A team of doctors and epidemeiologists at Johns Hopkins have just published a paper in the Lancet concluding that since the U.S. occupation, 655,000 Iraqis have died who would have lived had Saddam Hussein remained in power. That’s a pretty stunningly high number, slightly more than the population of Baltimore. The study, to my amateur eye, looks imperfect but pretty thorough: They not only knocked on doors and asked about recent deaths of household members, but asked for death certificates as documentation.
This gives us a kind of ugly price tag showing the cost of the Iraq war to the Iraqis, and makes it awfully difficult to continue to argue that Iraq is better off now than it would have been with Saddam Hussein in power. President Bush said this afternoon that he finds the report “not credible.” He offered little reason why. At this point it is almost obscene that the midterm election is likely to turn on a turned-on Republican Congressman hitting on high school juniors.