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Tilting at Windmills

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October 11, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE DEATH RATE IN IRAQ....A team at Johns Hopkins has done another study of the post-invasion death rate in Iraq:

A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.

....Of the total 655,000 estimated "excess deaths," 601,000 resulted from violence....Of the violent deaths that occurred after the invasion, 31 percent were caused by coalition forces or airstrikes, the respondents said.

This is remarkable. If you do the arithmetic, it means that coalition forces have killed 186,000 Iraqis in the 39 months between the invasion and the period when the study was done. That's about 4,700 per month and the numbers are on a steady upward trend.

This study was done by the same team that did a similar "cluster sampling" analysis in 2004 that generated a huge amount of controversy. As near as I can tell, though, their methodology turned out to be sound and the objections mostly didn't hold water. (For example, they were accused of inflating the figures by including a cluster from Fallujah, which had just gone through a horrific battle. In fact, they specifically excluded the Fallujah cluster for exactly that reason.) This time around, the figures from their new study buttress the previous one, and also match up with other data, which suggests their methodology is on target.

There is, of course, a fair amount of inherent uncertainty in this study. There's a roughly 10% chance the true figure could be half the reported size and a 10% chance it could be double the reported size. Still, the most likely figure is the one the Johns Hopkins team reported, and if it's accurate it means that coalition troops are killing nearly 5,000 Iraqis per month. That's truly an astonishing number.

UPDATE: I only had the Washington Post report to go on when I wrote this last night, and I guessed wrong about the statistical accuracy of the study. The paper is here, and in fact there's only about a 2% chance that the true figure is either half or double the reported figure.

That's based strictly on the chance of statistical sampling error. It's also possible that there are additional methodological problems (people lying to the researchers, for example), but that's a separate issue.

Kevin Drum 2:02 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (313)

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estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.

Yeah, how did they account for the actuarial instability of living under a murderous dictator? All Saddam would need to do to throw their "expected" rate of death model out the window is to direct his Army to start gasing some more villages, or launch another war, or have the secret police get more aggressive in their meting out of punishment. Life in Iraq never had the actuarial stability of life in the Connecticut suburbs.

Posted by: TangoMan on October 11, 2006 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

What's also incredible is the fact that those 4,700 a month being killed by coalition forces are less than 1/3 the total number of people being killed/otherwise dying who otherwise would not be.

Is it in fact that case that 10,000 people are being killed each month by fellow Iraqis? Am I wrong to draw this conclusion from your post?

Both serious questions, not snark.

Posted by: abjectfunk on October 11, 2006 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

All Saddam would need to do to throw their "expected" rate of death model out the window is to direct his Army to start gasing some more villages, or launch another war, or have the secret police get more aggressive in their meting out of punishment.

Or the US/UN could have stopped the sanctions, of course. That would also have thrown the expected death rate out quite a bit, one would think.

Posted by: floopmeister on October 11, 2006 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

I think adjectives like "astonishing" really deserve to be replaced with "horrifying" or "appalling," don't you? Or hell, how about "shameful"? Lots of civilian deaths, lots of two-year-olds and twelve-year-olds and eighty-year-olds dead unnecessarily. Much good the wonders of what our Fearless Leader likes to call "a democratic Iraq" are doing for them.

Posted by: Wendy on October 11, 2006 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

Tangoman makes the mistake of believeing that because Saddam killed so many people before their time it's OK if we do, maybe "because they would have died anyway".

Unfortunately it is now the US that is at least indirectly responsible for ALL those deaths from all causes other than natural: malnutrition, diseased water, poor medical care, gunshot, explosives, lack of pre- and post-natal care, etc. We are the occupying power. We are in charge. Not the ineffective, unempowered politicians sheltering in the Green Zone or getting shot elsewhere.

Still. Wouldn't expect any Repugnut to accept responsibility for their actions of choice.

Even if the figure is 327,000, that is horrifying.

No wonder the US governance never wanted to keep count of deaths. Arseholes!

Posted by: notthere on October 11, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

TangledMind: Life in Iraq never had the actuarial stability of life in the Connecticut suburbs.

Where Joe Lieberman puts his life on the line to keep them safe!

abjectfunk: Is it in fact that case that 10,000 people are being killed each month by fellow Iraqis? Am I wrong to draw this conclusion from your post?

Yes. You are not accounting for deaths which came as a result of the invasion, but which were not directly caused by combat. Starvation, untreated illness, hazards in the environment, etc. are examples.

Posted by: GoNed! on October 11, 2006 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

Tango: Sure, he could have, but he didn't. All the study is trying to do is compare what actually happened in the few years before the invasion with what happened in the few years after. The pre-invasion figures are pretty close to estimates from other sources, and are probably fairly reliable.

This isn't an argument for or against the invasion. (At least, that's not the argument I'm making.) However, it is an argument that we're fighting a full fledged war in Iraq. That's bad news.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on October 11, 2006 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

You get the idea - 665,000 "commas."

Posted by: Joyfully Subversive on October 11, 2006 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

If you do the arithmetic, it means that coalition forces have killed 186,000 Iraqis in the 39 months between the invasion and the period when the study was done.

Who says we don't know what we're doing? Huh? Them's some goddamn good figgers, right there!

A couple more years of this, and both the eye-rackees left in the country will love us, you bet!

Posted by: craigie on October 11, 2006 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

"Mr. and Mrs Smith - we regret to inform you your "comma" was killed in action. Please take this flag as a consolation prize."

Posted by: Joyfully Subversive on October 11, 2006 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

GoNed - I think abjectfunk was right. The article claims that 601,000 of the 655K deaths were the result of violence (with your examples covering the rest). If 31% were due to coalition actions, the other 69% have to be Iraqi deaths caused by Iother Iraqis or foreighn insurgents. That 69% equals 414690 deaths over 39 months (lets call it 40 to be safe) which would be about 10.350 Iraaqi deaths per months that are the result of non-coalition initiated violence.

Posted by: MattR on October 11, 2006 at 2:33 AM | PERMALINK

If the same methodology was used 2 years ago giving a number 1/6 of the latest estimate, that is quite significant, regardless of the accuracy.
Considering the number of attacks the US troops are suffering (up to 900/wk, according to Woodward), it's not hard to extrapolate several thousand iraqis being killed by US troops every month.

Posted by: Marky on October 11, 2006 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

MattR - good points, but I would argue that the sectarian violence is a by-product of the invasion. Nobody loved Saddam Hussein, probably not even his own mother, and he did have his fair-share of people killed. But no where near 10K a month.

Posted by: Joyfully Subversive on October 11, 2006 at 2:37 AM | PERMALINK

Not to split hairs but the analysis didn't generate controversy, the result did.

You're right that the methodology was meticulous and correct. Criticism of it was strictly of the bullshit variety. For certain people the result was unacceptable and going after statistics itself was the only alternative to accepting reality.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on October 11, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

I found this comment from one of the Hopkins researchers to be a key.

Burnham said that the estimate of Iraq's pre-invasion death rate -- 5.5 deaths per 1,000 people -- found in both of the Hopkins surveys was roughly the same estimate used by the CIA and the U.S. Census Bureau. He said he believes that attests to the accuracy of his team's results.

Makes it harder to argue with the methodology when it yields the exact same answers as other group's using potentially different methods.

Posted by: MattR on October 11, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

Only a matter of time before some innumerate troll wanders in and claims that it's stoopid to extrapolate 600k excess deaths from 629 surveyed deaths. There are community college statistics courses taking enrollment.

Posted by: ahem on October 11, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

We need to send President Bush, Laura Bush, the two Bush girls, Mr. Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Mr. Cheney, Mr. Rove, maybe Denny Hastert and Joe Lieberman to the front lines, in appropriate early design bullet proof vests and ill-equipped Hummers, all to do what theyre suggesting. I love the columnists who suggest we can't "cut and run" and suggest instead that we keep our young people in the military in harms way so they can be killed to correct those clowns mistakes. Maybe some of the other liars, too, could join the crew I have named above of first rate idiots who, along with the neocons we could add like Wolfowitz & Co. to the newly created battalion, to rectify the situation. Remember, needlessly killing our young people isn't something we like to mention when proposing solutions about messes created by Bush & Co. like Iraq or Afghanistan; it's all lofty ideas and solutions. The alternative is to let the locals solve their own problems and for our government to work on real strategic solutions to existing problems, like learning how to act like diplomats and working out real strategic solutions that don't involve stupid loss of life. What's really behind all this, if you really think about it, is oil and nothing more; no one would care a fig for any of this if it weren't for the oil. Once we figure out how to divorce ourselves from using oil, these places will become minor players in world affairs.

The U.S. government under Bush has been a reflection of his ignorance and attitudes and has been acting the way amateurs do, not knowing or understanding the impact of what it has been doing. From Bush, who makes a joke of his ignorance, to stooges such as Rumsfeld and truly unfeeling fixed-idea men such as Cheney, we have suffered from inept and uninformed leadership. Iraq is just one example of such amateurness, with a war that had no plan for any follow-up. Iran is another. The way weve handled Afghanistan is still another. Our ignoring the essential conflict between Israel and the Palestine peoples, just hoping it will go away. Add them up and we can now see how inept this administration has been. Then look at the current economy, changed from a positive one in which our assets were growing to one in which almost everything except oil has been declining. Asking the military, who werent trained to build nations and who did their job heroically in the war, to sort out what needs to be done in Iraq or Afghanistan is truly amateurish; such work was never the militarys job. Not even having a full professional cadre of those who speak the language of our enemies, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Iran to Lebanon how could this administration even pretend to understand what forces it has unleashed? The author of Fiasco, Tom Ricks, has said well probably have troops in Iraq for fifteen years because of how amateurishly things have been handled. Just what our enemies could have wished for - a weakened military tied up for a long time. I grieve for our sons and daughters and our grandchildren who will be forced to handle the mess that will be left behind by this administration.

