"We estimate that as of July, 2006, there have been 654 965 excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war, which corresponds to 2·5% of the population in the study area," said the study, conducted between May 20 and July 10, and published online Wednesday, October 11, by the British medical journal the Lancet.
"Of post-invasion deaths, 601,027 were due to violence, the most common cause being gunfire."
The study was conducted 10 by eight Iraqi physicians and overseen by Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health.
It surveyed 1,849 Iraqi families in 47 different neighborhoods across Iraq. The selection of geographical areas in 18 regions across Iraq was based on population size, not on the level of violence.
The study found a steady increase in "excess deaths" since the invasion, with a steeper rise in the last year that appears to reflect a worsening of violence.
"The number of people dying in Iraq has continued to escalate. The proportion of deaths ascribed to coalition forces has diminished in 2006, although the actual numbers have increased every year."
In the year ending in June, the team calculated Iraq's mortality rate to be roughly four times what it was the year before the war.
The study breaks down to about 15,000 violent deaths a month, a number that is quadruple the one for July given by Iraqi government hospitals and the morgue in Baghdad. That month was the highest for Iraqi civilian deaths since the invasion.
The new survey comes as fire is still blazing at a US base in Baghdad, known as Forward Operating Base Falcon.
The US army said this was caused by a mortar attack that triggered a series of massive explosions in an ammunition dump in the base.
The human rights office of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) warned in a report on September 21 that civilian torture and killing in Iraq is surging in an alarming daily rate in detention centers as well as by rampant sectarian-oriented militias across the country.
The study estimate is more than 20 times the estimate of 30,000 civilian deaths President George Bush gave in a speech in December.
It is also 10 times higher than the estimate of roughly 50,000 civilian deaths made by the British-based Iraq Body Count research group.
"I expect that people will be surprised by these figures," Sarah Leah Whitson, an official of Human Rights Watch in New York commented on the study to the Washington Post.
Whitson said that there was no reason to question the findings or the accuracy of the survey.
"I think it is very important that, rather than questioning them, people realize there is very, very little reliable data coming out of Iraq."
The Pentagon did not comment directly on the findings.
The Bush administration invaded Iraq in March 2003 on claims that it was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, an allegation refuted by a later US presidential report which said the administration made the case for war despite intelligence doubts and strong voices of dissent.
Source: IslamonlineGüncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16