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"War on Terror" has killed at least 62,000: Report

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September 18, 2006

"War on Terror" has killed at least 62,000: Report

by Dru Oja Jay

A series of new figures show the impact of the US-led "War on Terror." According to two recent estimates, the number of people killed during the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is between 62,006 and 180,000. A total of 2,976 people died in the September 11 attacks that were the main impetus for the new war, which has now been waged for five years.

The estimates were compiled by UK newspaper The Independent. The low estimate of 62,006 is based on figures compiled by groups like Iraq Body Count, which use a strict methodology that requires confirmation by two independent media reports. As a result, an Independent report statesthat the media-based method "almost certainly produces a substantial underestimate."

The higher estimate is based on an update of a randomized study of Iraqi
households conducted for the prestigious peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet. The original report, which extrapolated data from a survey of 988 households to formulate a national casualty estimate, sparked controversy with its estimate that 98,000 people had been killed. The higher estimate, says The Independent report, is mostly "educated guesswork."

The estimates do not include those who subsequently die from injuries or conditions created by the war, or those in refugee camps, though analysts tend to agree that an inclusive figure would be much higher. According to a survey by the Iraqi government and UNICEF, a quarter of all Iraqi children suffer from malnutrition, and the campaign group Medact reported that "easily treatable conditions such as diarrhoea and respiratory illness caused 70 per cent of all child deaths" in Iraq.

As of July, the US Congress had approved $437 billion for costs related to the "War on Terror." According to Make Poverty History, $375 billion would be required to clear the debts of the world's poorest countries.

Another recent report from Wired News measured the likelihood of death caused by terrorist attacks against other possible deadly threats. Reporter Ryan Singel found that for residents of the US, "your appendix is more likely to kill you than al-Qaida is."

Between 1995 and 2005, Singel found Americans are 80 times more likely to die in a car accident than they are in a terrorist attack. In that period, 254,419 died in the car wrecks, while 3,147 were killed by terrorists. Accidental poisoning killed 140,327, making it a threat 44 times more dangerous to Americans than terrorism over the 11-year period.

» The Independent: 62,006 - 180,000, the number killed in the 'war on terror'

» Wired News: One Million Ways to Die

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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