VHeadline.com’s Houston-based commentarist Arthur Shaw writes: The astonishing, horrifying, and sickening inhumanity of US imperialism … which some middle class and “omniscient” intellectuals claim no longer exists … was made evident by the publication on October 11 of a study by the School of Public Health of John Hopkins University and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad on the cost of the vile US aggression against people of Iraq, in terms of the lost of human life.
“As many as 654,965 more Iraqis may have died since hostilities began in Iraq in March 2003 than would have been expected under pre-war conditions, according to a survey conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. The deaths from all causes violent and non-violent are over and above the estimated 143,000 deaths per year that occurred from all causes prior to the March 2003 invasion,” a press release from John Hopkins University reported.
The University is extremely precise in the above formulation of the chief finding of the study. The study subtracts the pre-war mortality rate from the war mortality rate to get the cost, so far, of the despicable US aggression against Iraq in terms of the lost of human life during the course of the war which is based entirely on US lies. Naturally, US reactionaries immediately denounced the study for “grossly over-counting” the number of Iraqi casualties.
These hasty denunciations of the study cannot be taken seriously because a large segment of US reactionaries are rightwing “rednecks” … that is, the conservative and bloodthirsty trash, scum, and garbage of the US society.
The rightwing of the “redneck” population in the USA is an important demographic pool from which many of the torturers, murderers, and kidnappers in US military uniforms, as well as US mercenaries, are recruited. We should note that some “rednecks” are not rightwing. Some are independents and even liberals. But we can count these “anomalies” on one hand.
The importance of the role of Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad in the conduct of the study cannot be overstated because the data on which the findings of the study rest was collected on the spot in Iraq. The rightwing “rednecks” and other rabid US conservatives, on the other hand, who denounce the study collect their data, if any, for their ignorant opinions in their mobile homes parked in trashy trailer parks, by watching the slanted “news” aired in the US capitalist media, mostly the flagrantly pro-imperialist Fox News.
“The estimates were derived from a nationwide household survey of 1,849 households throughout Iraq conducted between May and July 2006. The results are consistent with the findings of an October 2004 study of Iraq mortality conducted by the Hopkins researchers. Also, the findings closely reflect the increased mortality trends reported by other organizations that utilized passive methods of counting mortality, such as counting bodies in morgues or deaths reported by the news media. The study is published in the October 14, 2006, edition of the peer-reviewed scientific journal, The Lancet,” the press release said.
The university, in the press release, speaks about the methodology used in the study and the coherence between the results of this study and earlier peer-reviewed work in the field. The mentioning of the “peer-review” seems intended to distinguish this study from the large mass lies and propaganda put out by over a hundred outfits, all on the Pentagon’s payroll [more specifically the Defense Intelligence Agency], around the world, that contend, of late, that Iraqi casualties are somewhere between 30,000 and 60,000.
The sample size of 1,849 households is more than ample, given that Iraq has a population of about 26 million people, roughly the size of Venezuelan population. But, given the rate that the US dictatorship under George W. Bush and his GOP-loving rightwing “rednecks” are exterminating the Iraqi people, in the future, researchers will not have to survey so many households. The selection of “households,” as a kind of cell or unit of research, rather than “individuals” as is the custom in much of the survey work in the USA demonstrates the impartiality of the John Hopkins and Al Mustansiriya investigators. The sample size of nationwide polls and surveys in the USA with a population of almost 300 million is often somewhere between 800 and 1,200 “individuals,” some of whom reside in the same “household.”
Again, the reactionary sector [about a third] of the US people, chiefly represented … at the lower levels … by the GOP-worshiping “rednednecks” have flooded the conservative radio talk shows with violent denunciations of the John Hopkins and Al Mustansiriya study. But these savage critics, unlike the researchers at John Hopkins and Al Mustansiriya, have not interviewed a single Iraqi household. These baseball cap — sneakers — T-shirt — Bermuda shorts — wearing trash of the trailer parks can’t speak a word of Arabic or English. But … and this a big but … this trash can kidnap, torture and murder people.
