The Lancet’s report that the US and coalition forces (but mainly the US Air Force) could have killed as many as 100,000 Iraqi civilians since the fall of Saddam in April 2003, is based on extrensive household survey research. Previous estimates for civilian deaths since the beginning of the war ranged up to 16,000, with the number of Iraqi troops killed during the war itself put at about 6,000. The figure of 16,000 comes from counting all deaths reported in the Western press, and is known to be an underestimate.
The figure of 100,000 is based on statistical extrapolation from a small number, and there is therefore a very big margin of error. But it cannot be dismissed out of hand.
The researchers found that the vast majority of the deaths were the result of US aerial bombardment of Iraqi cities and that, as is always the case with this kind of warfare, it has been especially hard on the elderly, women and children.