Taylor Owen at Oxblog on the reaction to the Lancet studies
“The principal question is why are we so surprised that this level of conflict would result in such levels of excess mortality?
I would argue it is a direct result of our sanitised view of war. We consider the costs of war to be limited to direct conflict casualties. Bombs killing our soldiers, bullets killing insurgents, end of story. This of course if only the beginning, excess death levels tell the other side. The failure to provide humanitarian protection has real human costs, far beyond those directly killed by munitions.
And here in lies the rub. Indirect costs of war are both incredibly difficult to measure and generally not considered part of the overall war calculus. Iraqi Body Count, for example, only measures specific killings, not excess mortality — a substantial difference. Particularly since it was their figures which most news accounts (as well as the President) compared to the Lancet totals. Yet they are measuring different things.
But are excess deaths the responsibility of the intervening country? I would emphatically argue yes. Particularly if there is even an iota of humanitarian rational for the occupation. More importantly, it is these very excess deaths that are both symbolic of the failures of the humanitarian component on the occupation, as well as a causal factor of the high levels of anti-occupation sentiment and outright insurgency support. The fact that the numbers would be dismissed wholesale, is in my view symbolic of the disconnect between many war proponents and the humanitarian realities of the mission.”
To be fair here, the IBC attempts to count the increase in violent deaths from murder and not just directly war-related ones. But they just count the deaths that are recorded by the media, which is obviously not all or even most of them.