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Friday, 20 October 2006
Reality checks: some responses to the latest Lancet estimates
Once again it seems the Lancet has released a new Study, just before an American election. That is not an unjust claim they have stated as much, that was the reason for the timing of it's release.

As to be expected, the opinions line up.

Some will believe anything as long as it is damaging to America.

Some will refuse to believe anything that is damaging to America.

But some will actually analyze the data.

To which both sides, will claim that the analysis is biased. All to be expected.


When one of the Preeminent Anti=Stop the War-NOW NGOs releases a statement that they think the Lancet study is so fatally flawed as to be worthless, and indeed constitutes a grave disservice to the Anti-War movement, it must be taken under consideration.

The Iraq Body Count Org is by no means a center of Neo-Con militarism. Quite to the contrary they definitely oppose the War, but they do seem to have a radical degree of intellectual honesty.

It is from their website I take the following.

Reality checks: some responses to the latest Lancet estimates

Hamit Dardagan, John Sloboda, and Josh Dougherty


A new study has been released by the Lancet medical journal
estimating over 650,000 excess deaths in Iraq. The Iraqi mortality
estimates published in the Lancet in October 2006 imply, among
other things, that:

  1. On average, a thousand Iraqis have been violently killed every
    single day in the first half of 2006, with less than a tenth of
    them being noticed by any public surveillance mechanisms;

  2. Some 800,000 or more Iraqis suffered blast wounds and other
    serious conflict-related injuries in the past two years, but less
    than a tenth of them received any kind of hospital treatment;

  3. Over 7% of the entire adult male population of Iraq has
    already been killed in violence, with no less than 10% in the
    worst affected areas covering most of central Iraq;

  4. Half a million death certificates were received by families
    which were never officially recorded as having been issued;

  5. The Coalition has killed far more Iraqis in the last year
    than in earlier years containing the initial massive "Shock and
    Awe" invasion and the major assaults on Falluja.

If these assertions are true, they further imply:

In the light of such extreme and improbable implications, a
rational alternative conclusion to be considered is that the
authors have drawn conclusions from unrepresentative data. In
addition, totals of the magnitude generated by this study are
unnecessary to brand the invasion and occupation of Iraq a human
and strategic tragedy.


Download Press Release (pdf)

I will conclude with a section of the Concluding remarks

We would hope that, before accepting such extreme notions, serious consideration is given to the possibility that the population estimates derived from the Lancet study are flawed. The most likely source of such a flaw is some bias in the sampling methodology such that violent deaths were vastly over-represented in the sample. The precise potential nature of such bias is not clear at this point (it could, for example, involve problems in the application of a statistical method originally designed for studying the spread of disease in a population to direct and ongoing violence-related phenomena). But to dismiss the possibility of such bias out of hand is surely both irresponsible and unwise.

All that has been firmly documented as a result of the Lancet study is that some 300 post-invasion violent deaths occurred among the members of the households interviewed.

I have provided the links for those who wish to read the statement in toto.

Rather than stick their fingers in their ears, close heir eyes and start chanting Nyah nyah Nyah nyah.

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Posted by ky/kentuckydan at 7:29 AM CDT
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Updated: Friday, 20 October 2006 7:58 AM CDT

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