“To generalize about war is like generalizing about peace. Almost everything is true. Almost nothing is true.” ― Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
As tensions between the U.S. and Iran seem to be growing, I think it’s important to remember how destructive the war with neighboring Iraq was.
Estimating civilian casualties is a notoriously difficult task (Roberts 2010), though several studies have attempted to elucidate how many civilians died as a result of the war (below). These were done at different points in time and primarily entailed through surveys that inquired about deaths in a sampling of households. Some of these studies included violent deaths only, while others looked at “excess deaths” that included deaths directly due to violent causes and indirect ones due to a breakdown in infrastructure. Estimates ranged from 8,000 to as high as 940,000+.