Iraqi Death Toll Uncountable

Civilian death toll unknown after 5 years of bloodshed
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2008 10:49 AM CDT
1920 Revolution Brigades members stand over the Iraqi flag-draped coffin of Naseer Salam al Maamouri, their security chief, who was killed with two of his bodyguards in Baquba, December, 2007.    (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – "We don't do body counts," an American general notoriously said not long after the US-led invasion of Iraq. Five years later, there is no credible count of civilian deaths in the Iraq war, the Guardian reports in a look at the wildly different estimates that have been promoted—ranging from under 100,000 to well over a million—and how they're put together.

Some counts have used morgue and hospital records; four household surveys have been done, collecting names of the dead and extrapolating to the population as a whole. Counters have been quick to attack each other's methodology, and politicians to seize the figure that suits their purposes. The Guardian calls it "the worst humanitarian catastrophe in today's world," but still a mystery as to its real scope.