Whatever our attitude is towards the presence of Coalition and Private Military Forces in Iraq, everyone needs to accept that the violent death toll it has (and still is) experiencing since the invasion has been (and continues) to be horrendous.
At last, however, we have a feasible survey giving us an indication of the numbers involved between March 2003 to June 2006.
For this period Iraq Body Count came up with a figure of 47,668. Although it has always shown that its figures are only from firmly verifiable cases and have, therefore, always been a minimum figure. We were then given the figure of 601,027 violent deaths for this period from a highly problematic survey in the Lancet.
The Lancet figure is extrapolated via death count meters (such as the one above) which appears on the blogs of many who are committed to an immediate "Troops Out" stance. The meters claim that their figure shows the latest death count.
Now, however, what seems to me to be the most feasible estimate of the numbers of violent deaths over the period of the Lancet's survey has just been published. "The Iraq Family Health Survey Study" groups has come up with a figure of 151,000. It is well worth reading this.
Their figure is three times larger that of Iraq Body Count and four times smaller than the Lancet's wild guess. So the figure on the meter at the top of this post needs to be divided at least by 4 - with the possibility that the rate of violent deaths (which are still terrible) may recently have declined.
But in my mind, I will in future divide the death count meter figures by four. That still gives a figure that should lead us all to give our hearts and minds towards what we can do to further the future well-being of the Iraqi people. We are in a better position to do this when we know just what the above terrible facts are.