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Dead Iraqis: Better OFF After Saddam?


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Scientists estimate 100,000 Iraqis may have died in war far more than previous estimates

By Emma Ross, Associated Press, 10/28/2004 15:33

 

LONDON (AP) A survey of deaths in Iraqi households estimates that as many as 100,000 more people may have died throughout the country in the 18 months since the U.S.-led invasion than would be expected based on the death rate before the war.

 

There is no official figure for the number of Iraqis killed since the conflict began, but some non-governmental estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000. As of Wednesday, 1,081 U.S. servicemen had been killed, according to the U.S. Defense Department.

 

The scientists who wrote the report concede that the data they based their projections on were of ''limited precision,'' because the quality of the information depends on the accuracy of the household interviews used for the study. The interviewers were Iraqi, most of them doctors.

 

Designed and conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University and the Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, the study is being published Thursday on the Web site of The Lancet medical journal.

 

The survey indicated violence accounted for most of the extra deaths seen since the invasion, and airstrikes from coalition forces caused most of the violent deaths, the researchers wrote in the British-based journal.

 

''Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children,'' they said.

 

The report was released just days before the U.S. presidential election, and the lead researcher said he wanted it that way. The Lancet routinely publishes papers on the Web before they appear in print, particularly if it considers the findings of urgent public health interest.

 

Those reports then appear later in the print issue of the journal. The journal's spokesmen said they were uncertain which print issue the Iraqi report would appear in and said it was too late to make Friday's issue, and possibly too late for the Nov. 5 edition.

 

Les Roberts, the lead researcher from Johns Hopkins, said the article's timing was up to him.

 

''I emailed it in on Sept. 30 under the condition that it came out before the election,'' Roberts told The Asocciated Press. ''My motive in doing that was not to skew the election. My motive was that if this came out during the campaign, both candidates would be forced to pledge to protect civilian lives in Iraq.

 

''I was opposed to the war and I still think that the war was a bad idea, but I think that our science has transcended our perspectives,'' Roberts said. ''As an American, I am really, really sorry to be reporting this.''

 

Richard Peto, an expert on study methods who was not involved with the research, said the approach the scientists took is a reasonable one to investigate the Iraq death toll.

 

However, it's possible that they may have zoned in on hotspots that might not be representative of the death toll across Iraq, said Peto, a professor of medical statistics at Oxford University in England.

 

Lancet editor Richard Horton wrote in an editorial accompanying the survey that more household clusters would have improved the precision of the report, ''but at an enormous and unacceptable risk to the team of interviewers.''

 

''This remarkable piece of work represents the efforts of a courageous team of scientists,'' he wrote.

 

To conduct the survey, investigators visited 33 neighborhoods spread evenly across the country in September, randomly selecting clusters of 30 households to sample. Of the 988 households visited, 808, consisting of 7,868 people, agreed to participate. Each group At each one they asked how many people lived in the home and how many births and deaths there had been since January 2002.

 

The scientists then compared death rates in the 15 months before the invasion with those that occurred during the 18 months after the attack and adjusted those numbers to account for the different time periods.

 

Even though the sample size appears small, this type of survey is considered accurate and acceptable by scientists and was used to calculate war deaths in Kosovo in the late 1990s.

 

The investigators worked in teams of three. Five of the six Iraqi interviewers were doctors and all six were fluent in English and Arabic.

 

In the households reporting deaths, the person who died had to be living there at the time of the death and for more than two months before to be counted. In an attempt at firmer confirmation, the interviewers asked for death certificates in 78 households and were provided them 63 times.

 

There were 46 deaths in the surveyed households before the war. After the invasion, there were 142 deaths. That is an increase from 5 deaths per 1,000 people per year to 12.3 per 1,000 people per year more than double.

 

However, more than a third of the post-invasion deaths were reported in one cluster of households in the city Fallujah,

 

where fighting has been most intense recently. Because the fighting was so severe there, the numbers from that location may have exaggerated the overall picture.

 

When the researchers recalculated the effect of the war without the statistics from Fallujah, the deaths end up at 7.9 per 1,000 people per year still 1.5 times higher than before the war.

