Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The End of the World

The folks running the Iraq Casualty Count website have been criticized for being too conservative in accepting reports of civilians killed by any side.

Just how conservative came to light today in a report from the United Nations using the number of death certificates issued by Baghdad morgue. The Iraq Casualty website registered 1,094 fatalities in March and 1,010 in April. The death certificates for those two months were 1,294 and 1,155, respectively. That’s a difference of 15%. But remember, the death certificates are for Baghdad only, so 15% is the minimum. Cause of death was almost universally attributed to a gunshot.

The UN report also said that 85,000 Iraqis had been forced to flee the sectarian violence during these same two months.

Other statistics point to a population on the move, prodded by bombs and bullets. The New York Times said that 7% of Iraq’s population – 1.85 million – had been issued passports. Within this number are a quarter of the middle class.

In the last 17 months, just over 39,550 letters from the education ministry have been sent to parents wishing to take their children’s academic records abroad – presumably with the children.

Neighboring countries are being deluges by émigrés: Jordan has an estimated million Iraq’s.

An Iraqi acquaintance closed her last email: “it seems the end of the world will come soon.” Iraq is going from middle class to murder class.

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