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Wartime estimates of Iraqi civilian casualties

31-12-2007 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 868, by Beth Osborne Daponte

Challenges exist when making reliable and valid estimates of civilian mortality due to war. This article discusses a framework used to examine war’s impact on civilian, considers challenges common to each statistical approach taken to estimate civilian casualties and proposes other approaches to estimating Iraqi civilian mortality after fighting has ceased.

   

Beth Osborne Daponte, Ph.D.
is senior research scholar at the Institution for Social and   Policy Studies, Yale University. 

 
Abstract 
Challenges exist when making reliable and valid estimates of civilian mortality due to war. This article first discusses a framework used to examine war’s impact on civilians and then considers challenges common to each statistical approach taken to estimate civilian casualties. It examines the different approaches that have been used to estimate civilian casualties associated with the recent fighting in Iraq to date and compares the results of different approaches. The author concludes by proposing that after fighting has ceased, other approaches to estimating Iraqi civilian mortality, such as post-war retrospective surveys and demographic analysis, should be employed.

   
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