Iraqi Civilian Casualties.

#1
A few months ago someone (the Red Cross?) pulled a figure out of the air of 100,000 civilian casualties killed in Iraq since the start of hostilities. A nice round number......but apparently boll'ocks.

Research, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4692589.stm (as opposed to guesswork), has shown that the figure is closer to 25,000 and almost half of them killed directly by the bad guys. This is going to be very bad news for those Guardianistas who relish the image of B52s eagerly carpet-bombing kindergartens from the edge of space.

To put 25,000 into some sort of perpective, an estimated 50,000 French civilians were killed by Allied bombing in the days before, and the weeks following D-Day.

The French however, seem to accept this as the price of freedom.
 
#3
Thank you for that.

I've been involved in an online argument on another forum for the last few days regarding the death tolls of Iraqi civilians since military involvement and they seem to forget to conveniently forget how things where under Saddam's rule. The 100,000 quote has been banded around so much; does anyone know the situation of the rebuilding of hospitals and state of general health?
 
#4
The 100,000 figure was not pulled out of the air... it too is the result of research although measured in a slightly different way. It was published in the Lancet Medical Journal and is here...

http://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...d=103681&md5=224eaa507095bb8578770d5581062ea8

The 25,000 figure only counts 'reported' deaths. Not all deaths are reported in the media and so the 25,000 figure can only be seen as lower limit on the number of deaths...

The 25,000 figure only includes 'violent' deaths. So consider somone who dies at a car crash becasue an ambulance didn't arrive in time due to being overstretched dealing with other calls or due to roadblocks or whatever. Their death is included in the 100,000 figure but not in the 25,000 figure.

The 100,000 figure is deaths over and above deaths under the former regime... or at least that's my understanding...

Tricam.
 
#5
That pic of the B2 on Iraqbodycount was cool!

As far as civ casualties go, on the news, all you ever seem to hear is 'roadside bomb kills 4 policemen, 10 civilians and 2 soldiers'

So it appears the 'insurgents' or 'terrorists' as I prefer to call them, are busy killing innocent Iraqis not the 'occupiers'
 
#6
tricam said:
The 100,000 figure was not pulled out of the air... it too is the result of research although measured in a slightly different way. It was published in the Lancet Medical Journal and is here...

http://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...d=103681&md5=224eaa507095bb8578770d5581062ea8

The 25,000 figure only counts 'reported' deaths. Not all deaths are reported in the media and so the 25,000 figure can only be seen as lower limit on the number of deaths...

The 25,000 figure only includes 'violent' deaths. So consider somone who dies at a car crash becasue an ambulance didn't arrive in time due to being overstretched dealing with other calls or due to roadblocks or whatever. Their death is included in the 100,000 figure but not in the 25,000 figure.

The 100,000 figure is deaths over and above deaths under the former regime... or at least that's my understanding...

Tricam.
The figure of 100,000 is still likely to be too high since (as the study pointed out) the range of fatalities ranged from 8000 to 198000 with a confidence in the range of 95%, 100,000 was simply plucked out of the middle of that range with no discussion of the distribution of the figures. The study also pointed out that the figures changed significantly if you included or discounted the figures from Falluja, where the records are at best sketchy. I agree that the figure is going to be higher than the 25,000 produced by the IraqBodyCount site though I would have thought that the bibbest contributing factor would have been subsequent deaths from injuries sustained.
 
#7
Heard someone on Radio 5 earlier - supposedly quoting bodycount - who stated that 64% of Iraqis were killed by allied bombing.

Hasn't one of our frequent posters the strapline of "If you torture statistics enough they will say anything" ?.
 
#8
There is an excellent article in the economist discussing the Lancet report... its conclusion is that the 100,000 (or 98,000 to be precise) is accurate... While the authors of the original Lancet report were clearly biased I would trust the Economit to review it fairly (don't forget they were in favour of the invasion IIRC)
http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=3352814

100,000 was simply plucked out of the middle of that range with no discussion of the distribution of the figures.
98,000 was chosen since it is in the middle of the two limits and therefore it is the most likely result... The Economist rephrases the result as "there is 90% certainty that more than 40,000 died"...


