All you need to read in the other general journalsBMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b1617 (Published 21 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1617
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Dear Dr. Firster,
You recently highlighted the problem of violent deaths of civilians
from weapons used in Iraq, in BMJ Short Cuts (1). As one of the authors of
the study you summarize (2), I would just like to correct one description
of our findings: We do not actually report "14% [killed] in executions by
What we found in our analysis of Iraqi noncombatant deaths from short
-duration violent events was that 14% were killed by suicide bombs, 20%
were killed by small arms gunfire in open shootings and firefights, and
33% were killed by execution after abduction or capture. We did not
analyze for deaths from gunfire used in executions. This is partly
because the cause of death could not always be determined from reports;
particularly as executed victims’ bodies were often described as showing
multiple forms of injury from multiple weapons or methods (gunfire wounds
were often present, ranging from head wounds to extremity wounds, as well
as evidence of blunt force trauma, amputations, and severe mutilation).
As you note, men were the main victims of execution. For Iraqi female
civilians and children, events that involved air attacks or mortar attacks
were particularly dangerous.
Dr. Madelyn Hicks
1 Firster K. What weapons kill civilians in Iraq. BMJ 2009;338:976.
2 Hicks MH, Dardagan H, Guerrero Serdán G, Bagnall PM, Sloboda JA,
Spagat M. The Weapons That Kill Civilians — Deaths of Children and
Noncombatants in Iraq, 2003-2008. N Engl J Med 2009; 360:1585-1588.
Competing interests: No competing interests