A million deaths is not correct
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 06:00 am
Doris Eisler misleads slightly when she asserts that the total death toll from "the 2003 assault on Iraq" to be "at least 1,000,000."
The source for this figure is not "reputable organizations;" it is drawn from the ORB survey, one of several studies that have attempted to map the human toll of the unjust and immoral Iraq war. The ORB study has been criticized for its inconsistencies and errant methods in peer-reviewed publications, and is generally regarded as being flawed and wildly inaccurate.
There have been seven significant studies of the human cost of the 2003 Iraq war, and only the ORB survey and the Lancet study have given figures in excess of 500,000. The remaining surveys all give casualty estimates between 100,000 and 200,000. The Iraq Body Count (IBC) project, an evidence-driven survey, estimates that as many as 125,529 Iraqi citizens have been killed by violent means since the 2003 war, for example. Researchers from PLoS Medicine analyzed IBC data in 2011, and concluded that only about 4,000 civilian casualties in Iraq could be attributed to coalition forces; the remainder were attributed either to Iraqi troops or "unknown" (read: terrorist) elements.
Mrs. Eisler also moves the goalposts (a logical fallacy; look it up) in citing the (admittedly tragic) outcomes of the sanctions levied against Iraq. After all, she began this discussion by citing "Western" "Christian" instigation of wars; sanctions are not a war.
That said, the estimate of 500,000 sanctions-related deaths is difficult to trust entirely, since it is principally derived from a study that the Iraqi government contributed to (meaning death tolls could have been inflated for propaganda purposes). And I'm sure that Mrs. Eisler is also aware that the major effects of the sanctions were felt in southern Iraq, wherein the sanctions were administered by the Iraqi government; in UN-administered northern (Kurdish) Iraq, mortality rates actually dropped during the same time period.
This should come as no surprise, of course; Saddam Hussein was a brutal, Baathist strongman who thought nothing of killing hundreds of thousands of his own people, or of using chemical weapons against Iraq's Kurdish minority. Indeed, compared to Hussein, Cuba's Batista was a relative moderate, so it's curious that Mrs. Eisler lauds the violent overthrow of the latter and not the former.
I don't dispute most of Mrs. Eisler's analysis of the current state of affairs in the Middle East; the west would do itself credit to part ways with the Saudis, Qataris, and Jordanians. Likewise, we have no ally in Syria, and Iran is arguably of concern only to Israel. But to assert that Western interests in this region are "in the name of Christ" is laughable. This is no Crusade; this is just the next phase of the ongoing proxy war between the U.S. and Russia (formerly the Soviet Union).
Mrs. Eisler needs to let her bigoted attitude towards Christians go.
Kenneth Kully, St. Albert