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Re: [casi] After oil for food -- Counting indirect casualties

Hi Mark,

When Denis Halliday decided to resign in 1998, the WHO administrator quietly
took him aside and said, "Look, you can say with complete confidence 5,000 to
6,000 children are dying each month due to sanctions"  (an estimate reinforced
by UNICEF's 1999 survey).

Mortality rates vary, however, and the 5-6,000 estimate was made at a time when
sanctions effects were at their worse.  Most observers believe that mortality
rates fell in following years as Oil-for-Food revenue restrictions were removed
(a credit to Halliday's campaigning).

That said, there are no comparable death estimates for Iraq today.  Several
should be forthcoming, however.

Indirect deaths such as you describe ('deaths due to the damage done to Iraq's
infrastructure and the removal of its government and institutions') are derived
from epidemiological analysis of field surveys.  They are calculated as "excess
deaths" in the difference between an observed death rate vs. an expected,
historical population baseline.

IraqBodyCount (the gold-standard for aggregating direct civilian casualties)
lists two promised studies on the indirect effects of this conflict:

>> The charity MedAct has announced a study titled, "The short, medium and
long-term health effects of war on Iraq"

>> Sarah Sewall of Harvard's Carr Center has announced a study, " A study on
civilian suffering in war" (though it appears annecdotal, not statistical).

See for more details.

I suspect that more studies will be forthcoming, though probably not from the
U.S. government.  Recall the study of the 1991 war by U.S. census researcher
Beth Osborne Daponte ("13,000 civilians were killed directly by American and
allied forces, and about 70,000 civilians died subsequently from war-related
damage to medical facilities and supplies, the electric power grid, and the
water system").  Osborne's subsequent difficulties are recounted here:

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA


Mark Parkinson wrote:

I was surprised that this hadn't been picked up on this List. At the end of
August I asked the following:

"During the sanctions, a working figure of 5000 dead children a month was used
(or 8000 of all ages). Does anyone have an idea of whether the number of deaths
has increased (due to the collapse of government etc) or decreased (due to the
easing of sanctions and the release of frozen Iraqi deposits)? It seems to be
even harder to get real info out of Iraq now."

Not surprisingly, the focus is on security and violent deaths but I'm concerned
about the deaths due to the damage done to Iraq's infrastructure and the removal
of its government and institutions. It's almost as if there is a news blackout
on this. Is Bremer's plan a sign that food supplies and distribution are getting
much better or is it purely a doctrinal approach?

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