Iraq Body Count

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Iraq Body Count (IBC) describes itself as “an ongoing human security project which maintains and updates the world’s only independent and comprehensive public database of media-reported civilian deaths in Iraq that have resulted from the 2003 military intervention by the USA and its allies. The count includes civilian deaths caused by coalition military action and by military or paramilitary responses to the coalition presence (e.g. insurgent and terrorist attacks).” [1]

However, as Medialens notes: “In reality, IBC is not primarily an Iraq Body Count, it is not even an Iraq Media Body Count, it is an Iraq Western Media Body Count.” [2]

One of the world’s leading professional epidemiologists, anonymously noted in an email to medialens that:

IBC is run by amateurs. It is easy to calculate the sensitivity of their surveillance system. They would take another list or independent sample, and see the fraction of that sample that appeared in their data base. I have asked them to do this over a year ago, they have not.
There are other databases out there (NCCI being the most complete), they could do a capture-recapture analysis (as lots of experts have been calling for) and see how many people have died but they have not.[3]

On June 15, 2006, Iraq Body Count estimated that between 38,355 to 42,747 civilians have died in Iraq. [4] This came on the same day when it was announced that the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq has reached 2,500 with the death of a marine. [5]


"IBC's methodology was devised by Marc Herold, a professor of economics at the University of New Hampshire. Herold has tracked deaths in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion of 2001. It was Herold's Afghan Victim Memorial Project that inspired John Sloboda to set up IBC." [6]


Contact details

Email: Web:

External links

Media Lens critique


  1. About the Iraq Body Count project (Accessed:10 June 2010; but link changed and content too)
  2. Medialens, "Media alert update: Iraq Body Count refuses to respond", Medialens Alert, 14 March 2006. (Accessed: 22 June 2010)
  3. Medialens, Iraq Body Count - a shame becoming shameful, Medialens Alert, 10 April 2006. (Accessed: 22 June 2010)
  4. Main Page (Accessed: 10 June 2010; statistics are constantly updated and this is a fungible link.)
  5. US death toll in Iraq hits 2,500, BBC Online, 15 June 2006.
  6. [1]
  7. [2]
  8. [3]