One million dead in Iraq

Issue 

The polling company Opinion Research Business (ORB) has released detailed data confirming that the death toll from the Iraq war has exceeded 1 million people — more than the total number killed in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

The data is from a sample of 2400 face-to-face surveys throughout Iraq in which one in five people reported that at least one person from their household has been killed "as a result of the conflict". When compared with the results of the 1997 census — the last complete census in Iraq — the survey indicates that 1.03 million people have been killed.

The surveys also recorded the cause of death (and specifically excluded people who died of old age or other causes unrelated to the US occupation). Deaths as a result of gunshot was the single biggest cause of death at 40%. Deaths attributed to "sectarian violence" accounted for only 4% whereas double that number were killed by "aerial bombardment".

Since only the occupying armies have an air force, these latter deaths — 85,000 — can be attributed to no one else.

The data was collected from 112 unique sampling points in 15 of Iraq's 18 governorates. The three governorates where no data was collected are Karbala, Al Anbar and Irbil. The first two of these were excluded for reasons of interviewer safety; the third because local authorities refused permission.

"The net result of these exclusions — two areas of relatively high volatility since 2003 and one relatively stable — is that the casualty estimates reported are unlikely to overstate the actual figure", according to an ORB information sheet.

ORB had released similar data in September indicating that 1.2 million had been killed. The latest data is an adjustment to those figures and takes into account an additional 600 surveys in rural areas.

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