Over a year ago an international team of epidemiologists, headed by Les Roberts of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, completed a cluster sample survey of civilian casualties in Iraq. Its findings contradicted central elements of what politicians and journalists had presented to the U.S. public and the world. After excluding any possible statistical anomalies, they estimated that at least 98,000 Iraqi civilians had died in the previous 18 months as a direct result of the invasion and occupation of their country. They also found that violence had become the leading cause of death in Iraq during that period. Their most significant finding was that the vast majority (79 percent) of violent deaths were caused by coalition forces using helicopter gunships, rockets or other forms of aerial weaponry, and that almost half (48 percent) of these were children, with a median age of 8.
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