Official US Undercount: 77,000 Iraqis Killed in Five Years

Data Short of Iraqi Govt Figures and Far Short of Rights Group Estimates

The latest in a growing number of underreported civilian death tolls by the US military came today, when they claimed only 77,000 Iraqis had been killed between January 2004 and August of 2008.

While it seems incredible that 77,000 deaths would be small enough to count as an “only” type of underreport, it is well short of the official toll of the Iraqi government, which itself has been notorious for underreporting the figures and said they had counted 85,694 deaths.

But both are far short of the data from surveys by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that put the deaths well into the hundreds of thousands, and in some cases have estimated over a million “excess” deaths as the result of the war.

It is difficult to put exact figures on the death tolls (particularly with the seemly random dates for the period reported on), but the US military made no particular efforts to count the tolls during this period, and some would say they made a particular effort not to count them, their reliability of their report must immediately be questioned, and given it is the lowest such report released by any group it comes off as exceedingly self-serving.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of