The rightwing “rednecks” say they torture and murder people for their country.
- When they are not doing it for their country, they do it to each other … perhaps for their society.
“As we found with our previous survey, the majority of deaths in Iraq are due to violence although we also saw a small increase in deaths from non-violent causes, such as heart disease, cancer and chronic illness. Gunshots were the primary cause of violent deaths. To put these numbers in context, deaths are occurring in Iraq now at a rate more than three times that from before the invasion of March 2003, said Gilbert Burnham, MD, PhD, lead author of the study and co-director of the Bloomberg School Center for Refugee and Disaster Response. Our total estimate is much higher than other mortality estimates because we used a population-based, active method for collecting mortality information rather than passive methods that depend on counting bodies or tabulated media reports of violent deaths. Though the numbers differ, the trend in increasing numbers of deaths closely follows that measured by the U.S. Defense Department and the Iraq Body Count group,” the University, in its press release, continues to discuss its methodology, stressing the difference between active and passive research methods.”
“Here, the University returns to the key issue of whether “active” methods of counting dead people are more accurate and reliable than “passive” methods of counting them. ‘Active’ methods require that the researcher investigate, make inquiries, look into the problem, and digs up himself, by research, the data before he formulates a finding concerning the data. ‘Passive’ methods allow the researcher merely to ask somebody else what is the state of affairs with regard to whatever data happens to be available and then the researcher echoes or parrots what he hears from somebody else as the “finding” of “his research.”
Gilbert Burham, the John Hopkins lead investigator for the study, cites two “passive” methods:
(1) asking the morgue or hospitals how many dead bodies came in and
(2) asking newspapers and other media how many deaths they reported.
With regard to (1) or asking the morgues or hospitals how many dead bodies came in, the Iraqi hospitals have been subjected to a vicious US terrorist campaign — staff have been attacked by US marines, doctors have been shot, and emergency medicines blocked. Further, morgues and hospitals have been ordered by the ruling US authorities and the quisling Iraqi authorities under the US rulers to neither count nor report Iraqi casualties without the permission of the US dictatorship over Iraq. The cover-up of the magnitude of the US policy of mass extermination of the people of Iraq is pervasive within what is left of the health care system in Iraq.
‘Passive'” method of research, relying on asking Iraqi morgues and hospitals how many bodies came in, is patently worthless and therefore completely acceptable to US reactionaries, rightwing “rednecks,” and the senior officials of the Bush dictatorship.
With regard to (2) or asking newspapers and other media how many deaths they reported, this is more worthless than making inquiries at the morgues and hospitals. First of all, 80 journalists have been killed in Iraq since the USA began its war of aggression and extermination — 20 so far in 2006, 22 in 2005, 24 in 2004 and 14 in 2003. In addition to journalists, 28 media support workers have been killed in Iraq after March 2003. Of the 80 dead journalists, 59 were Iraqis, 11 Europeans, 3 non-Iraq Arabs, 2 USAs, and 5 from all other countries. US armed forces have been implicated in 80% of these hits on journalists. But in every official inquiry, if any inquiry was held at all, the US troop(s), accused of killing a journalists without justification, walked … usually claiming that the killing was a lamentable and unintended result of a “cross-fire.” As a result, the whole of the US capitalist media working in Iraq and the greater part of the European capitalist media are little more than propaganda tools of the US military dictatorship that hides, to obtain legitimacy, behind a fake democracy of Iraqi quislings and traitors.
Only the most cynical scum, like George W. Bush and his top team, the mass of rightwing “rednecks” celebrating auto crashes at the racetrack and condemning the Dixie Chicks for their opposition to US aggression, and other hard-core GOPs will suggest that the absurd “passive” method of reading the lying capitalist press will uncover the results of the US strategy of mass extermination of human beings in Iraq.