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Email to EDP editor on Iraqi civilian deaths

 
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Ian



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 111
Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Email to EDP editor on Iraqi civilian deaths Reply with quote

Sent to Peter Waters, editor of the EDP (EDP@archant.co.uk). An edited version of this email was published on the letters page.


Dear Mr Waters

I was very concerned to read your recent editorial 'Leaving Iraq to an uncertain future' (Eastern Daily Press, 20 August 2010), which contained a serious factual inaccuracy about a very serious subject.

You write that the US and UK-led invasion and occupation of Iraq has led to "a toll of civilian deaths in Iraq that has been put as high as 106,000".

I presume the 106,000 figure you quote is from the organisation Iraq Body Count (http://www.iraqbodycount.org/). However, all the available evidence shows that the 106,000 figure estimated by Iraq Body Count is the +lowest+ estimate of civilian deaths in Iraq, not the highest. Iraq Body Count themselves noted in 2006: "We are providing a conservative cautious minimum." (http://www.iraqbodycount.org/analysis/qa/ibc-in-context/)

This shouldn't be surprising when you bear in mind their figure of Iraqi civilian deaths is derived from counting "all cases where at least two media sources report an incident causing one or several deaths" (Jonathan Steele and Suzanne Goldenberg, 'What is the real death toll in Iraq?', Guardian, 10 March 2008, 'http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/19/iraq). In 2007, the authors of the Lancet study (see below) noted "A study of 13 war affected countries presented at a recent Harvard conference found over 80% of violent deaths in conflicts go unreported by the press and governments" (Les Roberts and Gilbert Burnham, ‘Ignorance of Iraqi death toll no longer an option', Global Research, 22 September 2007, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6848).

In contrast, what is known as the 2006 Lancet Study estimated that 655,000 Iraqis had died due to the invasion and occupation of Iraq (Sarah Boseley, '655,000 Iraqis killed since invasion', Guardian, 11 October 2006, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/oct/11/iraq.iraq). Despite Government criticisms at the time, subsequently released documents show the Ministry of Defence's chief scientific adviser reported that the survey's methods were "close to best practice" and the study design "robust" (Owen Bennett-Jones, 'Iraqi deaths survey 'was robust', BBC News, 26 March 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6495753.stm).

In addition, in 2008 Opinion Research Business estimated over one million Iraqi had died due to the invasion (http://www.opinion.co.uk/Newsroom_details.aspx?NewsId=120).

Could you tell me why you quoted the Iraq Body Count figure as the highest estimate of civilian casualties? Were you aware of the Lancet and Opinion Research Business surveys when your wrote the editorial? If you were aware of the Lancet and Opinion Research Business surveys, why didn't you mention them?

The level of civilian casualties caused by the US and UK-led invasion is, of course, something the US and British Governments and armed forces are understandably keen to downplay. As the Eastern Daily Press fully supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 surely it is only fair the newspaper gives its readers an honest and accurate account of the effect the invasion and occupation has had on the civilian population of Iraq?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Ian Sinclair
Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:18 pm
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