The Guardian November 3, 2004


100,000 dead in Iraq:
A crime against humanity

The British medical journal The Lancet has published 
the first scientific study of the human cost of the war on Iraq. 
The study has found that at least 100,000 Iraqis have lost their 
lives since the US, backed by Britain and Australia, launched 
their invasion in March last year. The revelation of this 
horrifying body count confirms that the leaders of those 
countries  George W Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard  have 
committed a crime against humanity.

More than half the dead are women and children, mostly killed by 
coalition air strikes. The US is now preparing to perpetrate more 
death and carnage with major assaults on the cities of Falluja 
and Ramadi following the US elections, which will add to the 
growing civilian death toll.

The study was carried out by public health experts from the US 
and Iraq with a survey of 1000 households in 33 randomly selected 
neighbourhoods around the country.

The Lancet called the research "a remarkable piece of work by a 
courageous team of scientists".

One member of the survey team was Les Roberts, of the Bloomberg 
School of Public Health at John Hopkins University in the US 
state of Maryland.

"Making conservative assumptions, we think about 100,000 excess 
deaths or more happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq", he 
said. Official estimates have persistently placed the number of 
dead at around 10,000.

The researchers were savagely critical of the policy of the 
occupying forces of refusing to count Iraqi casualties ("We don't 
do body counts", said the then head of the US forces, General 
Tommy Franks). The suspicious purpose behind this policy, that it 
was to cover up the number of civilian deaths, has now been 
tragically confirmed.

The scientists also point out that the Geneva Convention requires 
occupying forces to protect the civilian population and expressed 
concern that more than half the deaths were of women and 
children.

In Britain, the figures drew a furious response. Clare Short, the 
former cabinet minister who resigned over Blair's decision to go 
to war, said, "It is really horrifying. How many more lives are 
to be taken? It is no wonder, given this tragic death toll, that 
the resistance to the occupation is growing.

"Tony Blair talks simplistically about it getting better in Iraq. 
These figures prove it is just an illusion."

Labour Against the War spokesperson Alan Simpson, remarked, "At 
some point, the slaughter of civilians in the name of peace has 
to become a crime of war. This is not a matter of indifference 
but criminality. These figures are horrific  it is a scandal 
that the world remains silent."

Taking the worn out line that the "removal of Saddam Hussein" was 
a "great benefit to future generations of Iraqi people", 
Australian Defence Minister Robert Hill responded to the findings 
by saying, "Unfortunately there will always be some civilian 
casualties."

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