 

Even with Fallujah factored out, the survey ''indicates that the death toll associated with the invasion and occupation of Iraq is more likely than not about 100,000 people, and may be much higher,'' the report said.

 

The most common causes of death before the invasion of Iraq were heart attacks, strokes and other chronic diseases. However, after the invasion, violence was recorded as the primary cause of death and was mainly attributed to coalition forces with about 95 percent of those deaths caused by bombs or fire from helicopter gunships.

 

Violent deaths defined as those brought about by the intentional act of others were reported in 15 of the 33 clusters. The chances of a violent death were 58 times higher after the invasion than before it, the researchers said.

 

Twelve of the 73 violent deaths were not attributed to coalition forces. The researchers said 28 children were killed by coalition forces in the survey households. Infant mortality rose from 29 deaths per 1,000 live births before the war to 57 deaths per 1,000 afterward.

 

The researchers estimated the nationwide death toll due to the conflict by subtracting the preinvasion death rate from the post-invasion death rate and multiplying that number by the estimated population of Iraq 24.4 million at the start of the war. Then that number was converted to a total number of deaths by dividing by 1,000 and adjusting for the 18 months since the invasion.

 

''We estimate that there were 98,000 extra deaths during the postwar period in the 97 percent of Iraq represented by all the clusters except Fallujah,'' the researchers said in the journal.

 

''This isn't about individual soldiers doing bad things. This appears to be a problem with the approach to occupation in Iraq,'' Roberts said.

 

The researchers called for further confirmation by an independent body such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, or the World Health Organization.

 

The study was funded by the Center for International Emergency Disaster and Refugee Studies at Johns Hopkins University and by the Small Arms Survey in Geneva, Switzerland, a research project based at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

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>Bush should be tried for war crimes. Even if you split the

>difference between the Bush administration's numbers and this

>repot, it is absolutely criminal.

 

The only thing criminal, is thinking that, regardless of the justifications or lack thereof, for the U.S. involvement in Iraq, that there are people who are so full of vitriol, that they lose all faculties of reasoning and advocate trying the President of the U. S. as a war criminal!

 

Just what actions, has GWB done that even remotely could be construed as war crimes?

 

How do such actions, if you can cite them, not justify the similar prosecutions against every other president of the U. S. in the 20th century?

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Since you are unaware of the basic principle which govern International Law in this respect, I shall bave to quote the following. These are Prinicple VI of the Nuremburg Principles.

 

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under; international law:

 

 

1. Crimes against peace:

1. Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

2. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

 

2. War crimes:

Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or illtreatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

 

3. Crimes against humanity:

Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.

 

http://deoxy.org/wc/wc-nurem.htm

 

The declaration of war on Iraq by Bush is a clear violation of VI 1.1 in that under the UN Charter, the only circumstances in which war can be declared is either by specific authority of the Security Council (which, despite Bush's weasel words was not given) or in response to an imminent or actual attack. There is also evidence that he was actively planning war regardless of any actions taken by the Iraqis, despite his statements at the time.

 

Bush's 2003 SOTUS and the evidence provided to Congress in support of the Resolution to permit Bush to declare war are now known to be false, exaggerations and deceits. As President Bush knew or should have known the information that was being presented as true, verified and certain was in fact false, based on limited unreliable sources and hedged about by reservations from the professional analysists. Bush is either guilty of this or if he was indeed ignorant of the facts is unfit for office by reason of his incompetence.

 

Bagram, Gitmo Bay and Abu Ghraib are evidence of violations of the second Principle. The "Laws and Customs" of war include the Geneva Conventions which Bush has subverted and ignore. There is also evidence that persons are being forcibly moved by the USA from one country to third counties where they have been tortured by regimes prepared to engage in these practices. As Commander In Chief and Head of Government, Bush bears ultimate responsibility for these actions.

 

The Geneva Conventions also require that "occupying powers" safeguard the civilian population of occupied countries. This clearly did not happen, mostly because of the imeptitude of the Provisional Authority and the Army and the failure to provide enough soldiers to do that job.

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Is this the best you can come up with?

