The Lancet Study, Mach 2: Revenge Of The Bullspit
You may recall, if you’re the type to torture yourself with such things, a pretty widely debunked study that appeared in The Lancet that overstated the Iraqi civilian casualties after the first 18 months of the Iraq War by 300% or more, according to other widely respected and nonpartisan estimates, including those of human rights groups.
Now the same organization is back with a study that inflates the most widely held casualty count by over 1,000% – and they’re using the same ‘scientific’ methodology:
A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred. The estimate, produced by interviewing residents during a random sampling of households throughout the country, is far higher than ones produced by other groups, including Iraq’s government. It is more than 20 times the estimate of 30,000 civilian deaths that President Bush gave in a speech in December. It is more than 10 times the estimate of roughly 50,000 civilian deaths made by the British-based Iraq Body Count research group. The surveyors said they found a steady increase in mortality since the invasion, with a steeper rise in the last year that appears to reflect a worsening of violence as reported by the U.S. military, the news media and civilian groups. In the year ending in June, the team calculated Iraq’s mortality rate to be roughly four times what it was the year before the war. Of the total 655,000 estimated “excess deaths,” 601,000 resulted from violence and the rest from disease and other causes, according to the study. This is about 500 unexpected violent deaths per day throughout the country. The survey was done by Iraqi physicians and overseen by epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. The findings are being published online today by the British medical journal the Lancet. The same group in 2004 published an estimate of roughly 100,000 deaths in the first 18 months after the invasion. That figure was much higher than expected, and was controversial. The new study estimates that about 500,000 more Iraqis, both civilian and military, have died since then — a finding likely to be equally controversial.
Yes, I suspect it will, at that. As a public service the Lancet team has examined some other events in history and provided up to the minute ‘scientific’ estimates of losses:
Gettysburg: 4.78 million dead, 18.9 million wounded
Hiroshima: 1.93 billion dead, every living soul wounded
The recent Israeli/Hezbollah conflict: 450,000 dead, curiously, only 3 wounded….