100,000 down. How many more to go?

I became aware of this story last night. 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed by violent means since the invasion began. It seems that the number excludes Fallujah, and the count may actually be closer to 200,000 if Fallujah is included. Just to get a sense of that loss, visit this post. Iraq Body Count all of a sudden looks like a conservative website telling us how wonderful things are in Iraq.

4 thoughts on “100,000 down. How many more to go?

  1. I read this story in the Baltimore Sun, including comments from academics at Hopkins (it was a study designed at Hopkins, but conducted by Iraqis). The tragedy of Iraq continues. However, when I first read it, I wondered about the reference that most of the victims have been women and children. That last point sounds like propaganda, although it would still be terrible if all the victims were men. So if we were to arbitrarily cut the figure in half to account for outright politically motivated lying (the Left is as unprincipled as the Right), we’re still left with the terrible figure of 50,000 civilian deaths. One might argue that 50,000 is probably a fraction of the deaths that Saddam would have caused in the next decade, but Saddam shouldn’t be our yardstick.

  2. Here’s a breakdown of the Slate analysis:
    I’m not enough of a statistician to know what the data means. Assume we go with Iraq Body Count, deaths measured as reported in news outlets (you can read more of their methodology on their site), the larger question remains: Have we done a net positive in terms of Iraqi lives lost? (I will say again, getting rid of Saddam was a good, my challenge is to the manner in which we did it.)

  3. Well, the Crooked Timber view has its issues, doesn’t it? Quote:
    “This isn’t an estimate. It’s a dart board”. The critique here, from Slate, is that the 95% confidence interval for the estimate of excess deaths (8,000 to 200,000) is so wide that it’s meaningless. It’s wrong. Although there are a lot of numbers between 8,000 and 200,000, one of the ones that isn’t is a little number called zero. That’s quite startling. One might have hoped that there was at least some chance that the Iraq war might have had a positive effect on death rates in Iraq. But the confidence interval from this piece of work suggests that there would be only a 2.5% chance of getting this sort of result from the sample if the true effect of the invasion had been favourable.
    * * *
    The important thing as far as I’m concerned is the position of zero in the confidence interval; it seems very unlikely indeed that the process described could have given this sample if it was not the case that the invasion had made the death rate in Iraq worse rather than better. And this conclusion of the study is basically unchallenged.
    All of Crooked Timber’s bluster comes down to the conclusion that the US caused more civilian deaths than would have occured without the invasion. Duh. For this we need mathematics? Of course not, but for the political hay of counting dead bodies, we need mathematics and a healthy dollop of misinformation.
    I agree with you that we have not done a net positive by the invasion. We can also ask whether the American deaths was worth what we have in Iraq now. For me, the answer to that is no. I opposed this war from the start, and I oppose it now. Iraq is a basket-case, and will stay that way for a long time to come. There is no good thing we can do either by staying or leaving. So I vote for leaving, and preferably well before my 7-yr old son is old enough to be sent to guard duty in Baghdad.
    Lest I be taken for a peacenik, which I’m not, I’ll add that I met a new neighbor whose husband is in Afghanistan. Unlike Iraq, we were attacked by Afghanistan (whether by the unrepresentative Talibs or their patron, UBL, makes no difference to me). The Afghan war, even botched as it was by GWB, is a just war.

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