The Morning Star: Disputing Iraq Body Count Figures by Felicity Arbuthnot

by Felicity Arbuthnot
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
crossposted at
29 August, 2010

The Editor,
The Morning Star

Your lead article (“The Deaths that Chilcot Forgot”, 28th August*) regarding the Iraq Body Count statistics on Iraqi deaths since the 2003 invasion, makes the point that “… the true figure is expected to be much higher.”

The IBC figure of 106,000 deaths, are, in fact, risible. At the upper end of Iraq mortality, resultant from the US/UK-led onslaught, is the 2006 Lancet study citing 655,000 deaths (2003-2006.) The World Health Organisation estimated an upper figure of 223,000 (March 2003-June 2006) stating a real possibility of underestimate, due to “high levels of insecurity” making some areas inaccessible, added to many people moving around to escape conflict. “… in the absence of comprehensive death registration and hospital reporting, household surveys are the best we can do”, stated co-author Mohamed Ali, a WHO statistician.The death toll, never the less, they recorded, was: “massive.” The revised ORB figure (Jan 2008) states (March 2003- August 2007) ” is likely to have been of the order of 1,033,000.” Allowing for a margin of error, upper figure “could be 1,120,000.”

During 2006-2007, the central morgue in Baghdad alone reported receiving an average of 3000 bodies a month, with more, some months, in orders of magnitude. Thus, one morgue alone, taking the 3000 figures, equals 72,000. During the worst of the fighting in Najaf, bodies were reported buried in hotel and hospital car parks, in their hundreds, it being too unsafe to venture to the cemetary. In Falluja, whole football pitches became grave yards.

Given that the UN cites a million widows since 2003, that surely means a million dead men. And between three and five million orphans – the sums are truly holocaustal.

When the then US Ambassador to the UN., Madeleine Albright stated on “60 Minutes”, in May 1996, that half a million children had died of “embargo-related causes”, that figure stayed, year after woeful year, at half a million. Yet children were dying at an average of 6,000 a month, never to be acknowledged. IBC seem to be repeating this pattern with invasion-related deaths.

“One owes respect to the living; but to the dead one owes nothing but the truth”, wrote Voltaire. Indeed. For what must be numbers of genocidal proportions, it is incumbent on the living, to at least offer honesty to those killed in our name, in an illegal invasion.

Felicity Arbuthnot

5 thoughts on “The Morning Star: Disputing Iraq Body Count Figures by Felicity Arbuthnot

  1. Pingback: The British Military in Iraq: A Legacy of War Crimes and Atrocities by Felicity Arbuthnot « Dandelion Salad

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