lt Brian Suits, who just returned from Iraq and will renew his KVI radio show Mon, 6-9pm, the suicide bombers were "foreigners" from other countries other than Iraq as are most of the so called insurgents. The Iraqis have more sense than to blow up their own people. When suicide bombers killed themselves during the election, the Iraquis spit upon their bodies as they passed to vote. Nice jesture and shows their contempt .
I have done a little more research, 20,000 seems to be the hard, bottom number for civilian dead in Iraq since 2003.
Compare those numbers to these, from the Normandy invasion in 1944:
German losses--about 30,000 killed, 80,000 wounded and 210,000 missing.
American losses--29,000 killed, 106,000 wounded and missing.
UK losses--11,000 killed, 54,000 wounded and missing.
Canadian losses--5,000 killed, 13,000 wounded and missing.
French losses--12,200 civilians dead and missing.
Total losses in the invasion alone (not the campaign afterwards)=550,200.
Or look at these numbers from the Battle of the Somme in 1916:
By the end of the battle, the British Army had suffered 420,000 casualties including nearly 60,000 on the first day alone. The French lost 200,000 men and the Germans nearly 500,000.
Compare those numbers from battles lasting a few days to 2 years of warfare in Iraq...puts things into perspective a bit.
All war deaths are sad, but not all deaths are worthless sacrifices.
28. The "Million Moonbat March". Ya gotta love it. Now, if we could only get them to march for Terri Schiavo--then I might take them seriously.
29. And it's not that they care about any Iraqis dying; they just hate President Bush. They're just afraid to be honest.
NO, not another round of protests? Haven't they had enough? I was walking past the Federal Building, and saw one piece of a protest, the coffin with the Flags of Iraq and the US. Unfortunately, I had my camera, but did not take a picture. I have already been mugged on the streets of downtown once(on my way to a temp job at 5AM), I do not want to go through that again. So, even if I had posted the link to my webshots page, no picture.
I do not know of much of coffin/funeral procession protests working. I read in a book about the last run of VIA Rail Canada's Train 1, the Canadian, over Canadian Pacific Rails from Toronto via Winnepeg, Regina, Moose Jaw, Calgary, Nelson, and Kamloops, there were mock funerals held everywhere the train stopped, and when it got to Vancouver, even the crew joined the mock funeral procession protest. 3 days later, the train was back, but over the CN route, running on a tri-weekly schedule. That was 16 years ago, and the situation still prevails. Something tells me that the mock funeral procession does not work, but they can still do it, it is their right.
America can and should be the bright light in the long dark tunnel. You cannot put a numerical value on lives lost and say that the price is too high.
We will never know the true body count of Saddam. Whole families disappeared. His crimes were dispicable, as well as those of his sons. Indeed for the hundreds of thousands that they killed, the people that were tortured, that were raped, and that were maimed, still live on today in absolute horror and shame and that number is easily in the millions.
Saddam is evil. His crimes are NOT comparable with anything the world has known in the past, except Hitler. Hitler was a lot smarter, so his evil was a lot harder to fight. He wanted total world domination and the death of 12 million people was the price for his lunatic beliefs.
When America pulled out of Iraq after the first Gulf War, his brutality went into overdrive and he killed, and he raped, and he tortured his own people.
The peace moonbats are here in Lacey too. Less than 2 miles from my house last week a young female soldier was in a hair salon getting her hair done when a crazed woman walked in the door of the salon, pulled out a huge kitchen knife, held it over her head and charged the hair stylist and the soldier. The hair stylist ran and the woman plunged the knife into the soldier's chest. The soldier grabbed the knife and she and the crazy woman struggled with it. The soldier kept her hands on the knife even though the knife was cutting into the fingers of one hand, she managed to get them out the door and onto the sidewalk and over to a pizza place. A large male was inside, he watched the women struggling, heard the soldier screaming at the top of her lungs for help, and he closed the door and held it shut! What a human being he is to hold a door shut and stand there and refuse to help a woman who had already been stabbed once and was fighting for her life. Finally, an off duty firefighter or paramedic, heard her bloodcurdling screams and helped subdue the crazy woman and he saved her life. If this is what living in isolated peace is, I don't want it. What a novel idea, stand there and don't lift a finger to help. As long as we are safe at home, everyman for himself right? There is a video of the female soldier posted on the Kiro web page.