Posted by: OCPatriot on October 11, 2006 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

This is old information but it is still valid and illustrates the point about Iraq.

We have troops in Afghanistan, but they appear to be there mainly poised to defend the central government, which has been threatened by a number of groups including the Taliban (the prior totalitarian government), war lords in various provinces, and a loose network of guerillas including the Al Qaeda group. The current Administration, led by President Bush, has apparently de-emphasized our military efforts in Afghanistan and his rhetoric, his use of the words war on terror, appear to be mainly directed at Iraq, not Afghanistan.

The number of deaths of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan in this first military operation is 255 with 765 injured as of January 2006, as tracked by Wikipedia. I cite this figure in sharp contrast to the number of U.S. troops killed in the next military effort, still going on today, in Iraq which was 2,299 U.S. soldiers killed and 33,094 seriously injured as of March 2006 (cited at the site http://icasualties.org/oif/default.aspxhttp://icasualties.org/oif/default.aspx). The disparity between Afghanistan and Iraq, in terms of dead and casualties is very revealing about what is being emphasized.

Posted by: OCPatriot on October 11, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

"The U.S. government under Bush has been a reflection of his ignorance and attitudes and has been acting the way amateurs do"

Back in the day, and I'm talking about the cowboy era here, it was the damned cowboys from Texas who caused all the problems. Abilene Kansas had such a problem with drunken Texas Cowboys they hired Wild Bill Hickock as the sheriff to keep order. I'm just sayin'

Posted by: Joyfully Subversive on October 11, 2006 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, any call for more troops for any U.S. military engagements will almost certainly result in a draft. My son believes this would be a good thing because it will shock people who otherwise are indifferent to what's going on in both Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of killing; I, being older and more cynical, believe if there is a Republican majority, it will certainly come about but without any shock value whatsoever.

Posted by: OCPatriot on October 11, 2006 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

Joyfully Subversuve - I wont argue with your conclusions. If anything they buttress the main thesis of the researchers that the invasion of Iraq led to significantly more Iraqi death than if we had left well enough alone.

Here's a different sobering thought. If the JHU numbers are correct then 600K out of 30 million Iraqis have been killed due to violence since the beginning of the war. If we translate to the United States and its population of 300 Million, it is the equivalent of 6 million American civilians being killed over teh same 39 or 40 month time period.

Posted by: MattR on October 11, 2006 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

I went to the Lancet page but do not see this published yet.

But I stand corrected. According to the WP, the researched numbers are the difference between the year prior to invasion and deaths following invasion. So it is only the difference in how we are actually doing worse than Saddam and embargo life, so they actually understate our failure.

Great work!

That said, if the figures are raally this high, this is a disgrace. A real blot.

I know we haven't got their clinics or hospitals up and running, staffed and supplied, so I wonder how many deaths are the result of treatable injury.

Posted by: notthere on October 11, 2006 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

And this is a freedom operation right?

Posted by: Mach Tuck on October 11, 2006 at 2:49 AM | PERMALINK

Mach - did you get your beer:hands ratio corrected.

Posted by: Joyfully Subversive on October 11, 2006 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK

600k dead implies >2,000,000 injured.

Where are they?

Posted by: a on October 11, 2006 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

Daniel Davies better clear his calendar: he's gonna be *real* busy for awhile.

Posted by: rented mule on October 11, 2006 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

Mach - did you get your beer:hands ratio corrected.
Posted by: Joyfully Subversive

lol, yeh, now I'm drinking hot tea [caffeinated]

Posted by: Mach Tuck on October 11, 2006 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

These figures are staggering. I am still dumbfounded that this all started as a Democratic experiment, to free people from a brutal dictator, a regime change.


Good God how far we have fallen.

Posted by: Mach Tuck on October 11, 2006 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

It was never a democratic experiment. It was always about using brutality to develop US strategic interests

Posted by: Deadmanwalking on October 11, 2006 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK

Secrecy News yesterday posted a recent Congressional Research Service report on Iraqi Civilian, Police, and Security Forces Casualty Estimates [in a PDF file].

Posted by: scooter libido on October 11, 2006 at 3:25 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with Wendy. 'Horrifying' seems more appropriate than 'astonishing'. And frankly, even if it were half that number of people (2350) who were being killed daily it would still be horrifying. I don't know what the stats are on the number of people killed in the worst battles of WWI or WWII, but my guess is that the average numbers of daily deaths in those World Wars was nowhere near as high.

Posted by: lisainvan on October 11, 2006 at 3:28 AM | PERMALINK

It was never a democratic experiment. It was always about using brutality to develop US strategic interests -deadmanwalking

Yes, I'm sure of that..many others aren't.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/07/20060725.html
PRIME MINISTER MALIKI: Thank you, Mr. President. Actually, successful acts and large issues has to be based on a clear vision. And through the serious discussion and the clear and the frank conversation that I had with President George Bush, that we are truly crossing the T's and dotting the I's in terms of enhancing the security and supporting the reconstruction. Through the discussion we were able to go through the details of the vision that will cover the future, because we are not talking here about a specific phase of the reconstruction, but we are facing the necessity of continuous work in order to make sure that the entire political experiment will succeed.

Somebody forget to tell Mr Maliki it wasn't an 'Political Experiment'

Posted by: Mach Tuck on October 11, 2006 at 3:35 AM | PERMALINK

whoops. I have to correct myself. Using some numbers attained off the web, it seems that there were 8,300,000 combatants killed in the four years of WWI, and another 8,000,000 non-influenza related civilian deaths. Using statistically unsound simple division that works out to an average of about 10,000 deaths/day. WWI isn't called The Great War for nothing. But even that comparison is pretty stunning, given that, well, Iraq is a pretty localized region and not, well, the world.

Posted by: lisainvan on October 11, 2006 at 3:35 AM | PERMALINK

This is truly horrific. I want to scream. It is amazing how this has been kept so quiet. Even if the true figures are half this amount. We see almost nothing of the carnage. We are kept busy with a missing maiden in Aruba and the possibility of the solution of the murder of a small child ten years ago. It is the shame of my generation for allowing this to happen.

I halfway blame Bush and company but I also blame the citizens of the US for letting them get away with it. We have had our chances to stop this.

Posted by: JohnK on October 11, 2006 at 3:37 AM | PERMALINK

600k dead implies >2,000,000 injured.

Where are they?

Posted by: a on October 11, 2006 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

How do you figure? Normal news quotes for bombings are about 2:1 injured:dead, and that's figuring 100% survival. What I've been reading about Iraqi hospitals I find that unlikely. And assassinations don't seem to have such a ratio.

Posted by: notthere on October 11, 2006 at 3:47 AM | PERMALINK

I halfway blame Bush and company but I also blame the citizens of the US for letting them get away with it. We have had our chances to stop this.

The Mayberry Machiavellis deserve a good dose of blame but don't neglect the blame that should be directed at a conquered people who are rebelling. As this Harvard symposium detailed, the Germans and the Japanese populations worked with the occupation forces and thus suffered very few casualties as a result of occupation. For the Germans and the Japanese the war and violent death stopped pretty much with the cessation of hostilities.

The fact that the Machiavellis never took planning for an occupation seriously betrays their naivete, but even with that helping of blame that doesn't obviate the responsibility that befalls on large segments of the Iraqi population who are creating the headaches which stall the rebuilding efforts and lead to cycles of violence.

Posted by: TangoMan on October 11, 2006 at 3:50 AM | PERMALINK

Iraqi population who are creating the headaches which stall the rebuilding efforts and lead to cycles of violence.
Posted by: TangoMan

Britain set up a colonial regime in Iraq after a long military campaign during World War I. In response to Iraqi resistance, including a country-wide uprising in 1920, British forces battled for over a decade to pacify the country, using airplanes, armored cars, firebombs and mustard gas. Air attacks were used to shock and awe, to teach obedience and to force the collection of taxes. Winston Churchill, as responsible cabinet minister in the early years, saw Iraq as an experiment in high-technology colonial control.
Posted by: Mach Tuck on October 11, 2006 at 4:01 AM | PERMALINK

It's not our fault that we invaded their country!

Posted by: bad Jim on October 11, 2006 at 4:02 AM | PERMALINK

The most impressive thing about this number is that it's six times the estimate made a year after the invasion (back when, IIRC, the coalition troops were killing people twice as fast as the insurgents). People are dying at twice that rate now.

Is it inconceivable that an immediate pullout could a great many lives?

Posted by: bad Jim on October 11, 2006 at 4:07 AM | PERMALINK

Tangoman --

could that be because they never declared war on us, feel unfairly imposed on, were not invaded by several hundred thousand troops enforcing stability in edvery town, and had there incomes, administrations and sense of self-worth dismantled. And when did we invite them to be partners in the rebuilding, exactly?

They resent being "conquered" and are resisting. And fighting among themselves because we destabilized the previous, if rotten, status quo, replacing it with three, so far, ineffective "governments".

What might you have done? There certainly weren't many waving flags and strewing petals, were there?

No. The responsibility lies with the US.

There was one who warned "You break it you own it."

Posted by: notthere on October 11, 2006 at 4:16 AM | PERMALINK

Iraqi population who are creating the headaches which stall the rebuilding efforts and lead to cycles of violence.
Posted by: TangoMan

That cycle of violence began quite a while ago Tango...

The U.S. is playing today roughly the same role with respect to Iraqs oil riches that Britain did early last century. History has a habit of repeating itself.. Oil development in Iraq took place against a backdrop of war, political intrigue, deception, secret agreements and oil company haggling. Iraq, historically known as Mesopotamia, was part of the Ottoman Empire since 1534. (Iraq was the name given by the British to their newly created mandate). Collapse of the Ottoman Empire in early 20th century gave the Western powers the opportunity to seek political influence and commercial benefits in new territory in Iraq as well as the rest of the Ottoman territory. Oil was the major prize. Discovery of oil in 1908 at Masjid-i Suleiman in Iran an event that changed the fate of the Middle East gave impetus to quest for oil in Mesopotamia. Oil pursuits in Mesopotamia were concentrated in Mosul, one of three provinces or vilayets constituting Iraq under the Ottoman rule. Mosul was the northern province, the other two being Baghdad (in the middle) and Basra (in the south) provinces. Foreign geologists visited the area under the disguise of archeologists.

