Global Avoidable Mortality

AVOIDABLE MORTALITY - or EXCESS MORTALITY - is the difference between the ACTUAL mortality in a country and the mortality EXPECTED in a peaceful, decently-run country with the same demographics. AVOIDABLE MORTALITY and INFANT MORTALITY are KEY INDICATORS of the HUMAN CONSEQUENCES of national and global policies.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Occupied Afghanistan and Iraq Body Count

Dr Gideon Polya

What has been the human cost of the US War on Terror involving the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq?

Avoidable mortality (excess mortality) and under-5 infant mortality are powerful indicators of the human cost of global and national circumstances [1] and have been estimated for Afghanistan and Iraq in the post-1950 era using United Nations Population Division data [2].

The human cost of violent First World involvements with Iraq can be assessed for various periods, namely the whole post-1950 era (1950-2005); the Gulf War and Sanctions War (1991-2003); the Gulf War onwards (1991-2005); and the continuing Iraq War (2003-2005).

The the total avoidable mortality and under-5 infant mortality in Iraq have been 5.3 million and 3.4 million, respectively (1950-2005); 1.3 million and 0.9 million (1991-2003); 1.7 million and 1.2 million (1991-2005); and 0.4 million and 0.3 million, respectively (for the period 2003-2005).

The human cost of violent First World impositions in Afghanistan can be assessed for various periods, namely the whole post-1950 era (1950-2005); the period between the Soviet and US invasions and involving US-backed resistance and civil war (1979-2001); the period since the Soviet invasion up to and including the present US occupation (1979-2005); and the continuing US-led Afghanistan War (2001-2005).

The total avoidable mortality and under-5 infant mortality in Afghanistan have been 16.6 million and 11.5 million, respectively (1950-2005); 6.5 million and 4.9 million (1979-2001); 8.0 million and 6.1 million (1979-2005); and 1.5 million and 1.2 million, respectively (for the period 2001-2005).

The very latest UNICEF report (2005) [3] estimates that in 2003 the under-5 infant mortality was 110,000 in Iraq and 292,000 in Afghanistan as compared to 1,000 in the invading and occupying Coalition country Australia (noting that in 2003 these countries had similar populations of about 25, 24 and 20 million, respectively).

The Ruler is responsible for the Ruled and the horrendous post-invasion avoidable mortality in the Occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories is largely due to grossly insufficient provision of life-preserving requisites by the Occupying Coalition [4, 5]. Thus in 2004 the annual per capita medical expenditure in the Occupied Iraqi and Afghanistan Territories was less than 1% (ONE PERCENT) of that in Metropolitan USA. [4, 5].

From mainstream media and official US and Israeli sources it can be estimated that jihadists and Arab insurgents have killed about 5,000 Western civilians over the last 20 years. US military deaths have been 148 (the Gulf War) [6, 7, 8], 208 (Afghanistan 2001-2005) [9] and 1,746 (Iraq, 2003-2005) [9]. The avoidable mortality associated with direct US military intervention in Iraq (1991-2005) and Afghanistan (2001-2005) totals 3.2 million, giving a "death ratio" of "enemy" avoidable mortality/US military deaths of 3.2 million/2,102 = 1,522; the "death ratio" of "enemy" under-5 infant mortality/US military deaths has been 2.4 million/2,102 = 1,142.

In comparison, in World War 2 the "death ratio" of "enemy deaths"/Allied military deaths was 0.6 and the ratio of "enemy deaths"/US military deaths was 37. The huge post-war increase in the "death ratio" of "enemy civilian and military deaths"/US military deaths has been due to "improved" US technology in the areas of aerial bombardment from afar, saving the lives of wounded soldiers and training of soldiers to overcome the natural human disinclination to kill fellow human beings. US "high tech" war destroys from afar and kills huge numbers of civilians (mostly children) mainly through societal disruption and infrastructure destruction. US "high tech" war minimizes politically-unpopular military deaths at the expense of enormous civilian deaths [10].

There is an immense disparity between the ostensible basis of the "War on Terror" , namely 5,000 Western civilian deaths from terrorism (notably the 3,000 victims of the 9/11 atrocities) and the horrendous avoidable mortality in post-invasion Iraq and Afghanistan (1.9 million). Thus the so-called "War on Terror" should more reasonably be called a "War for Oil" , a "War on Muslims" or a "War on Muslim Women and Children" [11].


[1] For detailed links to writings by Gideon Polya on avoidable global mortality consult his website (see:
[2] United Nations, Department of Economic & Social Affairs, Population Division, "World Population Prospects: The 2002 Revision Population Database" (for the latest 2004 Revision update see:
[3] UNICEF report, 2005 (see:
[4] Gideon Polya, Countercurrents, 11 March 2005, "Passive genocide in Iraq" (see:
[5] Gideon Polya, Countercurrents, 23 March 2005, "Shiavo case quantitates genocidal US racism" (see:
[6] CNN, "Gulf War facts" (see:
[7] William Nordhaus, "The economic consequences of war with Iraq" (see:
[8] William Hartung, "The hidden costs of war" (see:
[9] Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, 2005 (see:
[10] Gideon Polya, Media Monitors Network, 11 July 2005, "The economic and human cost of Israel & US empire" (see:
[11] Gideon Polya, News Central Asia, June 2005, "Orwellian Anglo-American War on Muslim Women and Children" (see:


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