Great Weekend to all!
Remember only in America will you get arrested for starving your dog, but you can legally starve your wife!
Again, Michelle nailed the truth about this whole thing in one sentence. Nothing more than that need be said.
Thanks Michelle, I appreciate the clarity and sanity.
I too attended that Town Hall forum, "Veterans Reflect on the Iraq War". Prepared for an all-out yowling match between audience factions, it was a pleasant surprise that it was so civil.
Great credit for that to the moderator - a nurse with experience in Iraq, who clearly opposed the war. But when the first lefties started screaming down the panelist with their "well, what about...", she announced decisively that WE'RE NOT GOING TO DO THAT - and except for that Lancet hogwash, the panelists proceeded uninterrupted.
And for comic relief, one presenter even appeared in a Michael Moore costume.
My God, are all you GOP folks feeling guilty about kiling a few civilians. Why so hysterical? Do you think no civilians were killed.
All I said was that the Lancet study was one of the better estimates out there. Can any of you point me to a better one? I've never seen one based on US government data. One of you claimed that the U.S. government does collect casualty data, both military and civilian. If so, point me to it. I'd really be interest in seeing it. As I said, I've read numerous times that it is the policy of the US not to make or release estimates of civilian casualties resulting from its military actions.
The Lancet study attempted to estimate the difference in household mortality from before the war and after the war. The estimated increase was 100,00, but it's important to point out they do not claim all that was the result of U.S. military action. However, volence as a reported cause of death was much smaller (2%) before the war, than after where it was the "main" cause of death. (
For those of you who are interested the statistical underpinnings of the Lancet study are discussed in this link. The Lancet study was found to be a good piece of research given the data constraints. No research is perfect. But as I asked, can any of you point me to a better study?
This site, which cannot be described as pro-American, has a vastly lower number.
They show no more than 20,000 killed.
They are including in that number all the victims of the "insurgents" from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Sudan, and so on.
That is, everytime some terrorist sets off a car bomb in the middle of a crowd, they count the deaths as part of their "Iraq Body Count".
The actual number of deaths directly attributable to US military action is probably about 8,000. Yhose who are against the war will say that even this number is too high. (I disagree) But at least they will be using accurate numbers.
I pointed you to a better study.
The Lancet study was debunked months ago.
The bodycount 20,000 estimate is biased way downwards, because it's data is limited to (english language?) news reports only. News reporting is very spotty in Iraq, and clearly most deaths would not be reported.
For those who are interested here's a very good discussion of the Lancet study, and explaining how its methodology has been used to estimate mortality in many prior conflicts and medical epidemic events.
38. The civilian body count is irrelevant. If it's 1 or 100,000 - it does not matter. A numerical number does not justify or deny the validity of the war. Nor does the military body count. You cannot put a price tag on life, liberty or freedom. If the peace freaks are unhappy with America defending our freedom, they can take their butts to Afganistan or Iraq and live there! The muslim people are just getting a small taste of freedom and they are demanding more of it - all of the Arab world.
"News reporting is very spotty in Iraq, and clearly most deaths would not be reported."
That is a fascinating assertion on your part. Do you have any evidence at all to back it up?
The eyes of the the worlds media have been fixed firmly on Iraq for the last few years. They have a known tendancy to play up anything that could be construed as showing the war was a bad idea or badly executed. See the Lancet "study" for exhibit A.
And yet you are claiming that the Americans are killing perhaps one to two hundred Iraqi's per day, which somehow do not make it into the media accounts? You need to produce evidence for this claim, if you have any, or else admit you are simply speculating.
The article you cite has alredy been debunked. The 100,000 deaths figure is based on smoke and mirrors. IF we assume that the pre-war death rate was some arbitary low figure, and IF we assume that the death rate since the invasion has been much higher, and IF we assume that that the assumed "excess deaths" are attributable to the invasion, then we can ESTIMATE that some of desths, between ten and two hundred thousand, are attributale to the invasion. But all the assumptions here are doubious at best.