Idiots, like Bush Jr. and his neo-con cabaal of nation builders and supply side economic gurus like that whore Cheney and their 'reality based' empire are repeating idiotic things. The Cycle of Violence began with greedy, greasy, slimy, death for oil morons such as we have in power today.

We no longer live in the age of empires, these Cold War warriors, Rummy, Cheney,Kissinger need to get that shit thru their heads.

Posted by: Mach Tuck on October 11, 2006 at 4:23 AM | PERMALINK

They resent being "conquered" and are resisting. And fighting among themselves because we destabilized the previous, if rotten, status quo, replacing it with three, so far, ineffective "governments".

That's plainly obvious. Japan too resented being conquered and yet confronted with the reality before them they sought the quickest way to minimize the disruption to their lives and that meant no insurrection. Iraqi tribal culture is more interested in settling old scores than moving forward in a substantive way. They're making a choice in how to deal with the reality that is before them and with choice comes responsibility.

If the Iraqis acted like the Japanese or the Germans then the body count would be far, far lower.

Posted by: TangoMan on October 11, 2006 at 4:32 AM | PERMALINK

If the Iraqis acted like the Japanese or the Germans then the body count would be far, far lower.

Over 3 years of direct U.S. involvement in World War II, approximately 400,000 American lives had been lost, roughly half of them incurred in the war against Japan. In the months prior to the bombings, the Battle of Okinawa resulted in an estimated 50,000150,000 civilian deaths, 100,000125,000 Japanese or Okinawan military or conscript deaths and over 72,000 American casualties. An invasion of Japan was expected to result in casualties many times greater than in Okinawa.

They never even invaded Japan Tango, nor did they attempt regime change..your comparison is not a very good one.

Posted by: Mach Tuck on October 11, 2006 at 4:44 AM | PERMALINK

Tangoman --

you can't ignore the culture. The Japanese all fell in line 'cos the emperor told them to.

Blood feuds, tribes, clans, families, bargaining are the way of life of these people.

You can't and shouldn't expect them all to become "realistic" Western democratic types overnight.

One of Bush and his buddies' biggest blind spots is ignoring the culture of "furners", their pride, their "face". With Iraqis, Koreans, the French. They think everyone should do just as they are told, because we say so. That just doesn't work.

And often it is downright counterproductive.

Posted by: notthere on October 11, 2006 at 4:49 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know if anyone mentioned this yet, but the number of bombs dropped on Iraq dwarfs the number from any previous conflict.
I believe the Lancet study's numbers indicate that most of the civilian deaths are come from US bombing ---at least that was the case in the first study. An analysis of the bombing rates might give additional support to their numbers.
I haven't read the study, obviously, but I would be uncomfortable in accepting such a high number without a hypothesis for the distribution of causes of death, along with some other supporting evidence.

Posted by: marky on October 11, 2006 at 4:50 AM | PERMALINK

The new study attributes most of the violent deaths to the locals. As far as I know, we aren't doing much bombing nowadays. That's not to say that the number of deaths attributed to the ongoing activities of the coalition forces isn't disturbing.

Of the 600k deaths, 200k came at our hands. Let's say 100k died in the first year. With a 2:1 kill ratio, we took 60k lives, and we apparently haven't slowed down in the two years since then.

How can anyone suggest that we're saving lives by staying there?

Posted by: bad Jim on October 11, 2006 at 5:01 AM | PERMALINK

Here's the canonical Daniel Davies piece on the critiques of the original Lancet study, detailing which ones were pure hackery and which ones were less hackish but still flawed.

Once the paper appears online, we'll get a better sense of the precise methodology and number crunching, but I suspect that the same bullshit will be rolled out.

The breakdown is what's truly scary: 3.2 violent deaths per 1000 in the year following the invasion, 6.6 the following year and 12 in the year ending June 2006.

Posted by: ahem on October 11, 2006 at 5:47 AM | PERMALINK

Does the report say anything about how many dead fetuses?

I mean, how many abortions have been performed via laser-guided bomb?

Wouldn't we have to include them?

Posted by: x on October 11, 2006 at 5:53 AM | PERMALINK

If violent deaths are running at 12/1000 then there is no way to say this is not a full scale civil war. Those are Congo-type numbers. I would be interested in seeing the distribution of deaths by sex and age, as compared to 1) the iraq population as a whole and 2) the distribution of people out and about (cause women and the extremes of age are going to be likely to stay home.

One thing. Was this study done over all Iraq? What was the distribution of clusters wrt the regions of Iraq? From what I understand, there is far less violence in the south (shi'ite) and north (kurdish) areas.

Posted by: adam on October 11, 2006 at 6:09 AM | PERMALINK

And this is a freedom operation right?

Yes, indeedy! Good thing we're not trying to destroy the country.

Posted by: clio on October 11, 2006 at 6:21 AM | PERMALINK

adam: the NYT has a graphic showing regional distribution, indicating that the highest death rates are indeed in Baghdad and to the west.

Posted by: ahem on October 11, 2006 at 6:21 AM | PERMALINK

'There is no flag big enough to hide the shame of killing innocent people.'
--Howard Zinn

Posted by: Quotation Man on October 11, 2006 at 6:25 AM | PERMALINK

The study

Posted by: R.Mutt on October 11, 2006 at 6:25 AM | PERMALINK

And the study was meant to be embargoed until Thursday UK time, when The Lancet publishes, but Reuters decided to run it anyway. So we won't see the study itself until then. Don't let yourself be fooled by trolls asking 'where's the study'?

Posted by: ahem on October 11, 2006 at 6:28 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, I'm wrong: they released it early. And it was the AP which broke the Thursday embargo, so my apologies to Reuters.

Posted by: ahem on October 11, 2006 at 6:30 AM | PERMALINK

So, are we satisfied yet? Two hundred dead for every one we lost on September 11? Have we sated our lust for retribution?

Posted by: bad Jim on October 11, 2006 at 6:39 AM | PERMALINK

Being a Christian first and an American second, I am deeply, deeply ashamed of the actions of this government. I did not sign up to be an accomplice to mass murder. I pray God will forgive me and all of us, for allowing this Administration to slaughter innocent people the way they have and then wave the American flag to justify it.

I pity George W. Bush when he dies and has to answer for all the blood dripping off his hands...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on October 11, 2006 at 6:53 AM | PERMALINK

I quote:

Using data from the 2006 survey to look at the time included in the 2004 survey,we estimate that the number of excess deaths during that time were about 112,000.

That these two surveys were carried out in different locations and two years apart from each other yet
yielded results that were very similar to each other,is strong validation of both surveys.

Posted by: ahem on October 11, 2006 at 6:54 AM | PERMALINK

"So, are we satisfied yet? Two hundred dead for every one we lost on September 11? Have we sated our lust for retribution?"

Retribution? As if Iraq had the slightest connection with 9/11 . . .

Posted by: rea on October 11, 2006 at 7:34 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, how did they account for the actuarial instability of living under a murderous dictator? All Saddam would need to do to throw their "expected" rate of death model out the window is to direct his Army to start gasing some more villages, or launch another war, or have the secret police get more aggressive in their meting out of punishment.

Saddam didn't have any gas, and he could never have launched a war with Britain and the US guarding the no-fly zones. Is this some sort of joke?

As for his secret police, after the 1991 slaughter of the Shia rebels Saddam regained total control on the ground. There was no open opposition left. If I recall the 2004 report correctly, from 1992-2003 Saddam's secret police annual murder rate was something like 5,000.

When you're killing twelve times as many Iraqis as Saddam's deathsquads, don't be surprised that the Iraqis don't love you.

Posted by: jasper emmering on October 11, 2006 at 7:52 AM | PERMALINK

Say somebody did away with Bush. The perp's defense team constructed a case highlighting reports of the slaughter unleashed on innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan. You are on the jury. How could you vote to convict? An invader in your home can be gunned down by you and all you'll suffer is a cursory hard look from the authorities before you're absolved of wrongdoing. Bush has invaded tens of thousands of homes, killing many innocents and bystanders. Wouldn't you have to lean towards justifiable homicide in considering the fate of his assassin? In your heart how could you feel punishment was merited?

Posted by: steve duncan on October 11, 2006 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

We have witnessed the killing of more Iraqis than Saddam ever did; soon we will have lost more Americans in Iraq than how many died on 9-11. Surely the entry at Wikipedia for FUBAR must read "Iraq".

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on October 11, 2006 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Where was the self-flaggellating left when Pol Pot killed millions of his own people? And in Combodia there is physical proof of the killings, unlike the esotering statistical mumbo jumbo by Bush hating professors of a left wing university.

Posted by: jay on October 11, 2006 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK


Why is it so widely assumed that blame for the death toll whatever the correct number rests with America rather than with those who are carrying out the mass murders in order to drive the U.S. out so they can take over Iraq?

This is from one of the Nazi boys at the Corner. the mind reels.

Posted by: gregor on October 11, 2006 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

"Where was the self-flaggellating left when Pol Pot killed millions of his own people?"

What a frigging ahistorical idiot you are, Jaye!

The government of the United States destabilized the neutralist government of Cambodia, allowing Pol Pot and his band of loonies to take power.

The government of the United States then opposed the efforts of the Vietnamese communists to reign him in--note that he was eventually ousted by a Vietnamese invasion.

But you blame Pol Pot on the left, of course--I suppose, from your point of view, that Nixon and Kissinger are lefties . . .

Posted by: rea on October 11, 2006 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

I just skimmed the comments but did not see anyone report that the previous Lancet piece from this group estimated 100,000 deaths but, when their methodology was challenged, admitted that the range was 9,000 to 194,000. This sort of work is nonsense and clearly politically driven.

