Thursday, June 23, 2005

100,000 Civilian Deaths from Iraq War?

The British medical journal The Lancet [registration required; bypass it with BugMeNot] published a study indicating that there were about 100,000 civilian deaths in Iraq from the 2003 invasion and its aftermath. This number was then widely circulated.

Slate magazine subsequently published an article debunking the study's methods and conclusions. Absolutely read it. This Instapundit post has a debunking of that debunking and a debunking of the debunking's debunking. It's worth a look.

Fred Kaplan in that Slate article instead recommends the methods of the group Iraq Body Count. Their estimate is presently between 22434 to 25426. A great many of those, of course, are Iraqi civilians who have been killed by suicide bombers, car bombers, shootings and other terrorist actions. Those are not from the guns or bombs of the U.S. or its allies. Some may want to place the blame there anyway, as those attacks occur in cirmstances resulting from our invasion. I disagree with that. Our military presence does not compel anyone to target civilians or, indeed, Iraqi policemen.

But even if you're determined to blame the U.S. for civilians killed by terrorists (some would say "insurgents"), it's at most about 25,000. That's obviously still a troubling number, though one deserving further scrutiny. But 100,000? No.

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