British Officials Accept Estimates of 600,000 Iraqi Deaths

As sectarian violence in Iraq continues to flare up despite a massive Bush-ordered military escalation, The Independent is reporting that British government officials have described as “sound” the methods used to estimate that more than 600,000 Iraqis have been killed since the invasion.

The study was conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and a Baghdad University and published in the respected medical journal The Lancet two years ago.

The study has been publicly rejected by the US and British governments. But recently declassified British government documents show that the chief scientific adviser to Britain’s Ministry of Defense described the methods used in the study as “robust” and “close to best practice.”

During the war, more than 3,240 US troops have also been killed, and conservative estimates of the numbers of troops wounded both physically and mentally are well over 50,000.

Commenting Tuesday on the refusal of President Bush to accept the electoral mandate for a new direction in Iraq by bringing the war to an end, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NB) characterized the effects of the war as “significant damage to our military” and “devastating to our country.”

Congress set the stage for a confrontation with Bush over the war policy by passing two bills that tie a timetable for withdrawal to new funding for the war.

Congressional Democratic leaders warned President Bush Wednesday that he must accept a timetable for withdrawal.

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