A new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, which has been examined and validated by four separate independent experts and published in The Lancet reveals that around 655,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion of their country in 2003. This figure represents 2.5% of Iraq’s entire population.
As a country that joined the ‘coalition of the willing’ (a term that has been truncated to ‘the coalition’) we have to acknowledge these deaths. Our government, and the people that voted for HoWARd, have to take some responsibility for their complicity in this catastrophe.
Unsurprisingly, this most recent Iraqi death toll has raised skepticism with HoWARd as he feels the figures are too high. HoWARd seems to accept the more palatable ~50,000 Iraq body count figure.
“It’s (655,000 Iraqi deaths since 2003) not plausible. It’s not based on anything other than a house-to-house survey. I think that’s absolutely precarious. It is an unbelievably large number and it’s out of whack with most of the other assessments that have been made.” -John HoWARd
HoWARd ran the same line in relation to the first study, when the figures were 100,000 in October 2004.
It seems that our PM and US President Bush are comfortable with 50,000 Iraqi deaths number. That figure, if correct still takes some explaining. We as Australians are so meek as to let HoWARd slip out of the spotlight of responsibility as he disputes the Iraqi-death figures. What if we ask him to justify the number he is comfortable with. I wonder what that number would be.
For all the commentators that think an exit strategy would be ‘cutting and running’ I would like to say ‘when in a hole stop digging.’
The data, anecdotes and commentary from the Lancet report are horrific enough, but the part that really left me beyond emotion was this statement:
“Entire households could have been killed, leading to survivor bias.”
Richard Horton the editor of the Lancet sums up all that can be salvaged from HoWARd the stupid, and his bellicose allies as they stay until the job is done.
“Health is now the most important foreign policy issue of our time. Health and wellbeing – their underpinning values, their diverse array of interventions and their goals of healing – offer several original dimensions for a renewed foreign policy that might at least be one positive legacy of our misadventure in Iraq.”
Image from here