Thursday, February 14, 2008

Iraqi casualty controversy continues

You may recall the recent firestorm, mainly on the right, over "revelations" that George Soros was the man behind that study of Iraqi casualties, published in the Lancet, that had pegged the number at around 600,000. Plus, errors in the study were alleged in the National Journal probe. The man who commissioned the study, MIT's John Tirman, responds to the charges in a new E&P column, claiming that Soros did not provide money for the study, just the publicity surrounding it, and standing by the research. It's here:


Bartman said...

Could someone refresh our memory about those pre-war days when Bush would chant about the rape rooms and all those Iraqis who were gassed; concerning how many he was claiming died under Saddam? My guess is we have bested the evil one when it comes to killing Iraqis.

Anonymous said...

I read the Lancet report in full and was satisfied that it used gold standard statistical methodology for counting excess deaths, the same methodology used in Rwanda. As I recall there was never a hint of controversy about Rwandan estimates. The caveats I had were over whether the sampled Iraqi areas were skewed toward those safer to poll. This is forgivable in a war zone, but it suggested to me that the count may have been an underestimate. The fact that 80% polled could produce death certificates was highly supportive of the final number, even under the unlikely assumption that the remaining 20% had lied.
The methods of those who have tried to smear these researchers, OTOH, seem to have become SOP for the U.S. right wing and their press outlets. For all their criticisms of post-modernist thought, many on the right are total relativists when it comes to science, truth, and objectivity, etc.
Plus, there's a huge portion of denial behind the smears. The number of dead, if accepted, would engender shame. The right wing doesn't do shame.

Anonymous said...

We can only hope the NJ authors are held to the same standards and suffer the same consequences they wish upon the Lancet authors

Anonymous said...

Bottom line? Knowing your political track record and animus for all things Bush? I simply don't believe you. Bullshit. Add in the fact that every single news organization on the face of the earth would have to be on Bush's side to keep from reporting those incredible numbers of deaths, which would have to have occurred on a daily basis, and it is nothing but pure bullshit.

Try again.

Anonymous said...

There is simply no independent media in this country except for the rare few surviving on readers' contributions. It wasn't shoddy journalism that trumpeted the faulty Iraqi WMD intelligence to the public - it was a collective decision by the power elite, in media, finance and politics, to support the invasion, colonization and robbery of Iraq for its oil. Journalists are not stupid - they could have pursued so many avenues to into the Iraqi threat story, but of course no one did. The more dead Iraqis the better for the purpose of "securing" American interests. However, the inconvenient near-holocaust death numbers will not be easy on the conscience of ordinary Americans and will make America look like the ruthless hegemon it really is. There will *never* be any media interest in this story, just as there wasn't any interest in Hans Blix's opinion.

greg said...

As Barbie used to say; "Math is hard."

It is quite clear to me that the reporters, editors and publishers at even the best of the best media outlets in the USA do not have the mathematical or logical skills required to even understand such a study. Screaming "George Soros" is much easier.