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New study says US war has killed 655,000 Iraqis
According to a study published Wednesday in the British medical journal the Lancet, the US invasion and occupation of Iraq are responsible for the deaths of an estimated 655,000 Iraqis.
The survey of Iraqi casualties was conducted by a team of Iraqi physicians under the direction of epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland.
The estimate of the researchers is more than 12 times the figure of 44,000 to 49,000 civilian deaths given by the British group Iraq Body Count, and nearly 22 times the figure of 30,000, “more or less,” mentioned by President Bush in a December 2005 press conference.
The number of estimated deaths of Iraqis since the invasion corresponds to 2.5 percent of the population of Iraq. A matching percentage of the US population of 300 million would be 7.5 million—nearly the entire population of New York City.
The number of 655,000 represents the “excess” deaths caused by the American invasion and occupation. This is the difference between the number of people killed since March 2003 and the number of deaths that would be expected on the basis of pre-war death rates.
Of the total number of war-related deaths, an estimated 600,000 died as a result of violence, including gun shots, car bombs and other explosive devices, and air strikes. An estimated 31 percent of these, or 186,000, are attributed by the study directly to coalition forces—that is, these Iraqis were killed by the American military or its allies. According to the study, gunshot wounds caused 56 percent of violent deaths—an extraordinarily high figure that points again to the direct role of the US military.