Lancet has gotten itself into politics on other topics recently, including immunization's relationship to autism. Secondly, this sentence it means that coalition troops are killing nearly 5,000 Iraqis per month. That's truly an astonishing number. is truly astonishing from someone who has seemed more reasonable than many of his commenters. The vast majority of civilian deaths in Iraq are caused by terrorist attacks by other Muslims. That you would attribute this death rate to our troops and ignore the fact that they are fighting an enemy that does not use uniforms and hides among the population, is the most astonishing thing of all.

Posted by: Mike K on October 11, 2006 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I for one am glad we killed them over there and and not over here. It's a lot easier for a sniper to shoot the guy digging a hole in the road in Fallujah than it is for a mall security guard to stop him as he drives his explosive laden taxi at high speed into a "Baby Gap".

jay makes some good points. Were any liberals writing about the killlings in Cambodia, East Timor, or Rwanda while they were happening? Why didn't Clinton stop the genocide in Bosnia and Rwanda? Do liberal professors, liberal politicians, and hollywood types even know that there is an ongoing genocide in Darfur?

All of their attention is on the supposed attrocities committed by Americans. Hypocrit traitors. Folks like Steve Duncan are a real threat to the homeland with their twisted anti-american assasination mongering logic. I hope the DIA is on to him.

Posted by: American Hawk on October 11, 2006 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, The religious left protested Pol Pot's slaughter of innocents the way they abhor all violence. Where was the right-wing??

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on October 11, 2006 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin (stupidly) writes: This is remarkable. If you do the arithmetic, it means that coalition forces have killed 186,000 Iraqis in the 39 months between the invasion and the period when the study was done. That's about 4,700 per month and the numbers are on a steady upward trend.

Good. I hope you're correct that "the numbers are on a steady upward trend" if those Iraqis we're killing are mostly terrorists and insurgents. Did it ever occur to you, Mr. Drum, that these are the Iraqis who are doing the dying at the hands of coalition forces? Sheesh!

Posted by: Alexander on October 11, 2006 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K wrote: "... the previous Lancet piece from this group estimated 100,000 deaths, but when their methodology was challenged, admitted that the range was 9,000 to 194,000. This sort of work is nonsense and clearly politically driven."

Wrongwrongwrong. First of all, they didn't "admit" this after being challenged, the margin of error was in the original paper. Secondly, they had
additional reasons
to think it was closer to 100,000 than to 9,000:

Research is more than summarizing data, it is also interpretation. If we had just visited the 32 neighborhoods without Falluja and did not look at the data or think about them, we would have reported 98,000 deaths, and said the measure was so imprecise that there was a 2.5% chance that there had been less than 8,000 deaths, a 10% chance that there had been less than about 45,000 deaths, (...) all of those assumptions that go with normal distributions. But we had two other pieces of information. First, violence accounted for only 2% of deaths before the war and was the main cause of death after the invasion. That is something new, consistent with the dramatic rise in mortality and reduces the likelihood that the true number was at the lower end of the confidence range. Secondly, there is the Falluja data, which imply that there are pockets of Anbar, or other communities like Falluja, experiencing intense conflict, that have far more deaths than the rest of the country. We set that aside these data in statistical analysis because the result in this cluster was such an outlier, but it tells us that the true death toll is far more likely to be on the high-side of our point estimate than on the low side.
Posted by: R.Mutt on October 11, 2006 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Um, AmericanHawk, I don't usually bother with answering your type, but dear god! Has anyone but liberals been concerned with Cambodia, East Timor or Rwanda? Are those Young Republicans I see in Harvard Square with their pamphlets and posters? Is Noam Chomsky a conversative now - because he's been talking about East Timor as long as anyone?

Posted by: pyewacket on October 11, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Now, now why should we "quibble" over how many deaths are mounting daily, er hourly. They are only brown skinned anyway and probably religious fanatics to boot.

Why, we should all be thankful and give praise to our great Capitalistic God Greed that sooooo many are able to make a ton of money from this adventure. The many contractor's given no-bid, cost plus, never audited contracts, the mercenaries, consultants and even all of that vastly increased re-up pay. There is a ton of money being made from this fiasco. And they will all have their shills deriding this important study.
Not to mention the oil companies getting ready to sign off with the Iraqi "government" for lucrative oil deals.
$ar pays for the GOP.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 11, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Did it ever occur to you, Mr. Drum, that these are the Iraqis who are doing the dying at the hands of coalition forces?

prove it.

Posted by: cleek on October 11, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

This was in the same article.


"The same group in 2004 published an estimate of roughly 100,000 deaths in the first 18 months after the invasion. That figure was much higher than expected, and was controversial. The new study estimates that about 500,000 more Iraqis, both civilian and military, have died since then -- a finding likely to be equally controversial."


Do ya think this group may have an alterior motive for inflating the numbers? Do ya think?

"And they will all have their shills deriding this important study." thethird


Just like all the liberal shills crying drama queen tears over exaggerated numbers.

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

655,000 deaths.

Coalition responsible for 31% or over 200,000.
Others responsible for 69% or, over 450,000.

From a strictly humanitarian basis, wouldn't it make much more sense to go after the group killing the MOST people?

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

From a strictly humanitarian basis, wouldn't it make much more sense to go after the group killing the MOST people?

Exactly. In fact, I would argue that we have been doing exactly that. If it wasn't for the fact that we killed the 31%, the total death toll would probably have been much higher.

Posted by: American Hawk on October 11, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, Kevin, you should probably focus more of your energy on "Teh Ghay" like JMM. National security will never be a strong point for democrats.

Posted by: American Hawk on October 11, 2006 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

"Has anyone but liberals been concerned with Cambodia, East Timor or Rwanda?" - pye....


Oh I know and thanks for the vaunted UN that beacon of light that the left constantly praises, those places will be peaceful in short order because of the integrity and sheer will for peace that the UN harbors. Oh wait. Nevermind.

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

If it wasn't for the fact that we killed the 31%, the total death toll would probably have been much higher.

heh. funny.

Posted by: cleek on October 11, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

"If it wasn't for the fact that we killed the 31%, the total death toll would probably have been much higher." - AH

"heh. funny." - cleek


Heh. True.

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

the article [PDF].

Posted by: Nick Barnes on October 11, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Idiot trolls come in and repeat the same long-debunked arguments over and over. I see Scaife & Co. are getting their money's worth.

This entire administration belongs in the dock at the Hague. Too bad they don't use hanging any more.

Posted by: jimBOB on October 11, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Damn occupied people don't know what's good for them and fall in line....

Why isn't this working out like WWII? Maybe because Iraq isn't Japan or Germany, and George W. Bush isn't Truman. More like the combined brain trust of the Keystone Cops and Three Stooges.

But let's blame the occupied people who never attacked us and had nothing to do with 9/11. Simple explanations for simple people.

Posted by: Ringo on October 11, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK
There is, of course, a fair amount of inherent uncertainty in this study. There's a roughly 10% chance the true figure could be half the reported size and a 10% chance it could be double the reported size.
No; the spread is much tighter than that. There's a 2.5% chance that the true figure is 30% or more lower (below 392,979), and a 2.5% chance that the true figure is 44% or more higher (above 942,636). Posted by: Nick Barnes on October 11, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

The coalition is only responsible for 200,000 dead Iraqis, no biggie.

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

I care much more about percieved injustices that America is at fault for then actual atrocities that occur everyday throughout the world.

In fact the estimated recent 200,000 dead Iraqis are of much more concern to me than the estimated 500,000 Iraqis that Saddam had raped and killed over the years.

Posted by: cleek on October 11, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Does the study tally the number of Iraqi civilians killed by 'security contractors', or is that lumped in with the numbers for coalition forces?

Just wondering.

Posted by: grape_crush on October 11, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

FYI, someone else has decided to post under my name. that's cool - i'm honored. but, of course that 10:41 is not an authentic cleek post.

and, just so you all know, the person who posted under my name used the email address "giantsdiehard@yahoo.com". and, a quick trip ddown Google Lane shows one other hit for that email address. it's a post on watchblog.com. anyone care to guess who's name is on that post?

how about you, Jay, care to guess ?

Posted by: cleek on October 11, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Does the study tally the number of Iraqi civilians killed by insurgents directly following any prominent Democrat proclaiming that we are illegally occupying Iraq and deriding our soldiers for atrocities?

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Hijacked handles suck, don't they cleek.

Get use to it.

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

fuck off, loser.

Posted by: cleek on October 11, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

"fuck off, loser." - cleek


uh oh, an angry liberal. Hide the Chrisitians, but at least the Muslims will be safe.

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

LOL, the thread killing idiots have struck again.

Posted by: American Buzzard on October 11, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

So two conservatives can derail the current topic in the liberal cesspool?

Not a very deep pool huh?

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

National security will never be a strong point for democrats.

Rasmussen:
Trust More on National Security
President Bush 41%
Democrats in Congress 43%

Posted by: cleek on October 11, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

there is no question that the death toll in Iraq is horrific.

however, there is also no fricking way that it is that high.

Posted by: Nathan on October 11, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

National security will never be a strong point for democrats.

Newsweek:
which party is more trusted to fight the war on terror:
Dems: 44
Reps: 37

trust in handling Iraq:
Dems: 47
Reps: 34

Ipsos-AP:
Iraq:
Dems: 48
Reps: 38

handling terrorism:
Dems 43
Reps:41

protecting the US:
Dems: 43
Reps: 41

you were saying?

Posted by: cleek on October 11, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

however, there is also no fricking way that it is that high.

Based on what data?

Posted by: Wonderin on October 11, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Jay on October 11, 2006 at 10:48 AM:

Does the study tally the number of Iraqi civilians killed by insurgents directly following any prominent Democrat proclaiming that we are illegally occupying Iraq...

My guess is, probably not. I think the intent of the study was to start from when Dubya donned his codpiece and proclaimed "Mission Accomplished" from the deck of that carrier.

