I obviously can't vouch for this study's accuracy -- and like most of you I'm skeptical of this number only because it's so much higher than all the previous claims -- but the Wall Street Journal reports
A new study asserts that roughly 600,000 Iraqis have died from violence since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, a figure many times higher than any previous estimate.
...The Johns Hopkins team conducted its study using a methodology known as "cluster sampling." That involved randomly picking 47 clusters of households for a total 1,849 households, scattered across Iraq. Team members interviewed each household about any deaths in the family during the 40 months since the invasion, as well as in the year before the invasion. The team says it reviewed death certificates for 92% of all deaths reported. Based on those figures, it tabulated national mortality rates for various periods before and after the start of the war. The mortality rate last year was nearly four times the preinvasion rate, the study found.
The Daily Kos thread points out that proportionally
this is the equivalent of 7 million Americans dead as a result of foreign invasion.
So many people. It seems impossible.
Paul Bolton, a public-health researcher at Boston University who has reviewed the study, called the methodology "excellent" and said it was standard procedure in a wide range of studies he has worked on. "You can't be sure of the exact number, but you can be quite sure that you are in the right ballpark," he said.
...The study's lead researchers, Gilbert Burnham and Les Roberts of Johns Hopkins, have done studies in the Congo, Rwanda and other war zones. "This is a standard methodology that the U.S. government and others have encouraged groups to use in developing countries," said Mr. Burnham, who defended the study as "a scientifically extremely strong paper."