An authoritative new study of civilian casualties in the Iraq War shows that opponents of that conflict have wildly and consistently exaggerated its human costs.
Based on previously secret figures from the Iraqi Health Ministry, as well as numbers from the British Group “Iraq Body Count” and its own investigation of hospital records and death certificates, the Associated Press concluded that 110,600 Iraqis died since the beginning of the American Invasion. This contrasts with irresponsible and unscientific estimates from various sources that often put the casualties as ten times that high.
For instance, the best known previous estimate of Iraqi deaths came from a notoriously unreliable “household survey” conducted by investigators from Johns Hopkins University and published in the British medical Journal, “The Lancet”. It concluded that 601,027 Iraqis had perished by July, 2006. An even less credible survey, by the British marketing research company, Opinion Research Business, concluded that more than a million Iraqis had died (of a total population of 29 million) by August, 2007.
The new Associated Press report used previously undisclosed data from the Health Ministry, supplementing this total (87,215) with deaths reported from other sources. As reporter Kim Gamel explained: “The AP reviewed the Iraq Body Count analysis and confirmed its conclusions by sifting the data and consulting experts. The AP also interviewed experts involved with the previous studies, prominent Iraq analysts, and provincial and medical officials to determine that the new tally was credible.”
All this careful work yielded far more persuasive numbers than the hysterical reports always favored by the anti-war movement and deployed as part of its effort to depict the war as one of the great genocides of human history.