The study also pointed out that the figures changed significantly if you included or discounted the figures from Falluja, where the records are at best sketchy.
But the 98,000 figure excludes Falluja... the toll rises if you include Falluja...

Don't forget of the 100,000 deaths 60% are directly related to violence while 40,000 are due to increased prevalence of disease etc...

While it is true that "If you torture statistics enough they will say anything" that does not mean we can completely ignore statistics... it just means we have to be careful interpreting them... Unfortunately, it looks like this is a reasonable estimate of the civilian cost of the invasion...

Tricam.
 
#9
Awol said:
To put 25,000 into some sort of perpective, an estimated 50,000 French civilians were killed by Allied bombing in the days before, and the weeks following D-Day.
25,000 using Smart bombs and rules of engagement against 50,000 caused by 'chuck and see' bombs. Technology hasnt improved that much really has it?

Loads killed by the coalition, loads killed by the insurgents all while trying to justify their actions and condemning each other for doing the same. It always happens in war, just seems to happen a little bit more when the septics are involved.
 
#10
I have just finished reading " Generation Kill" by Evan Wright who was an embedded reported with the USMC Recon and I'm not surprised at the figures at all.
I would urge anybody to read this book as its descriptions of how some of these Marines (and Officers) act when under fire or in an ambush is staggering.
There are examples of artillery and air strikes in villages after the marines have taken some incoming rounds, even though they have clearly seen civilians in the streets and looking out of windows of the houses etc.
The Marines themselves open up with everything thing they carry and cheerfully fire 40mm grenades into every house that they pass ‘just in case’.
So, as I said earlier I’m not overly surprised at the figures.
 
#11
With regard to the 'Iraq Body Count' website; I'm impressed that they have taken the time and effort to either count or estimate civilian casualty figures over such a long period and quantify the figure with an upper and lower figure.

Why then hash the whole lot by giving the database the title of "Civilians reported killed by military intervention in Iraq". In the 'small print' it clarifies this by the statement "This is a human security project to establish an independent and comprehensive public database of media-reported civilian deaths in Iraq resulting directly from military action by the USA and its allies." The emphasis in bot quotes is mine.

Then it states, again in the 'small print' that, "This database includes up to 7,350 deaths which resulted from coalition military action during the "major-combat" phase prior to May 1st 2003." Which is vastly lower than the figures quoted by many sources.

But my my main point is that, if you look down the list in the database, you will see a hell of a lot of the incidents have the weapons listed as 'roadside bomb', 'car bomb', 'suicide bomber', 'suicide car bomb' and even 'bomb in vegetable cart'. Unless these are new weapons being used by the coalition forces in Iraq, surely the title of the database should be changed to "Civilians reported killed by military and terrorist action in Iraq" as the casualties are resulting from terrorist or insergent action, not that of the coalition forces.

Also the question should be broached, if the coalition had not stayed to support the rebuilding of Iraq, does anyone think that the death figures of the civil war, that would most likley have filled the void left by them leaving, been anywhere near as low as 25881?

I suggest it would have been up there in the 100 thousands as is quoted by some of the less reliable sources as being the case at present, and that good research has been reduced to propaganda fodder due to the insistance for its use to try and prove something it plainly doesn't.
 
#12
Issimondias said:
I have just finished reading " Generation Kill" by Evan Wright who was an embedded reported with the USMC Recon and I'm not surprised at the figures at all.
I would urge anybody to read this book as its descriptions of how some of these Marines (and Officers) act when under fire or in an ambush is staggering.
There are examples of artillery and air strikes in villages after the marines have taken some incoming rounds, even though they have clearly seen civilians in the streets and looking out of windows of the houses etc.
The Marines themselves open up with everything thing they carry and cheerfully fire 40mm grenades into every house that they pass ‘just in case’.
So, as I said earlier I’m not overly surprised at the figures.
Agreed. I was shocked at the un-professionalism of the US marines demonstrated in the book. The impression I came away with was a complete lack of fire discipline and no respect for anything but themselves. And they seemed proud of the way they behaved!!!
 
