Friday, October 13, 2006

Lancet: Invasion caused 655,000 more Iraqi deaths

This is pretty sickening, but not really surprising given the devastation and chaos Iraq has suffered. Lancet is a very prestigious publication, and from what I've read their methodology seems sound. Majikthise:

A new study by American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that there have been 665,000 excess deaths in Iraq since the U.S. invasion of 2003. This study, published in the Lancet, is the best scientific estimate of deaths attributable to the invasion. All other methods for estimating the number of deaths pale beside a population based study.

Instead of extrapolating the death toll from police reports or media coverage, Iraqi scientists fanned out over the country and asked Iraqis how many members of their households had died since 2003.

Of course, the increasingly isolated klatch of people who still think Iraq was a good idea and that we're about to turn a corner in another Friedman or two are sliming this study with all they've got. According to Majikthise their arguments don't amount to much:

Here are today's popular bleats:

1. 655,000 is an awfully big number. That would mean that this war killed a whole lot of people. (Jane Galt)

2. If 770 extra people were dying in Iraq every day, why don't we hear about them on the news? (Gateway Pundit)

3. The study was published before the election. (Instapundit) (Political Pitbull)

4. The peer-reviewed paper must be bogus because the editor of the Lancet goes to anti-war rallies. (Anti-Idiotarian Rotweiler)

5. The pre-invasion death rates are too low. Surely, Saddam was filling mass graves two months before the invasion. (Chuck Simmins) [UPDATE: Chuck disputes this characterization of his views in a comment below, and I think he's right. He doesn't say Saddam was "filling mass graves". He merely pointed out that the pre-invasion violent death rate struck him as too low. I think he has a point. I wonder if there's some confusion as to what constitues a "violent death" according to the study's criteria.]

6. Those peacenik scientists wish there were more dead Iraqis. ("When the statistics announced by hospitals and military here, or even by the UN, did not satisfy their lust for more deaths, they resorted to mathematics to get a fake number that satisfies their sadistic urges," Omar Fadil.)

7. I just know the study's wrong, but I can't figure out how. Math people? (Michelle Malkin)

8. Sure the study's methodology is standard for public health resesarch. But don't forget that public health is a leftwing plot. (Medpundit)

9. These "statisticians" say that you can take a small sample from a large population and learn a lot about the whole population. As if. I'll believe those 665,000 Iraqis are dead when they tell me so. (Tim Blair)

Obviously, war supporters desperately don't want this to be true, because this many deaths completely overwhelms any possible nebulous down-the-road benefits that this war might someday bring in their deluded wingnut fantasyland. How bad does the news have to get before it penetrates their bubble of denial?

Possibly over half a million dead people because of Bush's criminal, insane, immoral, counter-productive misguided delusional boondoggle. Even if this excess death estimate is off by a factor of 3, it's still a number soul-numbingly large. I wish I had done more to oppose Bush and oppose this atrocity of a war.


Blogger Chuck said...

I am misquoted by the blogger which you link. There is nothing in my post concerning Saddam and mass graves. I make the point that to suggest that criminal murder, and suicide was virtually non-existent in pre-Liberation Iraq is laughable.

Chuck Simmins
America's North Shore Journal

4:31 AM, October 13, 2006  
Blogger Zachary Drake said...

Thanks for stopping by, Chuck. I went to your site and read your post and I agree that Majikthise didn't do your question about the study justice. I've updated my post to reflect what I think your view is. That pre-invasion violent death rate does seem a bit low to me.

5:01 AM, October 13, 2006  

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