Saddam Hussein said sanctions killed 500,000 children. That was ‘a spectacular lie.’

The Washington Post reports: During the rush to wage war in Iraq in the early 2000s, one figure widely cited both to justify and oppose the U.S.-led invasion was that more than 500,000 children had died as a result of U.N.-imposed sanctions in the previous decade.

Nearly two decades later, researchers at the London School of Economics have concluded that the figure simply wasn’t true.

Instead, child mortality figures provided to the United Nations were deliberately doctored by Saddam Hussein’s government to discredit the international community, the researchers said in a new report published by the British Medical Journal of Global Health.

“The government of Iraq cleverly manipulated survey data to fool the international community,” the report said, describing the figure of 500,000 deaths as “a massive fraud.”

“Following its creation and dissemination the deception received considerable attention and was widely believed to be true. Moreover, it continues to be influential,” said Tim Dyson and Valerie Cetorelli, who wrote the report and are with the London School of Economics. [Continue reading…]

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