...and deriding our soldiers for atrocities?

At least you are beginning to recognize what US troops were ordered to do at Abu Ghraib and other prison facilities as 'atrocities', Jay. That's some progress on your part at least.

Now, my initial question was serious, as I haven't had the time to read the study myself. Were 'security contractors' accounted for in this study, and how were they categorized?

Posted by: grape_crush on October 11, 2006 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

"Where was the self-flaggellating left when Pol Pot killed millions of his own people?"
Posted by: jay

You see an analogy between Pol Pot and Bush, Jay?

Posted by: Ace Franze on October 11, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Wonderin:

If the death toll was that high we would see vastly higher numbers of refugees and far more people in hospitals and bodies at the morgues...far more.

As well, U.S. troops simply aren't involved in that many live-fire incidents. (most attacks on U.S. troops are IEDs or mortars, not small arms)

Posted by: Nathan on October 11, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

If the death toll was that high we would see vastly higher numbers of refugees and far more people in hospitals and bodies at the morgues...far more.

how many bodies are we seeing at morgues ?
how many refugees are we seeing ?

Posted by: cleek on October 11, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

"Where was the self-flaggellating left when Pol Pot killed millions of his own people?"
Posted by: jay" - Ace


Hijacked handle.

Pay attention.

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

cleek:

we are not seeing vast numbers of refugees. far from it. (a fair amount of the wealthy of Iraq have emigrated but no one's been opening up refugee camps....unlike other war zones with that kind of casualty count)

as for the morgues, yes, the death count in Baghdad is something like 50-80 a day. maybe more.

but it sure seems reasonable to conclude that Baghdad makes up half the death count for the entire country.

Posted by: Nathan on October 11, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

we are not seeing vast numbers of refugees

how many are we seeing, what is the appropriate number, and how many should we be seeing if people are dying at the rate the Lancet says ? and, what is the relationship between number of people killed per refugees expected ?

Posted by: cleek on October 11, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Refugees:

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- More than 300,000 Iraqis have fled their homes to other parts of the country to escape violence since the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein, with the rate swelling in the past six months of Shiite-Sunni killings, the immigration minister said Tuesday.

In addition, some 890,000 Iraqis have moved to Jordan, Iran and Syria since Saddam's fall, Immigration Minister Abdul-Samad Sultan told reporters.

http://tinyurl.com/esmyu

The number of Iraqis who've fled the country is low compared with the number that foreign governments are reporting taking in, and the real figure may well be over a million.

Also, it's not clear if the figure for internally displaced people includes the 900 families who've been displaced by shelling from Iranians on the northern border or the Arab families kicked out of Kirkak by the Kurds and living in tents outside the city.

but no one's been opening up refugee camps

No one but the Red Crescent and the Ministry of Displacement and Migration.

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/HMYT-6U8PYT?OpenDocument

Posted by: Windhorse on October 11, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

coalition troops are killing nearly 5,000 Iraqis per month

Americans troops, following the orders of President Bush, are killing nearly 5,000 Iraqis per month.

Posted by: Hostile on October 11, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

we are not seeing vast numbers of refugees.

Nathan, you shit-eating little troll, you have NO idea whatsoever what it is you're talking about (as ususal).

Iraq: Sectarian Violence Increasing Internally Displaced
By Sumedha Senanayake

PRAGUE, October 5, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The huge increase in sectarian violence in Iraq, following the attack on the Al-Askari Mosque in Samarra on February 22, has forced thousands of Iraqis flee their homes, with many moving to the relatively secure Kurdish regions in the north to escape the bloodshed, according to Iraqi government sources and international humanitarian organizations.

The Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration reported on September 28 that nearly a quarter of a million Iraqis have been displaced since the Samarra attacks. Approximately 80,000 Iraqis registered with the ministry as refugees from July to August and 40,000 families have sought government aid in the last seven months.

The data is based on the ministry's estimate that the average Iraqi family has six members, thereby bringing the latest tally to 240,000 people compared with 162,000 people at the end of July.

However, ministry spokesman Sattar Nowruz said the number of displaced persons could be far higher as many Iraqis may have fled abroad rather than register with the ministry. "The reason for this increase is that the security situation in some provinces has deteriorated considerably, forcing people to flee their homes in fear for their lives," Nowruz told Reuters on September 28.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Whoa, Windhorse.

Great minds and all...

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider:

compare the numbers of Iraqi refugees to Palestinians after 1967, the Congo, Rwanda et al and then get back to me.

Posted by: Nathan on October 11, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

If the death toll was that high we would see vastly higher numbers of refugees and far more people in hospitals and bodies at the morgues...far more.

Which war are you following? Try reading something that's been written since 2004, mouth breather.

Death Squads In Iraqi Hospitals
Intelligence Seen By CBS News Says Hospitals Are Command Centers For Shiite Militia

An assembly line of rotting corpses lined up for burial at Sandy Desert Cemetery is what civil war in Iraq looks like close up.

The bodies are only a fraction of the unidentified bodies sent from Baghdad every few days for mass burial in the southern Shiite city of Kerbala, CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan reports.

They come from the main morgue that's overflowing, relatives too terrified to claim their dead because most are from Iraq's Sunni minority, murdered by Shiite death squads.

And the morgue itself is believed to be controlled by the same Shiite militia blamed for many of the killings: the Mahdi Army, founded and led by anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

The takeover began after the last election in December when Sadr's political faction was given control of the Ministry of Health. The U.S. military has documented how Sadr's Mahdi Army has turned morgues and hospitals into places where death squads operate freely.

Dude, you have zero credibility at this point--clench up your girlish little butt cheeks and quit crapping on the thread with your way-off-the-mark take on things...NOTHING you've said is even close to reality. Oh, wait--reality is what you make of it when you're a worthless kid who SUPPORTS the war but is far too privileged to consider military service. You have a degree--go into the Reserves and take a comission. The Army will make a you a Captain and probably hand you Major in about three years. Then you might have some credibility, because I guarantee you--all it's gonna take is for you to cross up some NCO and then you'll find out what a real ass kicking is all about.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

compare the numbers of Iraqi refugees to Palestinians after 1967, the Congo, Rwanda

pathetic.

Posted by: cleek on October 11, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

don't neglect the blame that should be directed at a conquered people who are rebelling

TangoMan makes a good point. The Iraqis should put all of their energy and resources into killing the foreign occupiers who have invaded and destroyed their country.

Posted by: Hostile on October 11, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan on October 11, 2006 at 11:58 AM:

..compare the numbers of Iraqi refugees to Palestinians after 1967, the Congo, Rwanda et al and then get back to me.

The US invaded and occupied those countries as well? Try a more valid comparison, and then get back to us, Nathan.

Actually, it would be interesting to get a ballpark figure on how many people worldwide have become refugees or internally displaced as a result of Dubya's policies, inattention, or inaction...

Posted by: grape_crush on October 11, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

compare the numbers of Iraqi refugees to Palestinians after 1967, the Congo, Rwanda et al and then get back to me.

Shithead--

Did we invade those areas? Did we cause those problems? Did we buy those items at the Pottery Barn after we broke them? Didn't think so.

Do you have even the SLIGHTEST notion of what you're talking about?

Guess not.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

as for the morgues, yes, the death count in Baghdad is something like 50-80 a day. maybe more

The morgue figures do not include those killed by bombing (a substantial figure), those killed on the street near their families who immediately claim the body, nor does it include the bodies pulled from the Tigris.

http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/09/12/iraq.main/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/09/11/iraq.deaths.ap/index.html

http://www.macleans.ca/topstories/world/article.jsp?content=20061016_134735_134735

Posted by: Windhorse on October 11, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Rider, great minds indeed.

Posted by: Windhorse on October 11, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

The number of posters here who condone what Lancet calls the greatest genocide of the 21st century is nauseating and repellent.

Today's WSJ article on the Lancet report includes this sobering statistic for comparison:

"Human Rights Watch has estimated Saddam Hussein's regime killed 250,000 to 290,000 people over 20 years."

If you take the time to read the study in Lancet, you may find that not only was the methodology sound, it was, if anything, conservative in its interpretation of the statistics.

The study estimates that "Deaths attributable to the coalition accounted for 31% of post-invasion violent deaths." This translates to a low (according to all the variables of the study) of 121,823 Iraqi people killed by the Bush Administration through July of 2006 to a high of as many as 292,217 violent deaths directly perpetrated by the American coalition. The most likely number of fatalities is 203,050. These numbers do not, repeat DO NOT include deaths from suicide bombers, sectarian infighting or similar causes.

It took Saddam Hussein 20 years to kill 250,000 Iraqis (We'll use the low end of the estimates here.), or a rough average of 1,043 people a month -- an indisputably horrific number.

George Bush, however, has dwarfed Saddam Hussein's massive achievements in the rarefied realm of genocide with the conservative (ah! the irony) accomplishment of 121,823 infidels dispatched in a mere 40 months for a superstar average of 3046 corpses per month -- very nearly 3 times Saddam Hussein's score in the genocide sweepstakes.

Toss in Iraqi civil war casualties, and under American occupation, Iraqi people are dying gruesome deaths between 9.4 times and 22.6 times faster than they were under the murderous despot from whom we liberated them. Now there's progress!

Just imagine the stellar stats Bush could rack up if only those pesky American liberals would just shut up and let him stay the course.

Posted by: monk on October 11, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Windhorse,

Send me some good words on the back channel - my commo is down - we have to circle the wagons and kill the beast...

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Nathan--

Well...we...we...painted the schools...and...and...there aren't as many refugees as when the Contras attacked Nicaragua and...and...did I meantion? The Iraqis have a LOT more painted schools than they did two years ago...and...and...MOMMY!

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Here's another data point for the refugee figures:

LONDON (CNS) --- Half of all Iraqi Christians have fled their country since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, said the auxiliary bishop of Baghdad.

