Iraq figure has little basis in reality

To the Editor:

In his column “In Iraq, liberal label applied a bit too liberally” (3/25), Ishaan Tharoor claims that “100,000 Iraqis have lost their lives over the past two years because of the threat of WMDs.” The only thing being “applied a bit too liberally” is Tharoor’s use of fact. 100,000 Iraqis have not died since the U.S.-led operations began. By the most extreme estimates (iraqbodycount.net), 19,600 civilians have been killed in Iraq, many of whom have been killed by insurgents, not coalition troops. How Tharoor calculates the other 80,000 is a mystery. During military operations when U.S. troops first invaded, there was virtually no resistance by an Iraqi army, precluding the possibility of the death of thousands of Saddam’s troops. The other possibility is that 80,000 Iraqi insurgents have been killed — an absurd proposition by anyone’s standards. If Tharoor is going to make an argument against the “current disastrous blunder in Iraq,” he should do it without egregiously manipulating statistics.

Keith Urbahn ’06

March 26, 2005

The writer is a columnist for the News.


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