Saturday, October 14, 2006

Actively looking for deaths

Only when you go out and knock on the doors of families, actively looking for deaths, do you begin to get close to the right number. This method is now tried and tested. It has been the basis for mortality estimates in war zones such as Darfur and the Congo. Interestingly, when we report figures from these countries politicians do not challenge them. They frown, nod their heads and agree that the situation is grave and intolerable. The international community must act, they say. When it comes to Iraq the story is different. Expect the current government to mobilise all its efforts to undermine the work done by this American and Iraqi team. Expect the government to criticise the Lancet for being too political. Expect the government to do all it can to dismiss this story and wash its hands of its responsibility to take these latest findings seriously.
Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, on the midrange estimate of 650,000 deaths as a result of the Iraq invasion.

Was this the first trillion dollar plus "minor" war.

P.S. 15 Oct: Paul Reynolds notes Huge gap in Iraqi death estimates.

P.P.S. 15 Oct: How army chief staged no 10 ambush
Those soft edges became razor sharp, leaving Blair little option but to claim last Friday that he agreed with 'every' word Dannatt had told Radio 4 in his interview. That meant that the Prime Minister actually believed the presence of British troops was exacerbating the violence in parts of Iraq; that the army risked being broken by the conflict and that the whole debate over withdrawal was not really news. Not even Blair's most trusted lieutenants thought that Blair believed that.

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