[ASC-media] Media Release: Ignoring Iraqi Death Toll Labelled a "Holocaust
science at control.com.au
Mon May 31 00:19:46 EST 2004
31 May 2004
For immediate release
Ignoring Iraqi Death Toll Labelled a "Holocaust Denial"
As the international debate about the outcome of last year's war in Iraq
escalates, an Australian scientist has ignited the largely suppressed issue
of the resulting death toll.
American authorities have consistently refused to quote casualties other
than among Coalition troops (805 deaths, according to a current United
Nations report). The UN puts the deaths of Iraqi soldiers at 11,000, while
estimates of the collateral deaths of Iraqi civilians from the war have
varied from 8,875-10,275 (UN) to 21,700-55,000 (Medact, UK, November 2003).
Now, in a conScience column in the June issue of Australasian Science
magazine, published today, Dr Gideon Polya reports calculations of another
measure from the "excess mortality" attributable to the war. He explains
this is "the difference between the actual deaths observed in a country and
the mortality expected for a properly run, peaceful society with the same
Dr Polya has been researching and writing a scientific analysis of global
mortality. This involves summarising mortality and its causes for all parts
of the world throughout history. The ultimate aim is to address the
avoidable human mortality that accounts for the approximately 20 million
people who die each year from deprivation and malnourishment-related causes.
His startling estimate is that, for Iraq, excess mortality and infant
mortality are "currently of the order of 100,000 per year, or about 300 per
"Excess mortality and infant mortality have declined dramatically for nearly
all developing countries outside Africa over the past 50 years. In Iraq,
excess mortality and infant mortality reached a minimum in the 1980s.
However, this decline reversed after the 1991 Gulf War."
According to UNICEF, in 2001 the under-5 infant mortality was 109,000 in
Iraq, which has a population of about 24 million, compared with about 1000
in Australia (population 20 million).
"The total excess mortality in Iraq, calculated using United Nations data,
is 5.2 million since 1950 and 1.5 million for the period 1991-2004," Dr
Polya writes. "The huge excess mortality in Iraq since 1950 is similar in
magnitude to that of the Jewish Holocaust (six million victims) and the
'forgotten' manmade World War II Bengal Famine (four million Muslim and
Dr Polya recently retired as a senior biochemist at La Trobe University.
Deploring the lack of reporting of the real death toll in Iraq, he
concludes: "The occupying Coalition, including Australia, is clearly
responsible for the continuing excess mortality and infant mortality in Iraq
Ignoring mass human mortality in Iraq amounts to holocaust denial."
Please cite AUSTRALASIAN SCIENCE MAGAZINE as the source of this story.
Dr Gideon Polya on (03) 9459 3649.
The full article can be downloaded as a PDF at www.control.com.au
For permission to reproduce the full text (500 words) call the Editor, Guy
Nolch, on (03) 9500 0015. A photo of Dr Polya in his lab is available on
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