CNN International interviewed pollster John Zogby, of Zogby International, about the statistical methodology used in the study, published in The Lancet, which concluded that more than 650,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the U.S. invasion, about 600,000 of them violently. Zogby said:
I can't vouch for it 100 percent, but I'll vouch for it 95 percent, which is as good as it gets in survey research. I know PIPA, the group at the university that conducted the polling in the U.S. I know of the group that -- the university that published and conducted the survey on the Iraq side. In fact, we've used them ourselves. These are good researchers. I have read their methodology statement. It is a good one and a sound one . . . in terms of the sampling of methodology that was used, this is sound and this is going to generate quite a bit of debate.
I don't think that there's anybody in my business who responsibly believes that 30,000 to 40,000 or 45,000 Iraqis have been killed since March of 2003.
Earlier today, President Bush dismissed the study, saying it was not credible.
Americans have an urgent responsibility to discover the truth about the number of Iraqi deaths. As Colin Powell famously said in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion, "If you break it, you own it." Our elected president made the decision to invade. He was supported by our elected representatives in Washington, who funded the invasion. As a nation, we are responsible for the consequences.
The numbers of dead revealed by the study are shocking, but future numbers are likely to be even more shocking. Our own Department of Defense uses a 10% rule-of-thumb for civilian deaths in any civil war. Based on these new numbers, one can only conclude that the civil war is well underway, as many experts have warned. We can therefore expect at least 2 million Iraqi deaths before this conflict has finished. Are we, as a nation, prepared to accept responsibility for those deaths and what are we doing to relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people? Has the Defense Department done the necessary planning for such a death toll? The study raises many troubling new questions about the mission in Iraq to which Americans must demand urgent answers.
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