Two years ago, a team of epidemiologists at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Heath in Baltimore published a study in the Lancet estimating that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq had led to approximately one hundred thousand excess deaths. While the study caused a storm of outrage among supporters of the war, its methodology and conclusions were generally regarded as robust and repeatable. The authors of the study have now done exactly that, repeating their sampling with a greater number of clusters. Their midpoint estimate for the number of excess deaths is now 655,000.
Six hundred and fifty-five thousand - that's 2.5% of the Iraqi population, dead due to America's war. Even the bottom of the confidence interval - 392,979 - is thirteen times higher than Bush's estimate of 30,000 dead, and more than twice as high as the estimated 182,000 killed in Saddam's Al-Anfal campaign of genocide against the Kurds, for which he is currently on trial. What does that suggest about the eventual fate of the architects of this obscene occupation?
(I am steadfastly Not Thinking about the top of the confidence interval. It doesn't top a million, but its certainly within reach).
Thanks to George Bush, 500 more Iraqis are dying a day than died under Saddam. 92% of them are dying due to violence, and 31% of those deaths are directly attributable to US forces. The rest is mostly gunshot wounds, car bombs, and other explosions (the researchers don't seem to have included a category for death squads). 500 a day. Maybe someone should start piling the skulls on the White House lawn?
For a war that was supposedly waged to help the Iraqi people, this has done precisely the opposite. "First, do no harm" is a basic principle of medicine. Maybe we should think about making it a principle of foreign policy too.