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Birth Pangs

By Matthew Yglesias on October 11, 2006 at 9:28 am

"Birth Pangs"

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A new epidemiological study by Iraqi and American public health experts sponsored by Johns Hopkins and published in the Lancet has concluded that there have been 655,000 “excess deaths” in Iraq since the American invasion. Kevin Drum reminds us that an earlier methodologically similar study that also came to striking conclusions about the death toll was widely dismissed by hawkish pundits and the establishment press, but none of their objections actually held any water. Kevin also runs the numbers so we can see that of these 655,000 deaths about 186,000 — 4,700 per month — were killed by coalition forces or airstrikes.

That, obviously, is a lot. And it ought to be sobering to anyone who still thinks of this as an operation that’s justifiable on anything remotely resembling humanitarian grounds, or that people who oppose the war can somehow be accused of indifference to the fate of the Iraqi people. This is a ghastly level of death under any circumstances, but it’s rendered all the more horrifying by the extreme self-righteousness with which it’s all been undertaken.

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