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Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Lancet's latest

The Lancet study (pdf file) extrapolating numbers to reach an estimated 655,000 dead in Iraq has generated a lot of questions (yes, I read it. I suggest you read it too, if you haven't already). From my point of view, the methodology is analogous to a group of researchers going to 40 households in the highest crime areas and the areas with the highest mortality rates in our country and then extrapolating that amount to the rest of the country without bothering to even ask where are the dead buried or asking what were the causes of deaths.

Additionally, I question why anyone would take seriously a study where the margin of error is +/- 200,000. Back when I was majoring in economics any of my professors would have laughed me out of the classroom if I came up with something like that. "Give or take a few hundred thousand" didn't cut it with them.

To illustrate how absurd the numbers are: The population of Iraq according to this site is 26,783,383. If you look at the margin of error of the study, the margin of error alone is .7% of the total population of the country. Again, where are the bodies? Why base a study on interviews instead of actual death certificates and/or surveys of actual burials? Surely devastation in that scale can be verified by visiting areas across the country since not all areas are as dangerous. Not only that, according to the UN Development Programme Iraq Living Conditions Survey 2004
The Living Conditions Survey data indicates 24,000 [war related] deaths, with a 95 percent confidence interval from 18,000 to 29,000 deaths
A compilation of deaths reported by news agencies shows the number at 14,328.

The Husband says that supposedly 90% of the deaths claimed by interviewees were backed by death certificates. This means that 90% of the deaths that the study is mentioning were reported to the authorities and recorded. Why is The Lancet claiming TEN TIMES more deaths than those reported in the official death reports?

Medpundit (via Instapundit) and Rick Moran question the findings.

When I read the report I can only feel apathy and inhumanity from those who did the count towards the victims and towards our suffering as a whole. I can tell they were so pleased when the equations their twisted minds designed led to those numbers and nothing can convince me that they did their so called research out of compassion or care.
To me their motives are clear, all they want is to prove that our struggle for freedom was the wrong thing to do. And they shamelessly use lies to do this…when they did not find the death they wanted to see on the ground, they faked it on paper! They disgust me…
This fake research is an insult to every man, woman and child who lost their lives.
Behind every drop of blood is a noble story of sacrifice for a just cause that is struggling for living safe in freedom and prosperity.
Let those fools know that nothing will stop us from walking this road and nothing will stop our friends and allies from helping us reach safe shores. There’s simply no going back even if it cost us more and their fake statistics will not frighten us…our sacrifices, like I said, make us proud because our bloods are not digits in those ugly papers. Our sacrifices are paving the way for future generations to live the better life we couldn’t live.
(technorati tags )


At 2:28 PM, Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Looked at this in my October Surprises bit... just how they get these numbers when the demographics are pointing in the *exact* opposite direction is beyond me. With infant mortality down, life expectancy up, and the overall death rate down between 2002 and 2006, just where, exactly, are all these dead folks and *why* have they not influenced the demographics to no change at all which is about what you would expect if they were right.

Pure hit piece written all over it.


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