New Internationalist

Getting out

Issue 407

Here, in numbers, is the story of the four years since US and British troops ‘liberated’ Iraq:

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 wounded4

1,000 contractors killed, 11,000 wounded4

2,500,000 Iraqi refugees who have fled the country5

2,200,000 internally displaced Iraqis5

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

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