Monday, October 31, 2005

What Iraqi Casualties?

Heard a thought-provoking episode on the public radio show "This American Life" this past weekend. The episode, titled "What's in a Number?", included a discussion on a John Hopkins University study published last year in the British medical journal "The Lancet." The study (free registration required) concluded that approximately 100,000 Iraqis had died since the beginning of the war.

Although the study did not distinguish between civilian and combatant dead, its estimate was much higher than other numbers that had been posited. Apparently, the major media outlets either ignored the study altogether or gave it very brief mention. According to the report, many pundits attacked the study without even understanding the study's statistical method.

Also in this episode, an American soldier who served in Iraq is interviewed about his thoughts on Iraqi casualties. For full information about this episode, go to and look in the 2005 archive for episode 300, dated 10/28/05. You can listen to the episode on RealPlayer by clicking here.

Note: The Iraq Body Count Web site is mentioned in the episode.

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