Mint Press, August 2015
Published in March by Physicians for Social Responsibility, [a] study, conducted by a team that included some Nobel Prize winners, determined that at least 1.3 million people have died as a result of war since Sept.11, 2001, but the real figure might be as high as two million. The study was an attempt to “close the gaps” in existing research, including studies like the Iraq Body Count,” which puts the number of violent deaths in that country at about 219,000 since 2003, based on media reports of the time period.
Investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed, writing in April for Middle East Eye, explained some of the ways the previous figures fell short, according to the physicians’ research:
“For instance, although 40,000 corpses had been buried in Najaf since the launch of the war, IBC [Iraq Body Count] recorded only 1,354 deaths in Najaf for the same period. That example shows how wide the gap is between IBC’s Najaf figure and the actual death toll – in this case, by a factor of over 30.
The physicians behind the study also praised a controversial report from the medical journal The Lancet that placed the toll count far higher than that of Iraq Body Count, at closer to one million dead. In addition to the war in Iraq, the PSR study added additional victims from other countries where the United States has waged war:
These figures may still be underestimating the real death toll, according to Ahmed. These studies only account for the victims of violent conflict, but not the many more who will die as a result of the damage war brings to crucial infrastructure, from roads to farms to hospitals — not to mention devastating sanctions like those placed on Iraq after the first Gulf War in 1991.
Undisputed UN figures show that 1.7 million Iraqi civilians died due to the West’s brutal sanctions regime, half of whom were children.
Similar figures for Afghanistan, he reports, could bring totals to four million or more.
In 2009, Stephen M. Walt, a professor of international relations at Harvard, wrote in Foreign Policy:
“How many Muslims has the United States killed in the past thirty years, and how many Americans have been killed by Muslims? Coming up with a precise answer to this question is probably impossible, but it is also not necessary, because the rough numbers are so clearly lopsided.”