Counting the dead

Nicolas Davies:

Just as a scientific mortality study was needed to reveal that about 3,000 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, only comprehensive mortality studies can produce reliable estimates of the true scale of the slaughter in America’s endless wars. Such studies are sorely needed for Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Pakistan.

Absent such studies, the BBC’s August survey in Afghanistan and ACLED’s reports on Yemen are among the most reliable reports available, but they should be referenced or cited with the clear understanding that what they report are confirmed minimum numbers of people killed.  The question they leave unanswered is: what fraction of the true numbers of people killed do these reports represent?

The considerable experience of epidemiologists in war zones around the world, including in Iraq, suggests approximate answers to that question, as I have explained in my reporting on these questions over the past fifteen years. This has led me to conclude that the true death toll in America’s post-9/11 wars is not in the tens of thousands, nor even in the hundreds of thousands, but in the millions.

The tone of museum displays in The Netherlands during my visit this past weekend was uniformly passive, the voice of bystanders. Anti-Jewish measures were passed, the Dutch didn’t pass them. Jews were interned, the Dutch didn’t intern them. Jews were deported, the Dutch didn’t deport them. Jews died, the Dutch didn’t murder them.

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