An excess mortality of 654 965 people in Iraq since March 2003 was the new estimate reported by the Lancet yesterday. 601 027 of those deaths are attributed to violence, mostly gunfire, in this Johns Hopkins study of 1849 households randomly chosen in 16 of the 18 governorates of Iraq.About 30% of those deaths would be attributable to US military actions. For a positive evaluation of this study, see Juan Cole’s Informed Comment page. For understandably negative views, see the UK Foreign Office, or our own president.On 12 December 2005, President Bush said about 30,000 Iraqis had been killed since the war began. On what basis did he give this number? Perhaps the Iraq Body Count at the time. But the Iraq Body Count keeps an unscientific tally that is simply based on news reports. Its numbers today for civilians killed by military intervention in Iraq are 43 850 (min)—48 693 (max).