a memorial for all wars: the Polynational War Memorial

Counting the dead is intrinsic to civilised society.

By: Jon Brunberg | posted: 3/16/2005 1:00:00 AM


The headline of this summary is taken from the first paragraph in the article linked to below written by Klim McPherson, visiting professor of public health epidemiology at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Oxford University. In his article he stresses the point that it is unacceptable that the governments of the so called civilized western societies try to sweep facts about war related death toll under the rug. Prof McPherson writes: "Counting casualties accurately can help to save lives both currently and in the future. Understanding the burden of death, injury, disease, and trauma that the population is currently suffering enables proper planning of war, and health, and in assessing local responses appropriately. In the future this should help government and military planners to assess the likely humanitarian implications of conflict.
The plain fact is that an estimate of 100 000 excess deaths attributable to the invasion of Iraq is alarming. This is already half the death toll of Hiroshima.7 Apart from the practical arguments, the principled ones stand and will always stand. Have we not learnt any lessons from the history of sweeping alarming numbers of deaths under the carpet? This is not something about which there can be any political discretion 60 years after Auschwitz. The UK government, acting on our behalf, ought to offer reasoned criticism of the existing estimates. It should pursue their public health responsibilities to count the casualties by using modern methods. Democracy requires this, as does proper responsibility under the Geneva Conventions."

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