I agree that the body count does not validate or invalidate the war.
However, it is important that the Left not be allowed to concoct their own "facts" and establish them as "what everybody knows".
I agree with you. Civilians dying in war zones are "Collateral Damage." The military assesses collateral damage before EVERY military operation and they do everything in their power to reduce it and keep it to an absolute minimum. The collateral damage being done in Iraq now isn't being done by Americans.
The bottom line is that the 99.98% of civilians dying in Iraq right now are being KILLED by TERRORISTS; not American soldiers. Since I am retired military, it just totally aggravates me to hear about 100,000 poor innocent Iraq's being killed........ and how it's our fault or the president's fault.
We need to put the blame where it belongs - Sadaam and the muslim extremists and make no damn mistake, they want ALL of us dead. Iraq is a dangerous place to live now, but it is improving everyday. Iraqi's are now standing up for themselves and demanding their freedom. Yes, they are dying for it and that is their right. The American military is doing a great job over there and they will continue to enable the Iraqi people to see freedom in their lives.
A Catepillar bulldozer didn't kill that Washington girl either. She CHOSE to die by making herself a human shield at night in a war zone in a foreign country with different laws, values and morales. She put her body at risk with no defense assuming that the bulldozer driver would stop, he probably didn't even see her, because of the height of the bulldozer and where the driver sits! Anybody who has driven a large tall piece of equipment like that knows that your vision is very restricted. She could have chosen a hundred other peaceful ways to protest against Israel, instead she risked her life and her life was lost.
You say: " The military assesses collateral damage before EVERY military operation and they do everything in their power to reduce it and keep it to an absolute minimum."
I agree that the military OFTEN attempts to limit collateral damage beforehand. What the military doesn't do is collect evidence afterwards to see whether they succeeded or not. That is why I said the US never collects data on or estimates civilian deaths.
You linked to the Body Count site initially. As I pointed out news coverage is very limited in Iraq. Reporter's have never been able to travel safely in Iraq, and at the present they can't even travel much out of the Green Zone in Baghdad. It's too dangerous. If you believe US reporters are all knowing then you've left the plane of reason.
And the Slate article was not an estimate itself, but a critique of the Lancet study. The Slate critque has been thoroughly discredited in the discussions I linked to.
As I said. Point me to a better study than the Lancet study. Point me to a US military estimate. I'm waiting.
ps. I'm not claiming that all of the increased deaths are the result of US military action, nor did the Lancet study say that either. Read the study.
I said that: " The military assesses collateral damage before EVERY military operation and they do everything in their power to reduce it and keep it to an absolute minimum."
I am not Flenser, I am SGMMAC - retired from the Army after serving 30 years, first name Dana.
"I agree that the military OFTEN attempts to limit collateral damage beforehand. What the military doesn't do is collect evidence afterwards to see whether they succeeded or not. That is why I said the US never collects data on or estimates civilian deaths."
My answer to that is they ALWAYS attempt to limit collateral damage. Sometimes the politics of it even costs soldier's lives. The battle of Fallejah is a good example of that. How many months did they have to wait before they attacked Fallejah? Trust me, those Army commanders knew that every day that went by, the terrorists were building their defenses and that the fighting would be tougher and that more American soldiers lives would be lost. Then they waited until the civilians could get out of the city before they went in. Did civilians still die? Yes. Did more soldiers die and get wounded, because the enemey was well dug in? Yes. The military doesn't go in guns blazing capriously killing innocent women and children without thought or regard for the consequences.
The military DOES assess the damage after operations both in regards to loss of life and buildings, and capabilities. That John Wayne attitude may have happened a 100 years or so ago, but not in today's military. The military pays for collateral damages in most circumstances.
Sadaam used human shields. He put women & children in buildings that he thought would be targets, so that he could claim the American's killed them. They hid their guns and ammo in schools!
