Sunday, March 12, 2006

OTM: Counting the Dead in Iraq

Death By Numbers
According to the Washington Post, Iraq's majority Shiite party has ordered the Health Ministry to stop counting execution-style shootings, and tally only deaths by bombing and other insurgent attacks. If true, it explains why the Post's recent numbers diverge so dramatically with those of Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari. Post reporter Ellen Knickmeyer tells Bob she was less surprised by the disparity in the death toll, than by the failure of other journalists to check it out.

The New Math
The research group, Iraq Body Count, issued findings recently that show the rate of civilian deaths rising each year since the declared end of combat operations. According to the group, in the first year violent deaths occurred at a rate of 20 per day; year two, 31; in 2006 to date, 36. Since IBC relies entirely on media reports for its figures, we wondered how the Washington Post's assertion that the death toll is suppressed would affect its work. IBC spokesman Scott Lipscomb joins Brooke.

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