Death Tolls, Artistic Statements, and Paradox

Recently a group of people put on a demonstration on the lawns of the University of Oregon. Surrounded by a sea of tiny white flags, a Sign reads:

655,000 Iraqis have died.

Each of the 112,000 white flags represent 6 Iraqi soldiers and civilians who have died in the War in Iraq.

Read the Daily Emerald article. This number comes from the British medical journal Lancet’s study published last October. You can read more about it here. And here.


Photo: Zac Goodwin

Now, I just ran a couple of rough calculations for those who might be interested.

With 4 years (roughly) minus about 150 days (generous – given the study showed up in early October 2006 and coalition forces entered Iraq March 20th 2003) you have 1,310 days of war. That comes to around 500 Iraqi casualties EVERY single day. That’s about 15,000 per month…

To bounce off a point made here:

So, when we hear the press toss realistic sounding numbers around like 1,600 or so per month – Oops! Somehow they missing 13,400 other deaths! Likewise – the occasional story of a tragedy here or there killing 30 somehow didn’t mention the 470 that died elsewhere…


Something to keep in mind during your stroll to class.

Read Further.


4 Responses to “Death Tolls, Artistic Statements, and Paradox”

  1. Matt Turkington Says:

    Hmm, interesting. So who’s numbers do we believe? Personally, I have a hard time imagining 500/day. That’s a lot of people. I mean, how big is their army anyway? Aren’t we still the bulk of it? If they’re losing 15k/month, that means their numbers have to be pretty freaking huge to still be less than our numbers. Am I making sense?

  2. Andrew Says:

    The numbers certianly seem exaggerated to me. Plus, the statistic certainly seems to be implying that 655,000 people have died because of the war.
    Once again,


  3. Annette Says:

    Another thing to keep in mind is the source to which those numbers are coming in. Most go by the statistics gathered by the number of bodies going through hospitals and morgues in Iraq. The more realistic reports factor in the mass graves, and bodies that do not go through hospitals and morgues. This is probably where the huge disparity comes from.

  4. Greg Says:

    Only 655,000? That’s nothing compared to the 1.5 to 2 million people – including 600,000 children under 5 years old – that died from Economic Sanctions against Iraq before the war. So, supposedly AMERICA is responsible for the death of over 10% of the population of Iraq. The numbers are impossible, but the terrorist sympathizers don’t care; they spout the numbers, the NYT publishes them, and Rosie runs them out on The View. It’s sad and pathetic that there is a segment of this country that believes their BS.

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