Collateral damage will occur in most operations. Sad but true. The military does not and will not run around all over Iraq counting civilian bodies. They stay focused on the enemy soldiers, the terrorists, and their operational missions.
When they had bombs hit the wrong targets, they investigated, when the military situation allowed them to and they reported it.
You dd not "point out" that news coverage is very limited Iraq. You claimed it, you asserted it, you argued it, yes. But you did not point it out
Outside of the "Sunni Triangle" most of Iraq is pretty peacable. I know of no reason why reporters would not be able to travel outside of Baghdad. And you offer nothing to substantiate your claim that they cannot. Either do so or acknowlege the falsity of your claim.
Also, the Chronicle article you cite does not "throughly discredit" the Slate article. It basically ignores it.
Was the pre-war mortality rate in Iraq 5 per thousand, as the Lancet claims? There is no evidence to support this. Is the current mortality rate in Iraq 8 per thousand? There is no evidence to support this either And without these two data points the entire Lancet argument collapses.
Kaplan in the Slate piece points out numerous problems with the way the study was conducted. The Chronicle story ignores all these points.
However, the Chrocicle piece does have some interesting comments.
"Mr. Roberts insists that his primary motive for rushing the paper to press was not political. He says he is glad the paper appeared before the election because he was concerned for his Iraqi colleagues' safety. Had the paper come out after the election, he argues, it would have looked like a cover-up. Dr. Lafta, he says, "would have been killed -- there is just no doubt."
"Dr. Lafta, in an e-mail message to The Chronicle, disagrees: "My personal opinion is that this was an unjustified fear."
Mr Roberts sounds like a tin-foil hat wearing moonbat. Who is he suggesting would have killed Dr Lafta? Surely not the terrorists, who always appreciate any anti-American propaganda. Is he implying that the US Army, in between killing journalists, would have killed Lafta to try to prevent the report from coming out?
Again, if you have any doubt who Roberts percieves as the enemy, consider this;
"There I am, I'm sitting in the car, and a police car rolls up, and my two interviewers get hauled away."
That is, he considers the Iraqi interim government as the main source of danger. This man is a kook. His allegations have as much validity as Paul McGeough's claims that Allawi personally executed some prisioners.
I repeat, if you have any evidence to back up any of your claims, you should present it. By evidence I mean any actual data; I'm really not interested in the unsupported opinions of some American hating lefties, which is all you have come up with so far.
You said: "The military DOES assess the damage after operations both in regards to loss of life and buildings, and capabilities."
Show me where the military has ever made after action assessments of collateral damages. It certainly isnt' public. They have never revealed after action assessments. Have you ever seen after action asssessments of civilian casualties?
The Tommy Franks stated the US "doesn't do body counts". He was speaking of combatant bodycounts. I think he was lying. Do you think he was lying?
The military does after action assessments and they assess damage after operations.
The after action assessments are called after action reviews (AAR). They are done at various levels in the Army. They can be informal or formal. In an AAR, the process answers basic questions such as: Who, What, Where, When, How, Why, etc. All participants in the mission state what they did, how they did it, what did they do right, what did they do wrong, why was it right or wrong, how can it be improved, etc. Collateral damage would definitely be discussed in an AAR. The Army does AAR's to improve their efficiency and their performance, and it works.
There is a bunker in Iraq that the US bombed repeatedly during the air campaign. You probably don't watch Fox news, but if you do, Shepard Smith gave a video tour of it a month or so ago. It's at one of Sadaam's palaces. They kept bombing it, because they kept getting big signatures off of it during their assessments after bombing it. Have you ever seen satellite photos before and after? They do them to assess the enemy capabilities. If a bomb hits off target, they know it, and they will investigate it, if they can. They don't do the process to count bodies of civilians.
When a combat unit is fighting, they get a general idea of how many enemy combatants are killed or injured. Those are estimates. When the fighting is over, they may say we killed about a 100, but that isn't the focus and they don't track those numbers. They don't go out on the battlefield and count the bodies. The focus is on the enemy unit, is it still capable of fighting? Is it 50% destroyed, etc. They do track the enemy on the battlefield and the enemy unit's capabilities. The assessments are done in a variety of ways, satellite photos, news reports, combat unit reports, etc.
