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shady stats article

Dear friends,

Marsden's article seems to me to be nothing more than a paper-thin piece of
pro-sanctions propaganda.
Certainly, the 'World Bank' figure cited by Mr Marsden for Iraq's 1990
infant mortality rate is not just 'shady', it's absurd.

Marsden claims that the 'the latest World Bank estimates, also derived from
Iraqi sources, show a slight fall in the IMR to 101 in 1999 from 102 in
1990.' This 102 figure is certainly out by at least 100%!

For an extended discussion of pre-1990 child and infant mortality see
Richard Garfield's March '99 paper, 'Morbidity and Mortality Among Iraqi
Children from 1990 Through 1998: Assessing the Impact of the Gulf War and
Economic Sanctions' (available on the CASI web-site:
Garfield notes that 'Infant mortality during the period from 1987 through
1990 likely continued [the previous] downward trend and was in the range of
35 to 40 per thousand.'

If Marsden's 'World Bank' IMR figure is anything to go by we can safely
ignore the rest of the 'World Bank' figures cited by Mr Marsden.

It is highly revealing that Marsden's article makes no reference to the
August 1999 UNICEF / IMOH survey on child mortality rates, or Garfield's
work - the obvious sources for anyone interested in gauging the scale of the
current humanitarian crisis - but instead chooses to focus on a 1996 WHO
report, which did indeed reproduce Iraqi figures.

UNICEF took great care to ensure that their 1999 surveys could not simply be
dismissed as propaganda (see for example UNICEF's document 'UNICEF:
Questions and Answers for the Iraq child mortality surveys', 16th August
1999, again available on the CASI web-site) and no serious commentator has
questioned the validity of these surveys. They showed that during the period
1989 - 1999 infant mortality rates had risen from 47 per 1000 live births
[note that this is slightly higher than Garfield's estimate] to 108 per 1000
live births.

Best wishes,


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