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Horrendous Iraqi Civilian Deaths -
The Cost Of Democratic Imperialism

By Gideon Polya

01 November, 2004

Sensible, 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
pre-war Iraq.

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.

UNICEF Executive 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 of
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, 2003).











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