Saturday, May 14, 2005
On this day:

So How Many Iraqis Died During the Invasion?

Many liberals will tell you that the number of dead in Iraq is around 100,000. Such a clean and horrifying number, no? Except the 100,000 figure was based on a survey of 1,000 households. Always sounded fishy to me. The U.N. recently released a report of its own, surveying 21,600 households, and the number of deaths are significantly lower than anti-war zealots would have you believe. The Times: Iraqis soldier on without power, water, jobs, sewers
The survey for the UN Development Programme, entitled Iraq Living Conditions Survey 2004, questioned more than 21,600 households this time last year. Its findings, released by the Ministry of Planning yesterday, could finally resolve the debate over how many Iraqis were killed in the war that overthrew the regime of Saddam Hussein in April 2003. The 370-page report said that it was 95 per cent confident that the toll during the war and the first year of occupation was 24,000, but could have been between 18,000 and 29,000. About 12 per cent of those were under 18. The figure is far lower than the 98,000 deaths estimated in The Lancet last October, which said that it had interviewed nearly 1,000 households. But it is far higher than other figures. [...] “If you compare this to the situation in the 1980s, you will see a major deterioration,” said Barham Salih, the Iraqi Planning Minister, who described life for Iraqis as tragic. The report highlighted falling standards of education and healthcare, which had been among the highest in the Arab world but were now among the lowest. The number of Iraqi mothers who die in labour reached 93 in every 100,000 births, compared with 14 in Jordan and 32 in Saudi Arabia. Mr Salih said that the condition of his country was particularly tragic given its huge oil wealth and access to water. He insisted that the blame lay with Saddam’s regime, which had embarked on two wars against its neighbours, persecuted its population and provoked sanctions. “Undeniably, from the perspective of many, the former regime’s aggressive policies, its wars, its repression and mismanagement of the economy are an important part of why we are here today,” he said.
Regardless of the number, and tragic as such deaths are, look first to the root the problem: Saddam Hussein. Remember him? Thanks to Tim Blair.