January 17, 2007
The following recent UN report of huge violent deaths in Occupied Iraq was published on 16 January 2007 in MWC News (see MWC News): "UN reports that 34,452 civilians have been killed in violence in Iraq over the past year and about 36,885 people have been wounded. Gianni Magazzeni, head of the UN human rights office in Iraq, accused the government in a press conference on Tuesday of failing to provide security and blamed some of the violence on militias colluding with or working inside the police and army. The figures are much higher than any statistics issued by Iraqi government officials. The government itself branded the UN's last two-monthly report in November as grossly exaggerated and banned Iraqi officials from releasing data … the UN figures were compiled from information obtained through the Iraqi health ministry, the Baghdad mortuary, operations centres at hospitals across the country and other agencies."
How do these UN estimates of post-invasion Iraq excess deaths compare with other authoritative estimates?
Excess deaths (excess mortality, avoidable mortality, avoidable deaths, deaths that should not have happened) can be violent (bombs, bullets, beating) or non-violent (through disease and deprivation). Overall, the excess deaths in a country is the difference between the actual deaths in a country and the deaths expected for a decently-run, peaceful country with the same demographics (see: here ).
Estimates of VIOLENT post-invasion Iraq excess deaths
Three major estimates of violent post-invasion Iraq excess deaths are outlined below.
(a) As outlined above, the UN reports 34,452 civilians killed in Iraq in the last year. Extrapolating over 47 months yields 135,000 violent deaths (however the annual death rate may well have varied from year to year). This estimate was based on institutional and agency data across Iraq - but will NOT include deaths NOT reported to officials.
(b) Iraq Body Count has an upper estimate of about 59,000 Iraqi civilians killed by military intervention since the US invasion. However this is based on media reports (notoriously deficient in this and other conflict zones) and as with (a) this will not include un-reported deaths.
(c ) Research from a group of top medical epidemiologists and biometricians from a top department (Bloomberg School of Public Health; first institution of its kind worldwide; largest school of public health in the world; receives 25.2% of all federal research funds awarded to the 37 accredited U.S. schools of public health;) at a top US university (Johns Hopkins), peer-reviewed and published in the top medical journal The Lancet in October 2006 – and endorsed by 27 top Australian institution-linked medical experts – estimated 655,000 post-invasion excess deaths including about 601,000 violent deaths (for discussion see: here and here ). Extrapolating over 47 months yields 642,000 violent deaths (as of January 2007). This survey was based on household surveys and would have included both officially reported and non-reported violent deaths.
Estimates of TOTAL post-invasion Iraq excess deaths
Four independent estimates of total post-invasion Iraq deaths from authoritative data sets are outlined below.
(a) From UN Population Division Data using the death rate in Iraq’s peaceful but impoverished neighbours Jordan and Syria as a baseline, the post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Iraq (as of January 2007) totals 0.6 million (by way of comparison, the corresponding post-invasion under-5 infant mortality figure is 0.5 million).
(b) Detailed analysis of infant mortality and avoidable mortality for every country in the world since 1950 reveals that for Third World countries "under-5 infant mortality" is about 0.7 times the "total avoidable mortality". Checking the latest data on the UNICEF website, we see that 122,000 under-5 year old infants die each year (12 months) in Occupied Iraq i.e. 122,000 x 47/12 = 478,000 would have died over the 47 months since the invasion; dividing by 0.7 yields an estimate of 683,000 (i.e. 0.7 million) post-invasion avoidable deaths in Occupied Iraq (as of January 2007).
(c) Roberts et al (2004) in The Lancet in which they estimated a post-invasion annual death rate of 12.3 persons per 1,000 of population (for links see: here ). Subtracting the annual death rate in impoverished but peaceful neighbouring Syria and Jordan (about 4 deaths per 1,000 of population) we get a post-invasion annual avoidable death rate of 8.3 per 1,000. This yields an estimated post-invasion avoidable mortality of 845,000 (0.8 million) assuming an average population of 26 million (as of January 2007).
(d) Using the latest Johns Hopkins data indicating 13.3 deaths annually per 1,000 people and a Jordan/Syria baseline of 4 deaths per 1,000 gives an "annual excess death rate" of 9.3 per 1,000 and post-invasion excess deaths totalling 947,000 (0.9 million) (as of January 2007).
Conclusion: using the most comprehensive and authoritative medical literature and UN demographic data yields an estimate of 0.9 million post-invasion excess deaths in US-occupied Iraq. Coupled with UN estimates of 2 million Iraqi refugees, this constitutes an Iraqi Genocide, an Iraqi Holocaust in which the US and its Coalition allies are complicit through gross violation of the Geneva Conventions that unequivocally demand that Occupiers keep their conquered subjects ALIVE (see MWC News). The magnitude of this on-going Iraqi Holocaust urgently requires comprehensive inter-national and intra-national Sanctions and Boycotts against those complicit in order to halt this appalling Iraqi Genocide.
Dr Gideon Polya, MWC News Chief political editor, published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003), and is currently writing a book on global mortality