Chaldean Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Andreos Abouna of Baghdad said that before the invasion there were about 1.2 million Christians in the predominantly Shiite Muslim state. Since then the overall number has dropped to about 600,000, he said.

"What we are hearing now is the alarm bell for Christianity in Iraq," the bishop said. "When so many are leaving from a small community like ours, you know that it is dangerous -- dangerous for the future of the church in Iraq."

The bishop said 75 percent of Christians from Baghdad had fled the capital to escape the almost daily outbreaks of sectarian violence.

Since the beginning of the war, the number of Chaldean Catholics, who make up the country's most numerous Christian denomination, had dropped below half a million from 800,000, he said. Many sought new lives mostly in the neighboring countries of Syria, Jordan and Turkey, he added.

Bishop Abouna said he thought it was unlikely that many of those who had emigrated would return.

Obviously the Chaldean Catholic Bishop of Baghdad is nothing but a left-leaning Clintonista.

Posted by: Windhorse on October 11, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

And can someone tell me why we haven't fired the Director of the FBI?

FBI Agents Still Lacking Arabic Skills
33 of 12,000 Have Some Proficiency

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 11, 2006; Page A01

Five years after Arab terrorists attacked the United States, only 33 FBI agents have even a limited proficiency in Arabic, and none of them work in the sections of the bureau that coordinate investigations of international terrorism, according to new FBI statistics.

Counting agents who know only a handful of Arabic words -- including those who scored zero on a standard proficiency test -- just 1 percent of the FBI's 12,000 agents have any familiarity with the language, the statistics show.

What's it going to take for us to have some accountability around here? Where's the fucking outrage?

Do people have jobs for life in the Bush Administration?

Every Democrat needs to be talking and campaigning about this as well--It's the Incompetence, Stupid.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Arrrgh! Sonofabitch!

Time to hide under a rock and stop reading the news!

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army has plans that would keep the current level of troops in Iraq -- about 15 brigades -- through 2010, the top Army officer said Wednesday.

The Army chief of staff, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, cautioned that people not read too much into the planning, because it is easier to pull back forces than to get units prepared and deployed at the last minute.

His comments come less than four weeks before congressional elections, in which the unpopular war in Iraq and President George W. Bush's policies there are a major campaign issue.

Okay, wingnuts--sign up and go help fight the war or shut the hell up.

Must...resist...urge...to...read...more...news...

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

This would all be worth it, if we actually succeeded in promoting democracy there. But we gave it lip service, and handed the country over to a few kleptocrats, who will now undoubtedly lose control to the Mullahs.

Life sucked under Saddam. No doubt about that. But we could have done better - and willfully did not, to save Rummy and Bush's stubborn pride and precious Republican Dominance. (and Halliburton's profits).

More disgusting than a 53 year old male senator boinking 16 year old male pages - to be sure.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on October 11, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

That's it! I'm done!

Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Us Exclusive: Tara Admits to Botched Implants, Liposuction

In the new issue of Us Weekly, actress Tara Reid reveals that she underwent reconstructive surgery on Sept 6, 2006, to repair the damage done by a 2004 joint implant-liposuction procedure.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Wait! One more!

Pope set to bring back Latin Mass that divided the Church
By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

THE Pope is taking steps to revive the ancient tradition of the Latin Tridentine Mass in Catholic churches worldwide, according to sources in Rome.

Pope Benedict XVI is understood to have signed a universal indult or permission for priests to celebrate again the Mass used throughout the Church for nearly 1,500 years. The indult could be published in the next few weeks, sources told The Times.

Use of the Tridentine Mass, parts of which date from the time of St Gregory in the 6th century and which takes its name from the 16th-century Council of Trent, was restricted by most bishops after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

This led to the introduction of the new Mass in the vernacular to make it more accessible to contemporary audiences. By bringing back Mass in Latin, Pope Benedict is signalling that his sympathies lie with conservatives in the Catholic Church.

Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori...

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

That number simply doesn't pass the laugh test. If they came up with something closer to 100,000 I might have believed them.

Health, medical, etc have improved dramatically from pre-invasion and the violent death count is about 48,000. The study is a joke, unless there was ridiculously huge increase in accidents.

Posted by: aaron on October 11, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

That number simply doesn't pass the laugh test. If they came up with something closer to 100,000 I might have believed them.

And here we have the absurdity of argument of the faith-based crowd, distilled to its essence. You forgot to mention that because it was funded by far leftist organizations (i.e. MIT and John's Hopkins) we can dismiss its conclusions out of hand.

The scientific illiteracy of you people is what would be laughable...if it weren't so tragic.

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

aaron on October 11, 2006 at 12:35 PM:

If they came up with something closer to 100,000 I might have believed them.

'They' did...a couple of years ago. Did you believe them then, Aaron?

Health, medical, etc have improved dramatically from pre-invasion..

If you live in the Green Zone, perhaps. Outside the blast walls? Not so much.

..and the violent death count is about 48,000.

Cite? I'd like to see where you are getting your numbers from.

The study is a joke, unless there was ridiculously huge increase in accidents.

Accidents, like "Oops, did I accidentally drop a bomb on your family?" or "Oops, I didn't hide well enough from that death squad?" or "Oops, I drove too close to that IED?"...Those kind of 'accidents', Aaron?

You must be joking or reality-challenged...I'm amazed at the way some folks have their heads so far up the GOP's ass that they can still breathe, much less swallow such shit for later regurgitation...

Posted by: grape_crush on October 11, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

the violent death count is about 48,000

prove it

Posted by: cleek on October 11, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

This study simply doesn't pass the laugh test. I checked my ass, and the figure was much closer to 65,000. Of course, that was on Sept. 27th, so it could be 4-5k higher by now. And that's with a CI of 40% btw!

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Health, medical, etc have improved dramatically from pre-invasion and the violent death count is about 48,000.

Did you miss the part about how the Shiite militias are now running the hospitals as execution and torture chambers?

Wonder what that does to the health care system in Iraq...

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Health, medical, etc have improved dramatically from pre-invasion

No they haven't.

Many people thought that after the U.S. occupied our country and the sanctions were lifted, the health care of the Iraqi people would improve. But the occupation has made it worse. Many of the Iraqi hospitals in cities like Baghdad, Al-Qaim, and Fallujah were bombed and destroyed. Many ambulances were attacked and health workers killed, despite the fact that it is illegal under international law to attack hospitals, ambulances and health workers.

After our hospitals were bombed and looted, millions of dollars were given to contractors to repair them. We suggested that this money be used to buy things that we urgently need, but the contractors refused and instead bought furniture and flowers and superficial things. Meanwhile, we suffer from a critical shortage of medicines, emergency supplies and anesthesia, and there is no sterilization in the operation rooms. As the director of the pharmacy department in my hospital, I refused to sit on a new chair while there were no sterile operating rooms.

Diseases that were under control under the regime of Saddam Hussein, diseases such as cholera, hepatitis, meningitis, polio, have now returned to haunt the population, especially the children. Death due to cancer has increased because treatment programs stopped and medicines are not available. The health of the Iraqi people is also devastated by environmental contamination due to the destruction of our water and sewage systems.

The health of women, particularly pregnant women, has deteriorated. Many pregnant women suffer from malnutrition. When it comes time to give birth, many women prefer to give birth at home because they fear being shot on their way to the hospital, and they know the bad conditions in the hospitals. As a result, more women are dying in childbirth, and more babies are dying.

Before the occupation, with all the problems we had under sanctions, Iraq ranked number 80 in the worldwide list of deaths of children under 5. Today, we have jumped up to number 36. UNICEF has said that the rate of severe malnutrition among Iraqi children has almost doubled since the occupation.

http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/33771/

Posted by: Windhorse on October 11, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Anyway, Jay, we didn't kill those Cambodians, nor did we sack the ancient cities of Rome or anything else irrelevant you care to throw in here, just to hear your own squeaky voicewhile you are "esotering",

Posted by: Kenji on October 11, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

and the violent death count is about 48,000

The count of all Iraqi deaths that have been reported by the media is about 48,000. Can you understand the difference between making a list of every death reported by CNN, and using random sampling statistics to report total deaths? No member of the news media can wander anywhere outside of the Green Zone for more than a day without dying. Even the source of your number - Iraq Body Count.org - makes an open statement on their website that any realistic estimate of deaths would be **much** higher than what they report.

Where do you get the expertise to know that the media is aware 50% of Iraqi deaths and not 10%? Where do you get the expertise to dismiss career professional, experience casualty-estimation teams that have managed similar projects in the previous decade's greatest wars? Care to blow the Darfur estimates off so casually, which use the exact same methods?

Pathetic.

Posted by: glasnost on October 11, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

You have a degree--go into the Reserves and take a comission.

After all, the Reserves are short nearly 11,000 Lieutenants and Captains (source - the US Army web site) and the regular army is short about 3500 officers because so many are resigning in droves.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

After all, the Reserves are short nearly 11,000 Lieutenants and Captains (source - the US Army web site) and the regular army is short about 3500 officers because so many are resigning in droves.

Ah, but there's simply too much privilege in this country right now. Noblesse oblige, indeed...

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

It is a priviledge to serve ones country. But some are to priveledged to do so.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus told me to kill them innocent people. So I kilt 'em. Every day when I get down on my knees he whispers in my ear "keep killin' them innocent people george".

Posted by: george w bush on October 11, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

The Army made it's recruiting goals - but 17% of the soldiers recruited were admitted to the ranks on waivers for criminal records, medical reasons and low ASVAB scores.

And recruits who have degrees and are qualified to apply to OCS are not told they have the option to do so because they need the numbers in the enlisted statistics.

So - who is going to lead these new, green and hinky troops?

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Even Iraq Body Count is up to 44-49k, and that is known to be a conservative method of counting the civillian dead because it only catches violent deaths reported by two independent major media outlets and some deaths reported by other highly credible organizations.

This study is of Iraqi deaths, thus including Iraqi government forces, militias, resistance groups, iraqi terrorists, and civillians.

