U.S.-led Iraq war caused half a million deaths, study estimates
The death toll in Iraq from the U.S.-led war and occupation in that country stands at around half a million people, according to a new study.
Simon Fraser University health sciences professor Tim Takaro and graduate student Lindsay Galway are among the dozen researchers who contributed to the paper, which was published in the October issue of the scientific journal PLOS Medicine.
Led by University of Washington researchers, the study attributes 460,000 Iraqi deaths between March 2003 and mid-2011 to the war and occupation. Researchers found that the death rate was more than 50 percent higher during the war than in the two years before.
Two thousand randomly selected households across Iraq were interviewed for the study, which used this sample to approximate Iraq's national death toll.
"The risk of death at the peak of the conflict in 2006 almost tripled for men and rose by 70% for women. Respondents attributed 20% of household deaths to war-related violence. Violent deaths were attributed primarily to coalition forces (35%) and militia (32%). The majority (63%) of violent deaths were from gunshots. Twelve percent were attributed to car bombs," the editors' summary states.
The researchers wrote that their study offers the "most up-to-date estimates of the death toll of the Iraq war and subsequent conflict", though they acknowledged "substantial uncertainties".
"Based on the statistical methods, the researchers are 95% confident that the true number of excess deaths lies between 48,000 and 751,000—a large range," the summary notes.