Though I am neither on the ground in Iraq nor Iraqi myself I am beginning to develop what I believe is a good opinion about how many Iraqi citizens have died or dissapeared since the US-lead coalition invaded in March of 2003. Ridiculous hours of reading, research, discussion and chit-chat online have lead me to the conclusion that all Iraqi's who have access to the internet, or who have been interviewed by the media, or forced to leave Iraq- can agree on one thing: that every Iraqi household has been gravely effected by the loss of a senior member within their family (mostly uncle's and fathers) .
Now I may be nieve about some factors in Iraqi culture so, those of you who are Iraqi friends of mine can correct me here- but lets assume that a family would have around 5 children each. So the children of a married couple would on average have about 10 uncles or aunts in their family- around 5 from each side. On that theory a family household would have around four to six persons living in it. Though many houses have become crowded with more than this number during the occupation- so too other houses have been left with less.
There are roughly 26.8 million persons living in Iraq. To try avoid getting any more complex than we have so far I'll re-write my equation again for you to understand:
Iraqi's say every household has had a close relative- an uncle, aunt, a cousin, a mother, a father or grandparent dissapear or die. To be generous we'll assume that only half of the households actually have had this happen.
So straight away lets take away 1/2 of Iraq's population and discount it from the equation.
So we start with 13.4 million persons in our equations.
Divide this into households- 6 persons per house, 2 parents 4 children.
Which leaves us with 2.3 million house holds.
If every one of these households has had someone in the immediate family (aunt's, uncle's and grandparents) die then using these assumptions and some basic mathemeatics we can figure out an approximate figure of how many households have actually had a death//dissapearance within the household.
Working on the theory that each family consists of two grandparents with five children and that the grandparents live with one of these children, we can deduce that each family will have 5 households within it. Considering however from the perspective of a married couple their immediate family would consist of only 4 households each side, excluding their own that is.
So each family has 9 households in which some family member has had a disaster happen.
2.3 million households, of which atleast one in every 9 has had a death or dissapearance in the family. After doing the math we are left with around 250,000 deaths//dissapearances.
Now lets divide that down into years, weeks and days and compare the result with what is being reported as "accurate" statistics.
250,000 over 3 1/2 years.
Which equates to a little more than 71,400 dead Iraqi's per year.
Divide this by 52weeks in a year.
Which equates to 1373 Iraqi's dead each week.
Or maybe its better said as 195 Iraqi's dead per day.
It makes you wonder to look at this in comparison to the what is often cited in the media as accurate statistics. In the above calculations I've been generous. I've totally discounted 1/2 of all Iraqi's as having been totally unneffected by the war as in regard to deaths or dissapearances in the family.
If you ask any Iraqi they would likely argue that there is not a single household in Iraq which could claim to be free of death in the family. Imagine if I were to take their point into serious consideration and alter my statistics accordingly-
Two things come to mind when thinking about it:
the number of deaths per year would climb steeply, if I assumed 60% rather than 50% of Iraqi households had a death in the family the number of dead so far would be 298,000- 1910 dead per week, 272 dead per day. Such figures are easily double what is most-oft cited in the main-stream media and this should lend some credibility to the Lancet Report's figures- even when generously excluding half of the Iraqi population in a very straight forward equation- the death toll is still easily double that which is accepted and most oft repeated.
Just some food for thought.... More of that coming often from now on.
Luke(y) Skinner 2/1/07