I'm not sure if Iraqi police would be considered civillians by IBC.

Posted by: jefff on October 11, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

So - who is going to lead these new, green and hinky troops?

That's easy - a lot of marginally qualified NCOS and officers who have been promoted simply because they have a pulse.

Used to be, the military was the best organization in the world for taking the really marginal and mediocre and booting them out; now, the tryly mediocre are running companies and battalions.

Ask anyone who served - in the old days, you could skate by as E-6 or an 0-4, but you weren't going to move up and go past twenty with anything approaching rank or responsibility. Too much competition. Well, that's gone now.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

What is happening in the ranks is apalling. Do I need to harp about the Honor Code again?

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Even the USAF, the most technical branch the "tron twisting weenies" as Red State Mike jokingly refers to them - are taking more marginal Airmen than the commanders would like.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Just a point of clarification on what's being called the "Iraq Body Count Study", since it's sure to figure prominently in the pseudo-rebuttals of the second Lancet paper:

Casualty figures are derived from a comprehensive survey of online media reports from recognized sources. Where these sources report differing figures, the range (a minimum and a maximum) are given.
[http://iraqbodycount.org]

The informal tally on the IBC website is not, as some posters have hinted above, the results of a scientific study, or any rigorous attempt to comprehensively measure the number of civilian casualties in Iraq. It's a tally of the number of civilian deaths reported in "online media reports from recognized sources."

This is akin to generating homocide statistics for the US by tallying reports of murders in online US papers. In other words I would arrive at a *grossly* undersized number.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled denial of reality, beginning with "Even the crazed leftists at iraqbodycount.org concede that the number is at least an order of magnitude lower, &tc..."

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

damn, jefff beat me to the punch... only thing worse than pedantry is redundant pedantry. apologies.

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Great minds all think alike, ibc...see Windhorse and myself, crushing the skulls of our enemies with the same basic facts...

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

If you do the arithmetic, it means that coalition forces have killed 186,000 Iraqis in the 39 months between the invasion and the period when the study was done. That's about 4,700 per month

and about 155 per day, day in and day out.

It's incredible results like that which give cluster sampling by academics a bad name.

Posted by: papago on October 11, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Extending this to use a little Republican logic, it seems to me that the problem in Iraq is violence, and we know that violence can only be deterred with the threat of more violence.

This is why DoD has a plan. A plan so bold as to be exciting. A plan for the ages.

Each Iraqi family will be issued their own Vietnam era US Army flamethrower. Yes, you heard that right--a flamethrower. The country is awash in petroleum products. Therefore, only three spare tanks per flamethrower will be issued.

Once each Iraqi family has their flamethrower, they must wait until the Iraqi army is finished digging a moat around Baghdad. This moat will contain motorized robot crocodiles with flame throwers embedded in their eye sockets.

Now that the Baghdad moat is completed--and that's a great title for a book--The Baghdad Moat--each Iraqi family will be required to stand on the rampart, face outwards, and use their flamethrowers to deter attacks by insurgents.

The unlucky Iraqis on the side of town where the wind is blowing in should wear asbestos based clothing. All others will be required to deter violence by incinerating all who approach.

In six months, we'll hopefully see some progress and a cessation in violence. There will probably be a spike in the demand for bactine and clean bandages, but there it is.

You can't win in Iraq without breaking or burning some eggs...

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Windhorse:

Is this the same UNICEF that claimed 5,000 children a month dying from sanctions?

Posted by: carlos on October 11, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Is this the same UNICEF that claimed 5,000 children a month dying from sanctions?

cite?

Posted by: cleek on October 11, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

It's incredible results like that which give cluster sampling by academics a bad name.

"Monkeys turned into humans! Outrageous!" Damn you, Science! Why can't your results be less incredible?

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Will anyone ever ever point to the failure of the media to report these things generally? I mean what were the planted reporters doing with the troops if not to report this stuff???

And the reuters firing of one of their reporters as well as the Times public "reprimand" of one of their seasoned talented coverers of the US Supreme Ct should show that the owners and top mgmt are complicit in this travesty of reporting.

Posted by: woojae on October 11, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

carlos is trotting out the same bits and pieces of misinformation used to create the Oil for Food scandal:

First, where did the figure of 5,000 really come from:

"Even the most conservative, independent estimates hold economic sanctions responsible for a public health catastrophe of epic proportions. The World Health Organization believes at least 5,000 children under the age of 5 die each month from lack of access to food, medicine and clean water. Malnutrition, disease, poverty and premature death now ravage a once relatively prosperous society whose public health system was the envy of the Middle East. I went to Iraq in September 1997 to oversee the U.N.'s "oil for food" program. I quickly realized that thishumanitarian program was a Band-Aid for a U.N. sanctions regime that was quite literally killing people. Feeling the moral credibility of the U.N. was being undermined, and not wishing to be complicit in what I felt was a criminal violation of human rights, I resigned after 13 months." --Denis Halliday, former humanitarian aid coordinator for Iraq (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 12, 1999)

Oil for Food was a bad program, but its initial intentions were good:

Oil for Food, though never more than a stopgap measure, saved Iraqi
civilians from privations even worse than those they suffered. The
economic sanctions imposed by the Security Council following the Iraqi
invasion of Kuwait in 1990, combined with the destruction of
infrastructure during the Gulf war and refugee flight afterwards, had
resulted in a massive humanitarian crisis by the summer of 1991. A UN
team found a threefold increase in under-five mortality over the first
eight months of that year. Iraq rejected the terms of the Security
Council's initial proposal to permit very limited oil sales, and, over
the next four years, the nearly comprehensive sanctions helped to
cause increases in malnutrition and waterborne diseases. The
infrastructure continued to crumble. In 1995, the Security Council
authorized a new proposal allowing Iraq to sell somewhat larger
amounts of oil and then use the proceeds to buy food, medicine and
other humanitarian goods.

Several different UN agencies provided expertise, service delivery and
monitoring once Oil for Food was finally implemented in March 1997,
including UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the World Food
Program, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN Development
Program. When the program was formally terminated in November 2003,
$31 billion of humanitarian aid had been delivered, primarily food and
medicine, but also items for water and sewage treatment, electricity
production, transportation and agriculture. Within the narrow
strictures of the sanctions regime, the Oil for Food program
accomplished a great deal, according to statistics kept by these
agencies and independent observers. Between 1997 and 2002, the
nutritional value of the food basket distributed monthly by the
program almost doubled, from 1,200 calories per person per day to
about 2,200. The incidence of communicable diseases, including cholera
and malaria, was cut down substantially. Electricity became more
reliable, as did the availability of potable water. Despite these
gains, sanctions continued to take a toll.

As bad as it was before the war, carlos and the trolls (hey-not a bad name for a band) have yet to prove that it was worse BEFORE the war.

More mythbusting:

A recent survey conducted by the Iraqi ministries of planning and health, and supported by the UN World Food Program and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has found that Iraqi children are suffering from chronic malnutrition as a result of three years of war following the US attacks, invasion and occupation of their country.

The report on food security and vulnerability in Iraq said almost one child in every 10 aged between six months and five years, suffered acute malnourishment. It described Iraqi children as major victims of food insecurity. The situation is alarming.

The report continued with the frightening revelation that four million Iraqis, roughly 15 per cent of the population, were in dire need of humanitarian aid including food. This is up from 11 per cent in a 2003 report.

[snip]

David Singh, a spokesman for UNICEF's Iraq Support Centre in neighbouring Jordan, said the number of acutely malnourished children had more than doubled, to 9 per cent in 2005 from 4 per cent in 2002, the last year of Saddam's rule. He warned that unless there is a period of relative stability in Iraq, those children are going to continue to face chronic malnutrition.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Cowboy my asteroid, there's not enough of GWB to make a saddle sore on a real cowboy's ass.

Posted by: 1836-GENEOLOGY on October 11, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I for one am glad we killed them over there and and not over here.

You heartless cretin. As if 655,000 Iraqis could have invaded USA.

Go suck on your bottle of Kool-Aid, junior.

jay makes some good points. And you are also a moron.

Same old troll hangout here at KD's place.

Glad to see that Pale Rider is still whacking the CRs.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on October 11, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not surprised by this figure. Several Iraqi bloggers have had friends and family killed by coalition forces, who later apologized for their mistake. The've also had friends and family killed by fellow Iraqis & foreign insurgents with agendas as varied sectarian & common criminals.

(See a sampling of warning letters posted recently on Healing Iraq.)
http://healingiraq.blogspot.com/archives/2006_10_01_healingiraq_archive.html#116038424911607288

The study also addresses health issues of many who died prematurely.


The main guy who directed this study is very well-respected. His 2004 report was ignored or questioned because it was published right before the election.

His stats for The Former Yugoslavia and its civil wars, Ruwanda, Darfur and other war-torn regionss have been cited by both the Clinton and Bush administrations, the UN, NATO, European Union, etc. to justify their actions.

He has also studied the rates of non-violent deaths (disease, malnutrition, etc) in certain populations.

The difference in this report and that done by Iraq Body Count is that IBC goes purely by accounts published in newspapers.

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on October 11, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

what were the planted reporters doing with the troops if not to report this stuff???

Nobody testifies against their mother.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

NPR just reported a small plane crashed into a high-rise in NYC. No injuries reported yet.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Best analysis of the report: Mahablog

Posted by: Apollo 13 on October 11, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Yes! Apollo 13!

Good to see you, good to see you.

More on the plane:

NEW YORK - A small plane crashed into a high-rise on the Upper East Side, setting off a fire and startling New Yorkers, police said.

Fire Department spokeswoman Emily Rahimi said an aircraft struck struck the 20th floor of a building on East 72nd Street. Witnesses said the crash caused a loud noise, and burning and falling debris was seen. Flames were seen shooting out of the windows. Video from the scene showed at least three apartments in the high rise fully engulfed in flames.

There was no immediate word on any deaths or injuries.

