October 16, 2006:
The British medical journal, The Lancet, has again turned over its pages to political propaganda pretending to be science. The latest report claims that a very flawed survey of the Iraqi population proves that military and terrorist operations have killed over 600,000 Iraqis in the past three years. Several things should be noted. First, the normal death rate of the Iraqi population would leave about 550,000 dead since early 2003. Second, the terrorist, and counter-terrorist, violence in Iraq is largely restricted to four of the 18 provinces. About a third of the population is involved, mainly because Baghdad is a principal battleground. But the Lancet study implies that a third of the population has suffered these losses, which means over seven percent of the people living in that area would have died since 2003. That's a lot of bodies. Where are they? Where are the standards required for statistics and data in a study like this? No matter, the Lancet did a similar study in 2004, just before the U.S. presidential elections. That study was eventually discredited, just as the recent one will be. The editors of The Lancet know that their statistical and data misdeeds will not be completely known, and condemned, for several months. Apparently, The Lancet believes they can get away with this sort of thing, because they do not run these kinds of deceptions with their regular medical material. That's great from a medical point of view, rather less appealing from a moral standpoint.