 

"The declaration of war on Iraq by Bush is a clear violation of VI 1.1 in that under the UN Charter, the only circumstances in which war can be declared is either by specific authority of the Security Council (which, despite Bush's weasel words was not given) or in response to an imminent or actual attack. There is also evidence that he was actively planning war regardless of any actions taken by the Iraqis, despite his statements at the time."

 

Since when has the U.S. or any other country needed "permission" from the UN Security Council to engage in war? I don't recall the US going to the UN to get permission to get involved in Vietnam (which was a lot less likely to launch an attack against the US) nor the Soviet Union doing so to get involved in Afghanistan or indeed, Great Britain doing so to get involved in the Falklands.

 

Conclusion: no one obviously gives the UN much if any credence, and Bush's actions in Iraq are just the latest example of that.

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The U.S. is a founding member and a signatory to the U.N. Charter. The U.N. was founded after World War II to provide a forum for the resolution of differences and to avoid other wars. Presumably the U.S. believed in the principles of the U.N. when it was founded and when it became a member.

 

The U.N. doesn't have to give "permission" for the U.S. to go to war, but its principles lay down the circumstances in which it permissible to go to war in a way that will allow other countries to legitimately support us. Neither in Vietnam nor in Iraq did we follow those principles, which is why we were and are largely alone in those fights. For that matter, we were never legally "at war" in Vietnam or in Iraq. Only Congress can declare war, and it didn't do that in either case. So I guess you could say that makes Congress complicit in American actions that are gross violations of international law. But Congress just went along with what Johnson and Bush wanted -- they were the initiators of the military actions in Vietnam and Iraq.

 

As for "war criminal," if the definition fits, wear it. The U.S. is a party to many of the relevant conventions, and is bound by them. Consitutional lawyers can tell you that international treaties, duly signed by the President and approved by the Senate, are part of the supreme law of the land, along with the Constitution. So if Bush violated one of those treaties, he and his "helpers" may indeed be subject to trial, either in the U.S. or in another jurisdiction that also is a party to the treaties.

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"As for "war criminal," if the definition fits, wear it. The U.S. is a party to many of the relevant conventions, and is bound by them. Consitutional lawyers can tell you that international treaties, duly signed by the President and approved by the Senate, are part of the supreme law of the land, along with the Constitution. So if Bush violated one of those treaties, he and his "helpers" may indeed be subject to trial, either in the U.S. or in another jurisdiction that also is a party to the treaties."

 

Well, so far, I don't see where GWB fits the definition of "war criminal" and as such he does not have to wear it.

 

Am I wrong, or did the US refuse to sign the world court treaty? Since the US did not sign it, the US and it's president are not bound by the terms of that treaty. At least GWB, did one smart thing in his administration!

 

As an American, the last thing I would desire is for a bunch of second rate, one time world powers, who give in to terrorist threats/actions (ala Spain) to sit in judgment of America and hold it up to their standards of cowardly capitulation.

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>Since when has the U.S. or any other country needed

>"permission" from the UN Security Council to engage in war? I

>don't recall the US going to the UN to get permission to get

>involved in Vietnam (which was a lot less likely to launch an

>attack against the US) nor the Soviet Union doing so to get

>involved in Afghanistan or indeed, Great Britain doing so to

>get involved in the Falklands.

 

The Korean War was fought by the US in the name of the United Nations. The US entered Vietnam and the Russians Afghanistan at the invitiation of the then governments, even if they were both client or subservient to those two countries. The Falklands was a response to an armed invasion by the Argentinians

 

 

>

>Conclusion: no one obviously gives the UN much if any

>credence, and Bush's actions in Iraq are just the latest

>example of that.

>

 

If the UN has no credence, why do Bush and the Neocons constantly quote Saddam's violation of Security Council resolutions as reasons for invasion? Why was Colin Powell sent to make a case for action?

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>Am I wrong, or did the US refuse to sign the world court

>treaty? Since the US did not sign it, the US and it's

>president are not bound by the terms of that treaty. At least

>GWB, did one smart thing in his administration!

>

You are wrong. As signatory to the Unitied Nations Charter, the USA is subject to the jurisdiction of the World Court or the "International Court of Justice" as it is more properly known. Further, it has taken several cases to it as complainant.

