October 29, 2004

Lancet Report Claims 100,000 Dead as Result of Iraq War

A bogus report published in the British Medical Journal The Lancet claims that more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians, mostly women and children, have died in Iraq as a result of the US led occupation. The bogus report concluded that death from violence was up 58% since the occupation began. Violence, concluded the mentally retarded and methodologically challenged authors, was now the number one cause of death in Iraq. Most of those deaths, said Timmy, were caused by coalition forces.

When asked about the methodological soundness of using a self-report survey of a population that believes Yassar Arafat is a hero, Jews control the world, the US is in Iraq to steal oil, beheading videos are sexier than porn, and that whenever Abu Musab al-Zarqawi kills a hostage 'it's the Yankee imperialist's fault', the authors responded by saying, "Timmy."

The bogus report goes on to claim that since the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported that the leading cause of death before the invasion was heart attack, this proves that John Kerry ought to be President rather than evil Bush-Hitler. Former officials in the Iraqi Ministry of Health could not be reached by The Jawa Report to confirm or deny whether heart attack induced by torture and/or Mustard Gas were included in the pre-war figures.

According to the BBC:

Lancet editor Richard Horton said: "Democratic imperialism has led to more deaths, not fewer. This political and military failure continues to cause scores of casualties among non-combatants."

He urged the coalition forces to rethink their strategy to "prevent further unnecessary human casualties".

Ladies and gentleman Brittain's premier unbiased journal of medical sciences.

UPDATE: Tim Worstall chimes in with a piece at Tech Central Station, and notes it in his blog today. His statistical analysis is wrong, but the rest of his article is right on. Let me just put on my methodology wonk's hat and add a couple of things. The 95% confidence level only means that assuming the method of data collection is valid, that the sample taken actually represents the population as a whole. After looking at their method of data collection and the baseline which with to compare the data I can state categorically that the study is completely bogus. The confidence level thus becomes meaningless.

As Sydney Smith noted in TCS two years ago, "The Lancet seems to have confused itself with a political organization. This is bad news for all of us. We already have newspapers, radio, and television to give us a biased view of the news. If we allow our scientific journals and professional associations to follow suit, then we lose the fundamental basis of freedom - the truth."

James at Outside the Beltway adds: ...contrary to the assertions of the researchers, of course people have an incentive to lie about civilian casualties. If nothing else, the Coalition will likely compensate them without much show of proof. And, of course, inflating the figures of civilian casualties obviously serves the cause of the insurgency. I also simply do not believe that the greatest cause of death to civilians has been Coalition air strikes, given their incredible precision and the indiscriminate violence of the terrorist elements.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:22 AM | Comments |