Today Iraq Body Count released a new report noting that the number of civilian deaths in Iraq has increased each year of the occupation. The figures, which start in May of 2003, rose from an estimated 6,331 civilians killed in the first year to a total of 12,617 killed in the third year (Mar. 2005-Mar. 2006), and are based on data from the morgue in Baghdad.
Even more staggering, the statistics for the third year don’t include the majority of civilian deaths that resulted from sectarian violence after the bombing of the Askariya shrine in Samarra—a figure estimated at around a thousand deaths—and exclude January and February data from the Baghdad morgue.
“The initial act that sparked this cycle of violence is the illegal US-led invasion of March and April 2003 which resulted in 7,312 civilian deaths and 17,298 injured in a mere 42 days,” IBC co-founder John Sloboda said. “The insurgency will remain strong so long as the US military remains in Iraq, and ordinary Iraqi people will have more death and destruction to look forward to.” Following its initial 2003 evaluation, the organization concluded that, by the numbers, the American military was incapable of protecting the civilian population in Iraq from attacks. “And if the US military can’t ensure the safety of Iraqi civilians and itself poses a danger to them, what is its role in that country?”