>

>

>As an American, the last thing I would desire is for a bunch

>of second rate, one time world powers, who give in to

>terrorist threats/actions (ala Spain) to sit in judgment of

>America and hold it up to their standards of cowardly

>capitulation.

 

The USA is also subject to the jursidiction of other international systems, most motably the World Trade Organisation. It has certainly had no compunction in taking cases to it, usually to the benefit of large companies and the detriment of small countries.

 

I presume you think you are referring to the International Criminal Court which is the treaty to which the USA, Israel and if I remember correctly China are the only non-signatories. This is surprising for the US as it's legal system is sufficient to ensure that, if applied, no case need to be brough to what is a court of last resort. The fact that Bush could be impeached and convicted of High Crimes and Misdemeanors in respect of his actions during the lead-up to war and the fighting, even after he leaves office, would make the jurisdiction of the ICC moot.

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"I presume you think you are referring to the International Criminal Court which is the treaty to which the USA, Israel and if I remember correctly China are the only non-signatories. This is surprising for the US as it's legal system is sufficient to ensure that, if applied, no case need to be brough to what is a court of last resort. The fact that Bush could be impeached and convicted of High Crimes and Misdemeanors in respect of his actions during the lead-up to war and the fighting, even after he leaves office, would make the jurisdiction of the ICC moot."

 

Yes, that is what I was referring to. Isn't it amazing that the 3 biggest military, economically sound countries, who provide handouts to all the others, are the very 3 that refused to sign that piece of garbage?

 

Nothing should be surprising about that. In case you haven't noticed, as far as the US goes, the very opinion of the UN itself is moot. If some other country doesn't like it, then I would suggest they come over here and try to arrest the American president, and see what the reaction will be. Is that an ugly attitude? Probably, but reality is often ugly.

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>Yes, that is what I was referring to. Isn't it amazing that

>the 3 biggest military, economically sound countries, who

>provide handouts to all the others, are the very 3 that

>refused to sign that piece of garbage?

 

 

MMM let's see, Despite having most of its adult population undergo compulsory military sevice, Israel has been thrown out of Lebanon and is abandoning its settlements in Gaza because it is unable to protect the illegal occupation sites. As for economic soundness, it is almost entirely dependent on Palestinians who they have now all but excluded from working. It is only sustained by the US making its largest foreign aid donations to them.

 

China's economic success has been built on the back of slave labor in factories run by the Red Army. Tying their currency to the Dollar has of course been a master move on their part as it has enabled it to take jobs from Americans and then export the results back. If Wal Mart were a country, its Chinese trade would make it the largest importer in the world. This has meant real growth in the main cities although the ruran hinterland is still empoverished. Still, their growth has driven up demand for fuel to a point where a couple of severe storms in the Gulf of Mexico cripples the US oil industry.

 

At least China can successfully occupy another country and retain it under control as it has in Tibet for decades. I am amazed that you still have the delusion that the USA is an effective military power. In case you have not noticed, the numbers of troops in Iraq from the poodle governments is rather more than the number of US forces left in Afghanistan. It's impossible for the USA to conduct any major operations in another country - you already have to call up reservists who are alomost eligble for Social Security. To conduct the operation in Fallujah, Bush has had to beg Blair to move 600 British to the outskirts of Baghdad.

 

Posturing againt Syria, Iran and other countries is frankly just laughed at. Saddam may be in jail but his tactics have won. All you have to do is let your army melt into the population and conduct a guerilla war. The Pentagon planners are so incompetent that the transport aircraft designed for the new policy of having home based rapid response forces are unable to carry the new ground vehicles if they are fully loaded. Missile defence systems barely work against highly sophisticated guided incoming warheads and not the crude missile which are the most likely threa. Even then you are dependent on pliant countries willing to house the radar systems.

 

Yet all these useless toys cost your country so much that they will not be paid for until the end of the century. Bush is racking up debts over over $1000 a year for each American. The brutal truth for you isthat the USA is at the start of the long decline that will relegate it to a "second rate, one time world power". Right now the US is maybe roughtly where the British and French empires were in the second decade of the last century although arguably it might be closer to their situations in the late 1940s.

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