Iraq War Casualties Mount

The Times in the UK ran this story this evening, and I must say it has depressed me. Not because it hurts Kerry's campaign; it doesn't. I'm sad because I think of how many people are dying because Bush is a pompous ass:

MORE than 100,000 civilians have died as a result of the allied invasion of Iraq in March last year, the first study of mortality in the country claims today.

The research, conducted in Iraq last month by a team of American and Iraqi researchers, will be published on the online edition of The Lancet, the medical journal.

It suggests that most civilian deaths have been due to military activity, with those caused by violence rising sharply in recent months.

The figures far exceed all previous estimates. Their publication just five days before the US presidential election are bound to cause controversy by reinforcing the impression that events are out of control.

The latest estimates by a group of British academics called Iraq Bodycount, which compiles figures from witness accounts and media reports, put the number of civilian deaths at between 14,160 and 16,289.

The British and American militaries keep records of casualties among their own troops, but neither attempts to count how many civilians have been killed. Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, has used an estimate of 10,000.

The Ministry of Defence was sceptical about the findings. “No figures that are produced are reliable at this stage,” a spokesman told The Times. “The Ministry of Health in Iraq has only started to collate casualty figures in the last six months.

“Our rules of engagement are very strict and we only use lethal force where absolutely necessary and do what we can to avoid civilian casualties.”

The report was compiled by a team led by Les Roberts, a public health expert from the Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. They surveyed clusters of households in 33 regions of the country. They then compared civilian mortality rates before and after the invasion.

Statisticians who have analysed the data said last night that the scientists’ methodology was strong and the civilian death count could well be conservative. They said that the work effectively disproved suggestions by US authorities that civilian bodycounts were impossible to conduct.

In coming to a total of 100,000 civilian deaths, the team excluded Fallujah, where two thirds of the violent deaths recorded have occurred.

Experts said that including this area, where collecting data remains highly dangerous, would push the total number of civilian deaths much higher.

Dr Roberts told The Times last night that the death toll from bombing suggested a pressing need to alter air strike strategies.

“We can say with absolute confidence that both mortality and violent deaths have gone way up,” he said.

“Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 deaths or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Look, they can be off on their numbers. But if it's even close to 100,000 and people somehow believe this was the "right war" or the "right way" to go about it, they're just freaking looney. Americans lost in the war have exceeded 1,000, but that number just pales in comparison. Now is our time. Armed with evidence to support the explosives story and this type of information, Bush can be out of the race by Saturday. Spread the word, my brethren.
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