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Why is the New York Times silent on massive Iraq death toll?
The corporate-controlled American media is deliberately suppressing the results of a survey that demonstrates that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq has caused more than 600,000 deaths in the past three years—a figure that in and of itself refutes all the claims by the Bush administration that it carried out the invasion of Iraq in order to foster democracy in the Middle East. What kind of “freedom” and “human rights” can be the consequence of such a slaughter?
The major American media organizations—including the New York Times—published only brief reports on the study October 11. Taking their cue from President Bush, who declared the survey’s methodology faulty without offering any proof, the Times and other leading media outlets have dropped the subject. There have been no editorials in the Times, the Washington Post, or other major newspapers, nor any demands for a more serious response from the Bush administration.
There is no legitimate, scientific basis for rejecting the findings of this survey carried out under the auspices of Johns Hopkins, one of the leading US universities. Under the direction of epidemiologists at the college’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, Iraqi interviewers visited thousands of Iraqi families throughout the war-torn country. The sample size was huge: 12,801 individuals in 1,849 households, in a country of 26 million people. By comparison, the CBS-New York Times poll, whose findings receive regular front-page coverage in the Times, uses a sample of 800 to 2,000 people in a country of 300 million.
If President Bush were to declare at his next press conference that the opinion polls showing 60 percent or more of the population opposed to the war in Iraq are bogus, and based on a “flawed methodology,” the Times would presumably denounce such an accusation and demand the White House provide proof of the alleged poll-rigging.
Why is a similar standard not applied to the Johns Hopkins inquiry into the excess deaths in Iraq? Is it, perhaps, because these figures would implicate all those responsible for the US military intervention—including its media apologists—in killing on a scale that deserves to be called genocide?
During the week since the Johns Hopkins survey was published, the Times has found ample space to report on the affairs of the multimillionaire Astor family, the charges against a local high school teacher of having sex with a student, and countless other news items of even lesser weight. Yet it has had no room to follow up the findings of a study, carried out with a standard scientific method—a “cluster survey”—and published in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet.
As a number of public health professionals have explained in letters and blogs to leading newspapers like the Times itself and the Guardian in Great Britain, the most important data provided by the Hopkins survey is the enormous difference between the death rate reported by the surveyed families before and after the US invasion.
In the 18 months before the invasion, the more than 12,000 individuals reported 82 deaths, two of them by violence. In the 39 months since the invasion, this group saw 547 deaths, 300 of them by violence. The death rate in this surveyed group jumped from 0.7 percent to 2.5 percent, a rise of nearly 300 percent.