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Re: [casi] Any post-invasion estimates of impact on the Iraqis?

Supplementary to Dan's post ---

It may be worth knowing that CIVIC is, according to the following news item,
the brainchild of a single US woman, Marla Ruzicka, and that she is (was?)
in need of funds...

I THINK I found the item below on yahoo news, but like an idiot I have lost
the source etails. Perhaps it has been posted to the list before, in which
case could someone remind us? Or if anyone has had any personal contact with
Ms Ruzicka, perhaps they could confirm this account?

Andrew Goreing


At Death¹s Door
American Woman Travels Door to Door to Count Iraqi Casualties

By David Wright

B A G H D A D, Iraq, May 28‹ The Pentagon keeps a precise count of U.S.
casualties in the war in Iraq. But the question of how many Iraqis lost
their lives remains as mysterious as the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein or
the location of all those weapons of mass destruction.

Marla Ruzicka, 26, from the San Francisco Bay Area, has been in Baghdad
since the day Saddam's statue fell in the city center. She has been doing a
headcount of the Iraqi injured and the dead. She's found more than she

She has formed her own nonprofit organization, called the Campaign for
Innocent Victims in Conflict, or CIVIC. She has organized 150 surveyors to
fan out across Iraq. So far, they say they have documented 620 civilian
deaths in Baghdad, 256 in Najaf, 425 in Karbala and as many as 1,100 in
Nasiriyah. It is only a preliminary count.

"Somewhere between 5,000 to 10,000 people died in this conflict," Ruzicka

Ruzicka's survey teams conduct their search door to door. On Saturday, she
visited the village of Rashidiya, a small farm town on the banks of the
Tigris River. On April 5, U.S. warplanes strafed the village, killing nearly
100 people. All of them were civilians.

In one house, 17-month-old Haider al Hamadi was the only member of his
family to escape unscathed. He lost his mother, his three sisters and two
brothers. His father survived, but lost three fingers.

In another home, 42 people in one extended family were killed. Many were
visiting from Baghdad in an effort to keep their children safe from the

"Each number represents a case, a need, represents a father, a mother, a
loss of life," she said.

Her Own Cause

Ruzicka does not represent the U.S. government. She's not affiliated with
any big relief agency. She is a lone peace activist who has taken it upon
herself to help the civilian victims of war.

It is a difficult process, in part because there continue to be casualties
almost every day. But there is still no official tally of how many Iraqi
lives were lost ‹ military or civilian. Iraq's military kept all records
secret. And the civilian documents are unreliable.

Each hospital keeps a handwritten book of the dead. There is no master list.
And the hospital records are in disarray after the flood of casualties
during the war, and the looters who came after.

Cemeteries are poorly marked. Many burials were not documented at all. And
it is difficult to tell the military from the civilian dead because of the
tactics Saddam's forces employed during the war: dressing in civilian
clothes, staging in civilian neighborhoods, putting civilian lives at risk.

"It takes time, that's why we cant give you a number today or tomorrow,"
said Ruzicka. "Our goal beyond getting assistance to the innocent families
that are harmed is to get a proper accounting of war."

Offering Condolences

It is painstaking work, meeting one on one with people whose lives have been

Ruzicka's task started in Amman, Jordan, two months ago. She attended the
funeral of the man believed to be the first civilian casualty in this war ‹
a Jordanian taxi driver killed the first night of bombing. While the U.S.
ambassador sent a letter, she was the only American to personally offer
condolences to the grieving family.

Now, every day, she meets with new victims, in sessions that often seem like
group therapy.

"Yes, a number is important," she said, "but it's not as important as making
sure that we recognize that each number is a life. Ultimately, we can get
them long-term medical care. We can get their homes rebuilt and possibly ‹
it's a hard possibility ‹ but what we're working or is some economic

Fighting for Compensation

The U.S. military says it does everything it can to ensure that innocent
civilians don't get caught in the crossfire. But mistakes happen; war is
messy. Ruzicka's ultimate goal is to win compensation for these people,
which is no easy task.

The only real precedent for compensating civilian casualties comes from
Afghanistan, and Ruzicka helped to make it happen by successfully lobbying
the U.S. Congress to help innocent victims of that war.

In Afghanistan, Ruzicka's survey confirmed 824 civilian deaths ‹ although
she believes at least double that number died in the U.S. campaign to oust
the Taliban and al Qaeda. She convinced Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to insert
language in an appropriations bill, allocating $3.75 million to help the
Afghan victims.

"Marla Ruzicka is somebody out there saying, 'Wait, everybody. Here's what's
really happening. You better know about this,' " said Leahy. "We have
whistle-blowers in industry. Maybe sometimes we need whistle-blowers in
foreign policy."

But in Iraq, one person, however determined, is bound to have trouble
getting the attention of the U.S. military, which has its hands full. Just
wading through the bureaucracy can take days.

Ruzicka is also chronically short on money. She now has $50 left in her bank
account, so she is applying for a grant from the U.S. Agency for
International Development. Until that comes through, she relies on the help
of her friends.

But while other aid agencies are still getting organized in Iraq, still
tentatively working out the difficult security situation, Ruzicka is already
out there, trying as much as one person can to help.  

Marla Ruzicka can be reached at Her Web site is:

on 26/6/03 7:18 pm, Daniel O'Huiginn at wrote:

> Yes, there doesn't seem to be a great deal about - I don't know how much
> that is a result of disinterest (!), and how much of the time needed to
> produce a decent account. One other organisation worth mentioning is
> CIVIC, the campaign for the innocent victims of conflict. They have a
> website at, but almost no information on it as
> yet. According to 'Salam Pax' (, they have around
> 150 volunteers collating casualty reports, and have counted at least 5000
> injuries and deaths in Baghdad, 1000 killed and 3000 injured in Nasariyah,
> and more elsewhere.  Probably worth giving them a call and seeing how much
> further they've got.
> Of course, all those are direct casualties. Indirect casualties, as I'm
> sure you all know, are far more numerous and harder to count.
> Dan O'Huiginn
> On Wed, 25 Jun 2003, nagy wrote:
>> Dear Colleagues,
>> I am mystified. Is it true that there have been NO studies on the impact of
>> the US invasion  of Iraq to match the splendid estimates of the impact, if
>> the
>> US did reinvade Iraq?
>> The closest to a good study I have seen (and it's excellent) is
>> 1) Is my hunch true?
>> 2) How can this be?
>> tom
>> p.s. hope I'm wrong and that people will post the urls that show I'm wrong.
>> Tom
>> Thomas J. Nagy, Ph.D.
>> Assoc. Prof. of Expert Systems
>> George Washington Univeristy Sch. of Business & Public Mgt.
>> Washington, D.C. 20052

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