News Release

Lancet Study Author Assesses New Report on Iraqi Death Toll


The World Health Organization reports on findings just published in the New England Journal of Medicine: “A large national household survey conducted by the Iraqi government and WHO estimates that 151,000 Iraqis died from violence between March 2003 and June 2006.”

Roberts is co-author of a study published in October 2006 by the leading medical journal The Lancet that estimated 655,000 excess deaths following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

The following are excerpts from a statement released by Roberts: “I think that this new article in the NEJM is a good addition to the discussion. … There is far more in common in the results of the two reports than appears at first glance.

“The NEJM article found a doubling of mortality after the invasion, we found a 2.4 fold increase. Thus, we roughly agree on the number of excess deaths. The big difference is that we found almost all the increase from violence, they found one-third the increase from violence. …

“This new estimate is almost four times the ‘widely accepted’ [Iraq Body Count] number from June of 2006, our estimate was 12 times higher. Both studies suggest things are far worse than our leaders have reported.

“There are reasons to suspect that the NEJM data had an under-reporting of violent deaths.

“They roughly found a steady rate of violence from 2003 to 2006. Baghdad morgue data, Najaf burial data, Pentagon attack data, and our data all show a dramatic increase over 2005 and 2006. …

“It is likely that people would be unwilling to admit violent deaths to the study workers who were government employees.

“Finally, their data suggests one-sixth of deaths over the occupation through June 2006 were from violence. Our data suggests a majority of deaths were from violence. The morgue and graveyard data I have seen is more in keeping with our results.”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167