Getting out

*The number of Iraqi deaths in those four years is disputed territory:*

*76,218-83,034* documented Iraqi civilian deaths from violence (Iraq Body Count, November 2007)^1^

*655,000* Iraqi ‘excess deaths’ since the beginning of the invasion (_The Lancet_, October 2006)^2^

*1.2 million* Iraqi deaths since the invasion (Opinion Research Business, September 2007)^3^

*In addition, there have been the following casualties:*

*4,129* Coalition soldiers dead (3,800 US, 171 British)^4^

*27,000* US soldiers wounded^4^

*1,000* contractors killed, *11,000* wounded^4^

*2,500,000* Iraqi refugees who have fled the country^5^

*2,200,000* internally displaced Iraqis^5^

With no let-up in the violence, despite US claims that Operation Surge has worked, it’s not surprising that there’s plenty of talk of withdrawal. Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced that early 2008 will see deep cuts in the number of British troops in Iraq. The US opposition Democrats are making ‘bringing our troops home’ an election issue. But what’s on offer, really? And when and how should withdrawal be effected? *Chris Abbott*, *Anthony Arnove* and *Urvashi Butalia* give their views.

  1. Iraq Body Count arrives at a ‘conservative cautious minimum’ estimate by monitoring press reports and official records.
  2. _The Lancet_’s figure was based on a national cross-sectional cluster sample survey of mortality in Iraq conducted between May and July 2006.
  3. UK-based polling agency Opinion Research Business extrapolated their figure from a random sample of 1,461 Iraqi adults asked how many people living in their household had died as a result of the violence rather than from natural causes.
  4. Iraq Coalition Casualties
  5. Refugees International

New Internationalist issue 407 magazine cover This article is from the December 2007 issue of New Internationalist.
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