War, politics, and medicine
Should medical professionals take a stance on war? And what happens if we don't all agree? H Raza Ali discusses
In May this year bombs ravaged familiar territories in the Middle East-yet again. The international community is naturally concerned although by no means unanimous in its condemnation, polite toleration, or approval, as the case may be. Innocent citizens often die, and the number of deaths is reported occasionally by the media. Inevitably there will be arguments about this number, which affects political and public opinion profoundly.
Counting the number of deaths as a result of war is not a task charged to any particular agency. And should such an agency exist it would be more prone to bias than might be acceptable. Who, then, might most reliably count the dead? Doctors measure mortality and are concerned about the factors that determine it. War is just such a factor. It's only natural then that doctors measure mortality as a result of conflict.
Many published studies and articles have analysed every conceivable