I just read this Washington Post article giving the numbers from Lancet on the civilian deaths in Iraq since the invasion. Awful data...even more shocking, this article is from October. Since then, many more civilians have died.
Both this and the earlier study are the only ones to estimate mortality in Iraq using scientific methods. The technique, called "cluster sampling," is used to estimate mortality in famines and after natural disasters.
The government response?
"The Department of Defense always regrets the loss of any innocent life in Iraq or anywhere else," said Lt. Col. Mark Ballesteros. "The coalition takes enormous precautions to prevent civilian deaths and injuries."
They love to make up new words for things though..."Excess" death? Like gee, I shouldn't have eaten that one extra slice of cake...it really put me over the top...not gee, I just murdered 650,000 people. These are dead people, not slight "boo-boos".