As the United States begins bombing the Iraqi city of Tikrit and again delays a withdrawal from Afghanistan, a new report has found that the Iraq War has killed about one million people
. The Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and other groups examined the toll from the so-called war on terror in three countries — Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The investigators found “the war has, directly or indirectly, killed around one million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan
. Not included in this figure are further war zones such as Yemen. The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware. … And this is only a conservative estimate.” The true tally, they add, could be more than two million. We are joined by two guests who worked on the report: Hans von Sponeck, former U.N. assistant secretary-general and U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, who in 2000 resigned his post in protest of the U.S.-led sanctions regime; and Dr. Robert Gould, president of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: U.S.-led coalition warplanes have begun bombing the Iraqi city of Tikrit in an attempt to seize control of the city from the self-described Islamic State. The assault on Tikrit began three weeks ago when Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shiite militia launched a ground offensive. The U.S. airstrikes now squarely put Washington and Tehran on the same side in the fight, though the Obama administration insists it’s not coordinating military operations with Iran. The Pentagon stressed that the airstrikes are aimed to help Iraqi forces defeat the Islamic State, but by all accounts it has been Iranian-backed militias leading the ground attack in Tikrit, the hometown of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, had been on the ground advising the militias in Tikrit as recently as Sunday.
Meanwhile, in other Iraq news, a new report has found the Iraq War has killed about one million people. The Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and other groups examined the toll from the so-called war on terror in three countries—Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The investigators found the war has, directly or indirectly, killed around one million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan, a total of about 1.3 million.
We’re joined now by two guests who worked on the report. Hans von Sponeck is with us, former U.N. assistant secretary-general and U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, who in 2000 resigned his post in protest of the U.S.-led sanctions regime. He’s the author of A Different Kind of War: The UN Sanctions Regime in Iraq. Von Sponeck is currently teaching at the University of Marburg in Germany, joining us by Democracy Now! video stream. And Dr. Robert Gould is with us from San Francisco, the president of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. He wrote the foreword for the new international edition of the report, called “Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the ‘War on Terror.’”
Dr. Robert Gould, the figures laid out in this report say 1.3 million people have died in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in [Pakistan]. And it says that this could possibly be not an overestimate; it says it’s the minimum numbers. It could possibly be as high as two million. Can you talk about the significance of what these figures mean?
DR. ROBERT GOULD: Well, these are, as you relate, incredible figures in terms of the total counts, and they compare markedly with those estimates that have come out of organizations such as Iraq Body Count in the past, which use very—what are known as passive methods of detecting casualties in war, because they rely on official reports and morgues and things like that to arrive at their estimates. But obviously those type of methods really lack the ability to determine the full cost of war, given that, particularly in the type of warfare we witnessed in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere, many of these deaths are really silent, in the sense that people are killed by death squads, they’re killed by bombing raids, that are really off the records, and we don’t get to really understand the full impact of the war. That’s why a number of the people who are incorporated within the new issue of “Body Count,” in terms of looking at the totality of the reports, there’s a very important examination of what we—of more active methods of sampling. And these are methods that have been used in diverse places such as Sudan, the Congo, for their various horrible war situations, as well. So, what this report really does is bring to us, in its North American release, a really fuller accounting of what the human costs of that war have been, which, you know, just listening to the headlines on the news this morning that you’ve related, we could still see the impacts of the destabilization that we, our government and allies, have created in Iraq and elsewhere.