A survey team made up of Iraqi physicians and epidemiologists from Johns Hopkins University has determined that the U.S. invasion of Iraq caused the deaths of roughly 655,000 people. The estimate is more than 20 times higher than one Bush gave in December, but the researchers believe they have substantial evidence to back the claim.
Both this and the earlier study are the only ones to estimate mortality in Iraq using scientific methods. The technique, called “cluster sampling,” is used to estimate mortality in famines and after natural disasters.
While acknowledging that the estimate is large, the researchers believe it is sound for numerous reasons. The recent survey got the same estimate for immediate post-invasion deaths as the early survey, which gives the researchers confidence in the methods. The great majority of deaths were also substantiated by death certificates.
“We’re very confident with the results,” said Gilbert Burnham, a Johns Hopkins physician and epidemiologist.
A Defense Department spokesman did not comment directly on the estimate.