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Why an Iraq Body Count?

When the IBC project was first launched, many expressed surprise, puzzlement, even disapproval. Though less prevalent now, misunderstanding about the project's aims still exists.

These pages explain the reasoning behind our work: why we do what we do.



  1. The human cost of war must be recorded
    • 1.1   War is an abomination whose defining characteristic is the organised killing of humans.
    • 1.2   Our common humanity demands the recording of war deaths.
    • 1.3   Every individual killed must be identified.
    • 1.4   We must use every available means to record and preserve knowledge of the dead.
  2. Knowledge of war deaths must be available to all
    • 2.1   The record of a war’s casualties must be made public.
    • 2.2   Knowledge of war’s casualties promotes a human-centred approach to conflict.
  3. US and UK citizens bear particular responsibility for events in Iraq
    • 3.1   The USA and UK led the attack on Iraq.
    • 3.2   No official, public record exists.
    • 3.3   Initiatives independent from government are required.
  4. Documenting violent civilian deaths is our current focus
    • 4.1   Violent deaths are war’s first and most unambiguous lethal outcome.
    • 4.2   The systematic recording of civilian deaths is neglected, when it should be a priority.
  5. Media reports are a vital source of casualty data
    • 5.1   Press and media reports are too rich and valuable a source to be neglected.
    • 5.2   Systematic data collection ensures that as little information as possible is lost.
    • 5.3   Reporting violence and its casualties is a staple activity of journalism.
  6. Casualty data can be put to use in many different ways
    • 6.1   Collecting incident details allows key trends and patterns to be revealed
    • 6.2   Information empowers people to act.
    • 6.3   Multiple uses can be made of casualty information.