#13
Awol said:
A few months ago someone (the Red Cross?) pulled a figure out of the air of 100,000 civilian casualties killed in Iraq since the start of hostilities. A nice round number......but apparently boll'ocks.

Research, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4692589.stm (as opposed to guesswork), has shown that the figure is closer to 25,000 and almost half of them killed directly by the bad guys. This is going to be very bad news for those Guardianistas who relish the image of B52s eagerly carpet-bombing kindergartens from the edge of space.

To put 25,000 into some sort of perpective, an estimated 50,000 French civilians were killed by Allied bombing in the days before, and the weeks following D-Day.

The French however, seem to accept this as the price of freedom.
I think D-Day was just a little more relevant toward the cause of freedom ;)

Was shocked by their claim that insurgents were the cause of only NINE percent of the deaths in Iraq.

edit: I believe the claim of 100,000 deaths was by the group "iraqbodycount.net"
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#14
Just a warning that the group behind the latest 'accurate figure', the Oxford Research Group, are far from neutral in this - they are a professsed anti-US organisation, and I have had a lot of dealings with them in regard to another area of co-incident UK/US policy, shall we say, in which it is plain that they have an anti-US agenda.

They are of the old-school, Gnuardian, 'anyone who hates the USA must be good' style and their data should be treated accordingly.


Perhaps more accurate headlines should be something like "X,000 a month killed during Saddam's rule - Y,000 a month now, therefore over (X-Y,000) lives saved each month since the liberation". Soemhow I don't think we'll see that.

Recent news coverage has made me even more cynical than I was before - and that took some doing.
Another headlines I don't expect to see is:
"Moslem fanatics kill 2,000 a month in Iraq, plus a fair few in Kashmir, Chechnya, Thailand, and elsewhere - Christians manage a couple, Hindus only manage a few now and again, and Bhuddists kill no-one at all - come on, Dalai Lama, get a Grip!!!
 
#15
Plant-Pilot said:
Also the question should be broached, if the coalition had not stayed to support the rebuilding of Iraq, does anyone think that the death figures of the civil war, that would most likley have filled the void left by them leaving, been anywhere near as low as 25881?
but if we are thinking along those lines, then surely the death toll among the civilians would have been a great deal lower had we not gone in to remove the countrys President and ruling Baath party in the first place.
There would have been no civ deaths from Coalition forces and definatley no civ deaths from the anti-coalition insurgent activity.
How many innocent people have died in order to stop Saddam and his gang from (allegedly, court case due!!) killing innocent people?
 
#16
Filbert Fox said:
Plant-Pilot said:
Also the question should be broached, if the coalition had not stayed to support the rebuilding of Iraq, does anyone think that the death figures of the civil war, that would most likley have filled the void left by them leaving, been anywhere near as low as 25881?
but if we are thinking along those lines, then surely the death toll among the civilians would have been a great deal lower had we not gone in to remove the countrys President and ruling Baath party in the first place.
There would have been no civ deaths from Coalition forces and definatley no civ deaths from the anti-coalition insurgent activity.
How many innocent people have died in order to stop Saddam and his gang from (allegedly, court case due!!) killing innocent people?
true, true, and if we had stayed out of the Second World War then we wouldn't have to deal with the accusations of war crimes against those members of the RAF responsible for thousands of civilian deaths in Dresdan!

anyway you cut it the message is clear - it is unacceptable for the US to get involved anywhere that will result in people dying. Dictators, terrorists and suicide bombers are preferred by the Left (of which Dr Sloboda freely admits he is a member)
 
#17
Im not saying that we shouldnt have gone in, but we the govts were way off target when it came to thinking about post invasion Iraq.

But at least theyve admitted this.
 
#18
The Lancet study (8000-194,000, 95%), from an epidemiological viewpoint, is worthless except for generating headlines: 95% certainty is not terribly high, and such a huge range is de facto useless.

