Horrendous Iraqi Civilian Deaths -
The Cost Of Democratic Imperialism
By Gideon Polya
01 November, 2004
well-informed, humane people exposed to the daily news reports from
Iraq simply know that things must be horrendous for Iraqi civilians
- but what is the actual human cost of the US-led invasion and occupation?
A group of US scientists
from Columbia and Johns Hopkins Universities have published an article
in the top British medical journal The Lancet that estimates civilian
post-war "excess deaths" in Iraq at about 0.1 million (a very
conservative estimate) and at 0.2 million (if they include very high
casualty Fallujah region data sets in their combined statistics).
However use of a
conservative estimate of an "ideal and potentially achievable"
death rate for a peaceful and properly administered Iraq of 4 per 1000
yields a post-war "excess mortality" (avoidable mortality)
for Iraq of about 0.3 million based on the figures in The Lancet article
(noting that "excess mortality" for a country in a given period
is the difference between the ACTUAL mortality and the mortality EXPECTED
in a decently-run, peaceful country with the same demographics).
Of course the most
powerful thing about this scientific study (from top US universities,
peer-reviewed and published in a top UK medical journal) is that it
demonstrates that post-war Iraq is a much more dangerous place than
Some global media
that have bothered to report the study in The Lancet have referred to
this as the "first" scientific study into post-invasion Iraq
civilian deaths - however this is not so. I (for one) , after a 40 year
scientific career, have spent 12 months calculating the post-1950 "excess
mortality" for Iraq (and indeed for every country in the world
using readily available UN demographic data) and have spent 6 months
informing global media, politicians and law officers of the horrendous
"excess mortality" in Iraq and Afghanistan that truly constitutes
a holocaust . (See
The United Nations
(UN) and the United Nations Childrens' Fund (UNICEF) have been providing
detailed, professionally-acquired demographic statistics for all countries
in the world for over half a century. These statistics constitute a
"smoking gun", revealing the actual human cost of First World-equipped,
-instigated or -imposed war in the Third World.
A simple example
from UNICEF data reveals the horrendous magnitude of the human cost
in Iraq and Afghanistan of what has been described by a noted proponent
of the US- and UK-led Coalitions as "democratic imperialism"
(I would prefer the more precise term of "democratic Nazism").
According to UNICEF
(UNICEF Website, 2004), in 2001 the total under-5 infant mortality was
1,000 in Coalition country Australia (population 20 million), 109,000
in Iraq (population about 24 million) and 277,000 in Afghanistan (population
22 million). In 2002 (after the US-led invasion and consolidation in
Afghanistan in 2001), the under-5 infant mortality was 1,000 in Australia,
108,000 in Iraq and 283,000 in conquered Afghanistan.
From this we can
reasonably conclude that - at least in the short term - military conquest
and continuing military operations by the US and its allies does not
DECREASE infant mortality and in fact INCREASES mortality (a proposition
borne out by the Iraq mortality analysis published in October
2004 in The Lancet).
On the basis that
massive US invasion and conquest does not improve mortality statistics
in the short term, we can CONSERVATIVELY calculate from UNICEF data
that the post-invasion under-5 infant mortality has been 0.9 million
in Afghanistan and about 0.2 million in Iraq.
The Ruler is responsible
for the Ruled, and thus the US and its allies are clearly responsible
for this horrendous 1.1 million post-invasion under-5 infant mortality
in US-conquered Iraq and Afghanistan.
Of course the situation
is far worse than this because in these occupied countries people OVER
the age of 5 are ALSO dying of avoidable and treatable disease or being
killed. My UN- and UNICEF-based estimates are that the post-1991 "excess
mortality" in Iraq has been 1.5 million (with the under-5 infant
mortality component being 1.2 million) and the post-invasion "excess
mortality" has been 1.2 million in Afghanistan (with the under-5
infant mortality component being 0.9 million).
In summary, readily
available UN and UNICEF statistics indicate horrendous "excess
mortality" (i.e. avoidable mortality) in US- conquered Iraq and
Afghanistan. The Bush policy of "democratic imperialism" -
supported by irresponsible, cowardly and sycophantic allies such as
the UK and Australia - has a continuing and horrendous human cost, with
the victims being overwhelmingly young children.
Director Carol Bellamy has stated (UNICEF Official Statement, 30 September
2004) (in response to a bombing outrage in Iraq): "The killing
of children is a crime and a moral outrage. Children should never have
to pay the price for adult conflict. We call on those who command combatants
to do whatever is necessary to keep children from harm."
The cowardly and
sycophantic Australian government, the US and UK military and the UK
government have variously disputed or played down the mortality findings
published in The Lancet. Further, only a limited set of global news
media have carried the story and, of course, "The News" only
lasts 24 hours
before being superseded by fresh atrocities, scandals or sporting victories.
However the "smoking
gun" of UN and UNICEF demographic statistics will remain (until
the neo-conservative "democratic imperialists" finally abolish
the UN and rewrite history as in George Orwell's "1984").
The horrendous mortality in Occupied Afghanistan and Occupied Iraq will
continue to rise - but the records will continue to be kept by humane
and ethical scientists, doctors and demographers. Eventually, one hopes,
the carnage will stop through pressure from the International Community
and the principal "democratic imperialist" war criminals will
be brought to account before the International Criminal Court for their
horrendous crimes against humanity.
Indeed I, for one,
have recently lodged a formal complaint with the ICC against Australia
and its allies over their war crimes in Iraq - on the grounds of illegal
invasion of a remote and non-threatening country and horrendous civilian
deaths in an occupied country.
Peace is the only
way. While the US can more or less do as it pleases in the "New
World Order", its smaller war criminal allies are much more vulnerable
to the types of action successfully taken against the repugnant Apartheid
regime in formerly minority-ruled South Africa - such as the publicizing
crimes against humanity, sporting sanctions, exclusion from decent international
society and trade boycotts.
Of course what UNICEF
has called an "unconscionable slaughter of the innocents"
will only cease when an informed international community unites in indignation.
Silence kills and silence is complicity. Please inform everyone.
Dr Gideon Polya
published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently
a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant
Bioactive Compounds" (Taylor & Francis, New York & London,