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Unworthy victims: Western wars have killed four million Muslims since 1990

(AFP)

(AFP)

“Landmark research proves that the US-led ‘war on terror’ has killed as many as 2 million people, but this is a fraction of Western responsibility for deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last two decades.”

by Nafeez Ahmed, Middle East Eye
Wednesday 8 April 2015 16:12 BST

Last month, the Washington DC-based Physicians for Social Responsibility (PRS) released a landmark study concluding that the death toll from 10 years of the “War on Terror” since the 9/11 attacks is at least 1.3 million, and could be as high as 2 million.

The 97-page report by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning doctors’ group is the first to tally up the total number of civilian casualties from US-led counter-terrorism interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The PSR report is authored by an interdisciplinary team of leading public health experts, including Dr. Robert Gould, director of health professional outreach and education at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, and Professor Tim Takaro of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University.

Yet it has been almost completely blacked out by the English-language media, despite being the first effort by a world-leading public health organisation to produce a scientifically robust calculation of the number of people killed by the US-UK-led “war on terror”.

Mind the gaps

The PSR report is described by Dr Hans von Sponeck, former UN assistant secretary-general, as “a significant contribution to narrowing the gap between reliable estimates of victims of war, especially civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and tendentious, manipulated or even fraudulent accounts”.

The report conducts a critical review of previous death toll estimates of “war on terror” casualties. It is heavily critical of the figure most widely cited by mainstream media as authoritative, namely, the Iraq Body Count (IBC) estimate of 110,000 dead. That figure is derived from collating media reports of civilian killings, but the PSR report identifies serious gaps and methodological problems in this approach.

For instance, although 40,000 corpses had been buried in Najaf since the launch of the war, IBC recorded only 1,354 deaths in Najaf for the same period. That example shows how wide the gap is between IBC’s Najaf figure and the actual death toll – in this case, by a factor of over 30.

Such gaps are replete throughout IBC’s database. In another instance, IBC recorded just three airstrikes in a period in 2005, when the number of air attacks had in fact increased from 25 to 120 that year. Again, the gap here is by a factor of 40.

According to the PSR study, the much-disputed Lancet study that estimated 655,000 Iraq deaths up to 2006 (and over a million until today by extrapolation) was likely to be far more accurate than IBC’s figures. In fact, the report confirms a virtual consensus among epidemiologists on the reliability of the Lancet study.

Despite some legitimate criticisms, the statistical methodology it applied is the universally recognised standard to determine deaths from conflict zones, used by international agencies and governments.

Politicised denial

PSR also reviewed the methodology and design of other studies showing a lower death toll, such as a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, which had a range of serious limitations.

That paper ignored the areas subject to the heaviest violence, namely Baghdad, Anbar and Nineveh, relying on flawed IBC data to extrapolate for those regions. It also imposed “politically-motivated restrictions” on collection and analysis of the data – interviews were conducted by the Iraqi Ministry of Health, which was “totally dependent on the occupying power” and had refused to release data on Iraqi registered deaths under US pressure.

In particular, PSR assessed the claims of Michael Spaget, John Sloboda and others who questioned the Lancet study data collection methods as potentially fraudulent. All such claims, PSR found, were spurious.

The few “justified criticisms,” PSR concludes, “do not call into question the results of the Lancet studies as a whole. These figures still represent the best estimates that are currently available”. The Lancet findings are also corroborated by the data from a new study in PLOS Medicine, finding 500,000 Iraqi deaths from the war. Overall, PSR concludes that the most likely number for the civilian death toll in Iraq since 2003 to date is about 1 million.

To this, the PSR study adds at least 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan, killed as the direct or indirect consequence of US-led war: a “conservative” total of 1.3 million. The real figure could easily be “in excess of 2 million”.

Yet even the PSR study suffers from limitations. Firstly, the post-9/11 “war on terror” was not new, but merely extended previous interventionist policies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Secondly, the huge paucity of data on Afghanistan meant the PSR study probably underestimated the Afghan death toll.

Read the entire article…

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  • Rajano

    Thanks, I will have to give that a look.

  • downwithpants

    An interesting, short book on nuclear proliferation is the Nuclear Bazaar I forget the author It talks about how easy nuclear weapons are to get.. .kinda scary

  • Rajano

    At least I HOPE they will never use them. I would rather they be “wasted” than have a city or cities incinerated in a radioactive mushroom cloud. Nuclear weapons are no joke – if enough of them are released it could make the entire Northern Hemisphere uninhabitable for decades.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    Well yes, that may be so, but I prefer things as they are for example in Morocco and Algeria right now as opposed to what they are in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

    Or, to paraphrase the Cuban guy who once said “Mejor Batista con hambre que Fidel con sangre” (better Batista with hungere than Fidel with blood):
    Better Mohamed VI with hunger than Abu Bakr Al Bagdadi with blood.

    And (some of you guys are gonna hate me for this, but here goes anyway):

    Better NATO with hunger than Putin with blood (ask any Ukrainian, Estonian or Lithuanian with their heart on the right spot).

    Think about that, guys.

  • downwithpants

    Iran will get a bomb….Then saudi arabia gets a bomb then I get a bong….. nothing like wasting money on these things they will never use… like I do when I buy condoms.

  • Awesome

    Last month, the Washington DC-based Physicians for Social Responsibility (PRS) released a landmark study concluding that the death toll from 10 years of the “War on Terror” since the 9/11 attacks is at least 1.3 million, and could be as high as 2 million.

    Given how physically easy it is for a military or paramilitary forces to kill a million people with today’s military technology than it is for those in power to control a million people, these figures are not that surprising. Human life is only a commodity to them; to be done with as they please, and to liquidate or downsize when it becomes a potential liability for them. They try to destroy what they cannot control and abuse what they do control at their leisure, and they’ve been doing this for centuries.

    Furthermore, from their reaction to this study:

    Yet it has been almost completely blacked out by the English-language media, despite being the first effort by a world-leading public health organisation to produce a scientifically robust calculation of the number of people killed by the US-UK-led “war on terror”.

    It is clear that the only thing that they care about in this regard is the potential PR fallout.

  • ShunTheRightWhale

    Quote Huntington and all you get is the prophecy of the shedding of blood between his “civilizations” (better called “Kulturkreis”es (cultural circles) in the tradition of Spengler):

    “In Eurasia the great historic fault lines between civilizations are once more aflame. This is particularly true along the boundaries of the crescent-shaped Islamic bloc of nations, from the bulge of Africa to central Asia. Violence also occurs between Muslims, on the one hand, and Orthodox Serbs in the Balkans, Jews in Israel, Hindus in India, Buddhists in Burma and Catholics in the Philippines. Islam has bloody borders.”
    – S. H., Clash of Civilizations?

    “The fundamental problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power. The problem for Islam is not the CIA or the US department of Defence. It is the West, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the universality of their culture and believe that their superior, if declining, power imposes on them the obligation to extend that culture throughout the world. These are the basic ingredients that fuel conflict between Islam and the West.”
    “Islam’s borders are bloody and so are its innards.”
    “No single statement in my Foreign Affairs article attracted more critical comment than: “Islam has bloody borders.” I made that judgment on the basis of a casual survey of intercivilizational conflicts. Quantitative evidence from every disinterested source conclusively demonstrates its validity.”
    – S. H., The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order

  • JS

    Let us not forget the many “Muslim” leaders (dictators, kings) who collaborated with Western powers in their relentless attacks on Muslim countries since 1990 either. They are many, and they still live in their palaces while how many millions of Muslims live in refugee camps?

  • mindy1

    War is always sad :(( that is why I hope the deal with Iran works

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