This is how the figures were arrived at:

http://www.techcentralstation.com/110104H.html
The research, led by Les Roberts of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, involved sending teams to interview 998 families in 33 allegedly randomly selected neighborhoods across Iraq. They asked how many people in each household had died and of what, then extrapolated to the nation as a whole. Thence the 100,000 figure, which they claimed was "conservative." But a better word is "worthless." Consider just this: The sample size was so small that the range for deaths was a humongous 8,000 to 194,000. So Roberts and friends just split the difference.
And more:

http://slate.msn.com/id/2108887/
The report's authors derive this figure by estimating how many Iraqis died in a 14-month period before the U.S. invasion, conducting surveys on how many died in a similar period after the invasion began (more on those surveys later), and subtracting the difference. That difference—the number of "extra" deaths in the post-invasion period—signifies the war's toll. That number is 98,000. But read the passage that cites the calculation more fully:

We estimate there were 98,000 extra deaths (95% CI 8000-194 000) during the post-war period.

Readers who are accustomed to perusing statistical documents know what the set of numbers in the parentheses means. For the other 99.9 percent of you, I'll spell it out in plain English—which, disturbingly, the study never does. It means that the authors are 95 percent confident that the war-caused deaths totaled some number between 8,000 and 194,000. (The number cited in plain language—98,000—is roughly at the halfway point in this absurdly vast range.)

This isn't an estimate. It's a dart board.

Imagine reading a poll reporting that George W. Bush will win somewhere between 4 percent and 96 percent of the votes in this Tuesday's election. You would say that this is a useless poll and that something must have gone terribly wrong with the sampling. The same is true of the Lancet article: It's a useless study; something went terribly wrong with the sampling.
 
#19
The buddhists in burma are quite happily joining other faiths in torture murder war etc .us jedis have reletively clean hands .
Dont understand how the lancet came up with figures margin of error between 8000-198000 .Who cares apart from the families wether it was 50 000 or 100 000 does a certain number mean it unacceptable. I did read the original article and it seemed a barking way to do it in the first place and then extrapolate or best gusetimation .
 
#20
Just a warning that the group behind the latest 'accurate figure', the Oxford Research Group, are far from neutral in this - they are a professsed anti-US organisation, and I have had a lot of dealings with them in regard to another area of co-incident UK/US policy, shall we say, in which it is plain that they have an anti-US agenda.

They are of the old-school, Gnuardian, 'anyone who hates the USA must be good' style and their data should be treated accordingly.


Perhaps more accurate headlines should be something like "X,000 a month killed during Saddam's rule - Y,000 a month now, therefore over (X-Y,000) lives saved each month since the liberation". Soemhow I don't think we'll see that.
I completely agree that the groups behind both reports are anti-US but that doesn’t make their figures wrong. They have published their raw data and its been checked out by others (such as the economist) so it is honest.

Also, the Lancet report figure counts deaths over and above deaths that were already happening under Saddam. So to use your example X,000 – Y,000 is actually a positive number!!! I.e. more are dying per month now than under Saddam. However perhaps in years to come when Iraq is fully stabilized then the death rates per month will be less then Saddam’s era…..

The Lancet study (8000-194,000, 95%), from an epidemiological viewpoint, is worthless except for generating headlines: 95% certainty is not terribly high, and such a huge range is de facto useless.
Their method isn’t ideal… but given the security situation and the fact that the coalition made no effort to count Iraqi casualties (great public relations there by the way, “we care so much about Iraqis that we’re not gonna count how many die”) isn’t it the best available method to count deaths??? The economist (http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=3352814) has another way of expressing the result of the survey…

the study concludes with 90% certainty that more than 40,000 Iraqis have died.

I’m not arguing against the invasion of Iraq – I still think it was a good idea (despite making a mess of it)… But our governments and we need to be truthful about the actual human costs of liberation (or rather the costs of liberation with a poor après-liberation strategy). As somebody said apparently 50,000 French civilians died in the weeks around D-day and you’ll find few French people today wishing D-day didn’t happen. Hopefully Iraqis will feel the same way in 10 years time…..

Tricam.
 

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