General Tommy Franks was NOT lying.
During the ground fighting they discussed civilian casualites several times during the Pentagon briefings. Secretary Rumsfield did and yes, I heard him. They may or may not be tracking the numbers. All of civilians dying in Iraq right now are NOT collateral damage by the US military, they are coalition partner deaths caused by TERRORISTS. Very few of the civilian deaths in Iraq were caused by the US military, most were caused by the terrorists.
You need to put the blame on those blowing up cars and pulling triggers.
Lancet Lying about civilian casualties is what lying liars of the Left call objective journalism. Here's something from Wilson Quarterly, 2002: "Unfazed by the absence of hard data, some American academics ... came up with their own estimates of civilian deaths (in Afghanistan.) ... But the studies depended entirely on others' accounts, including ones that uncritically accepted second-hand reports ... that merely asserted that 400 civilians had been slaughtered and on other reports that repeated unconfirmed Taliban claims."
Let me break it down: Afghanistan was the war that the NYT pronounced a quagmire after about the third day, and that the Left now says was the just war "everyone supported." Back then, Chomsky & tenured radicals & the Church Council of Greater Seattle & big fat idiots such as Michael Moore insisted that we were commiting war crimes & genocide. Millions in Afghanistan will starve because of us, they said. Thousands of civilians have been collaterally damaged to death by our bombs. We've killed more blameless people there (3,767 according to the academic cited in Wilson Quarterly) than the number of little Eichmanns killed here on 9/11 by Islamist freedom fighters.
Bottom Line: "(T)he civilian death toll probably ranged from 500 to 600." That's the debit side. On the credit side, Afghanistan, formerly Trashkanistan, now has a chance to succeed as a normal country, thanks to us.
Follow up to 18 MAR posting:
It took me a while to get the right data. Apparently we only began tracking civilian detahs from 16 JUN 03. My data goes to 18 MAR 05. Apparently there have been 4179 civilian deaths during that time period, 3467 attributable to AIF (anti-iraqi forces or bad guys). Don't have numbers for Combat opns prior to Jun 03. Suggest a FOIA request to Pentagon PAO for that. My numbers are just a rollup of every report thus far released to the public, therefore unclassified.
So if you subtract out AIF number you're left with all other reasons (say the Army tried to defuse an IED and civilians were hurt, vehicle accidents, etc) I'm really unable to attribute remaining numbers to coalition forces. Maybe Pentagon can do that for whoever's interested. But just based on the numbers we're seeing, there's no way the 100,000 is accurate. There's no way 98,000 people were killed between Mar - Jun 03 (the timeframe I don't have data on) Regardless we're doing everything we can to minimize casualties and stop AIF from hurting more people.
Keep up the good debates though. I love showing the statistical anlysis to our Math doctorate holders.
You apear to have your head so far up the white houses you know what that you can even think for yourselves!
When was the last time you stopped to look at the facts? and no not the facts printed by the super liberal or overly conservative web pages; actual facts as recorded and reported by the DoD.
1430 americans have died in opperation Iraqi Freedom, 344 reported by the Dod as non-hostile. (from the actual dod website)
The BBC website your page so happily displays reports "only" 5000 or so iraqi deaths. Have you ever realized that 5000 lives lost aproaches the amount of casualties in the sep. 11 attacks...
Hmmmm..... 5000 or so people die in attacks on our country; America launches "war on terror" leaping into afganistan and iraq without an out plan..... ..... 5000 or so iraqis die durring american "liberation" of iraq; a population more willing to join the large insurgancy.....
Furthermore, what made Sadam Husein the desopt that we needed to depose? What about all of the other dictators in the world that kill their own people.... and no, WMD don't exist in iraq so that isn't a good enough excuse Ü
Also, what justifies the monitary costs? why are we sacrificing the education and safety of our citizens in our country for iraq....
I stumbled on this site in a serch for some unbiased information for a school project and I have been appalled. Please write IDIOT on your forheads so I know when to cross the street to avoid you....