It was not immediately known if it was a terrorist act.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

FDNY is reporting it was a helicopter. All indications thus far are the terrorism was not involved.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

we are not seeing vast numbers of refugees.

And then this

but no one's been opening up refugee camps

Dude, use your brain for something other than collecting puss. You want to see the death rate .err. explode? Then, concentrate large numbers of the displaced in camps an watch the seal clubbing begin.

Remember Lebanon (The Sabra and Shatila massacre)? How about Serbia (Srebrenica)?

So yeah Einstein, you probably are not going to see anyone opening up refugee camps.

Many of the displaced who havent been intercepted and packed into mass graves or just left to rot, are moving in with family in somewhat safer communities. They are living dozens to an apartment.

Please somehow demonstrate that you made it out of eighth grade the next time you post.

Posted by: Keith G on October 11, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Say, you don't suppose Nathan became despondent and jumped into his helicopter and...

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

That number simply doesn't pass the laugh test. If they came up with something closer to 100,000 I might have believed them.

Ah, the 'six million Jews? If they came up with something closer to a million I might have believed them' line.

I'm not flirting with Godwin here. The 'this number is too big for my tender sensibilities' people are in David Irving country, as far as abject denialism goes.

Posted by: ahem on October 11, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Whither the courage of America?

Off Drudge:

'FIXED WING AIRCRAFT' FLIES INTO BUILDING E. 72ND STREET AT YORK, NEAR EAST RIVER...
FDNY REPORTS 'PEOPLE TRAPPED'...
2 deaths confirmed by police...
NORAD activated, fighter jets being scrambled, will fly over major U.S. cities...
STOCKS DIVE ON NEWS... DEVELOPING...

Used to be, this country was badass. What happened?

Confidence and optimism have been replaced by fear and incompetence.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Oh good Ford.

Accidents happen.

And when we were actually attacked, no jets were scrambling in my neck of the woods.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Used to be, this country was badass. What happened?

Captain aWol, 2nd Lt. Other Priorities and Ensign Peace-time Pilot would be my best guess.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

The plane fell apart on impact and fell to the street.

Witnesses on the scene are stating that they have observed two bodies, but this has not been confirmed by "sanctioned authorities."

Still no indications of terrorism being the impetus. So far it looks like an accident. The plane was flying on sight rules, so no contact with controllers was required.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Army recruiting tops new goals
By Rowan Scarborough
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
December 13, 2005


The Army has exceeded recruiting goals in the first two months of this fiscal year, reversing a trend that had some Iraq critics saying the armed services branch was "broken."

By Sept. 30, recruiters had brought in 73,000 future soldiers, a number the Army said was sufficient to sustain the force the next year. The Army last missed its mark in 1999."

http://www.washtimes.com/national/20051212-110459-3810r.htm


"Great minds all think alike, ibc...see Windhorse and myself, crushing the skulls of our enemies with the same basic facts..." - frail rider


You're a puppet frail, nothing more, nothing less. Regurgitating left wing talking points in the absence of any brain that might occupy your skull.

"The report on food security and vulnerability in Iraq said almost one child in every 10 aged between six months and five years, suffered acute malnourishment. It described Iraqi children as major victims of food insecurity. The situation is alarming" - frail mind rider


Frail, you won't have any credibility until I see you sign up and go over to Iraq to care for the Iraqi children that you obviously obssess about. You can do it frail, they need your help.

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

"The Army last missed its mark in 1999."


Geez, I wonder if this is because of Clintons success in Somalia?

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, boy, I get really charged up when Iraqi children are major victims. Tell me more so I can IM my buddy Mark Foley.

Posted by: Jay the pedophile on October 11, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

"Great minds all think alike" - frail rider


And here is the example of "great minds"


"Oh, boy, I get really charged up when Iraqi children are major victims. Tell me more so I can IM my buddy Mark Foley."

And then we wonder why they can't determine when, and if a dictator is lying.

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

There is more to the recruiting numbers than the 80K goal being met.

Like 17% on character, medical and low-ASVAB waivers.

Like the dearth of officers. Currently the Army is short 3500 officers and and the Reserves are missing nearly 11,000 leiutenants and captains.

To make the goals for new enlistees, recruits qualified for OCS were not informed of the option in order to make the quotas.

As to the retention rate: Would you re-up and take the bonus, or be kept in a war-zone anyway because of stop-loss?

Posted by: Joyfully Subversive on October 11, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

I can't help myslef for being a pervert. I'm Jay! That's me.

I really wish the age of consent was 12. My buddy Mark Foley wishes so too. He trains them until they reach the age of consent and then I put on my cowboy hat and yeehaw! Hastert doesn't mind. He lives with all men in his DC apt. while his wife stays in a hotel. We have lots of fun with the pages at his place.

Posted by: Jay the pedophile on October 11, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

"It was not immediately known if it was a terrorist act." - frail rider


What terrorists? There's no terrorists. This whole war on terror is a GOP propaganda tool to retain power.


Right frail?

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Confidence and optimism have been replaced by fear and incompetence." - frail rider


But enough about frails' family.

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Oooooo, propaganda TOOLS. Ya, baby. That's what I'm talking about.

Posted by: Jay the pedophile on October 11, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

"Glad to see that Pale Rider is still whacking the CRs." - apollo


um....that's whacking his own cr, or whatever you're calling it these days.

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Frail, you won't have any credibility until I see you sign up and go over to Iraq to care for the Iraqi children that you obviously obssess about. You can do it frail, they need your help.

Having been in uniform for both Afghanistan and Iraq, I can assure you that I am quite pleased that I did not have to go. And the war in Iraq was certainly a damned good reason to get out, I can assure you of that. So many people have been voting with their feet that it isn't funny. Here's the bottom line--if you can't re-up and get a bonus, you get out. That's the whole structure of the re-enlistment bonus structure. It is designed to get people to go from the first enlistment to the second enlistment, and maybe one more beyond that; once you hit 10-12 years, the bonuses usually decrease dramatically because they figure they have you locked up.

The only reason you see retention right now is because DoD will give an E-4 $60,000-75,000 tax free for re-upping. If you re-enlist in a combat zone, the bonus isn't taxed. No bonus? No re-enlistments. Officers have been abandoning the military in droves.

They are taking white supremacists, gang bangers, drug addicts, the mentally ill and high school dropouts at a rate unimaginable ten years ago.

Currently, so much of what the Army does requires people to have an ability to read and write at the 8th grade level. Guess what? You take the low hanging fruit and scrape the bottom of the barrel, goodbye to your standards. How many accidents are going to happen because Private Johnny can't read or use basic logic skills because he's tripped up on goofballs or thinking about stabbing his bunkmate for taking his Xbox without asking?

Your assertion, though, is verifiably wrong:

Final numbers are in from the Department of Defense, and as expected, the Army missed its fiscal 2005 recruiting goal by a wide margin, falling short by more than 6,600 soldiers. The Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Navy Reserve and Air National Guard also all missed their recruiting goals, each pulling in less than 90 percent of their targets.

The rest of your blather hits like a drunk trying to shoot a sparrow out of the sky with a shotgun blast to the foot.

Jay's ready to cut and run, Republican Party: How about you?

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, boy... whacking!

Maf54 (7:46:33 PM): did any girl give you a haand job this weekend

Xxxxxxxxx (7:46:38 PM): lol no

Xxxxxxxxx (7:46:40 PM): im single right now

Xxxxxxxxx (7:46:57 PM): my last gf and i broke up a few weeks agi

Maf54 (7:47:11 PM): are you

Maf54 (7:47:11 PM): good so your getting horny

Xxxxxxxxx (7:47:29 PM): lola bit

Maf54 (7:48:00 PM): did you spank it this weekend yourself

Posted by: Jay the pedophile on October 11, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Poor Jay - someone must have put their dick in his mouth and stirred up his little pot today.

Now we know where Nathan ran off to...

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

"It was not immediately known if it was a terrorist act." - frail rider

Which actually came out of the news story and not my analysis, but thanks for playing.

Accuracy never was Jay's strong suit.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

But he's great at smoking pole.

Posted by: Jay the pedophile on October 11, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Having been in uniform for both Afghanistan and Iraq, I can assure you that I am quite pleased that I did not have to go. And the war in Iraq was certainly a damned good reason to get out...." - frail rider


So when the going got tough, you got out. And, after not being deployed to Iraq, you certainly seem to know exactly what's going on there. Interesting. I have a family member there that doesn't share your opinion.

"...the Army missed its fiscal 2005 recruiting goal by a wide margin, falling short by more than 6,600 soldiers." - frail rider

Interesting that you can not provide a link. Here's what my search found:


"Army recruiting tops new goals
By Rowan Scarborough
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
December 13, 2005

The Army has exceeded recruiting goals in the first two months of this fiscal year, reversing a trend that had some Iraq critics saying the armed services branch was "broken."

By Sept. 30, recruiters had brought in 73,000 future soldiers, a number the Army said was sufficient to sustain the force the next year.
The Army last missed its mark in 1999."

I have to say though that I am glad you are out of the military. Having someone like you represent America would be embarrasing.


Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Oooo, oooo, the Washington Times.

The Washington Times
Resign, Mr. Speaker
TODAY'S EDITORIAL
October 3, 2006

The facts of the disgrace of Mark Foley, who was a Republican member of the House from a Florida district until he resigned last week, constitute a disgrace for every Republican member of Congress. Red flags emerged in late 2005, perhaps even earlier, in suggestive and wholly inappropriate e-mail messages to underage congressional pages. His aberrant, predatory -- and possibly criminal -- behavior was an open secret among the pages who were his prey. The evidence was strong enough long enough ago that the speaker should have relieved Mr. Foley of his committee responsibilities contingent on a full investigation to learn what had taken place, whether any laws had been violated and what action, up to and including prosecution, were warranted by the facts. This never happened.


House Speaker Dennis Hastert must do the only right thing, and resign his speakership at once. Either he was grossly negligent for not taking the red flags fully into account and ordering a swift investigation, for not even remembering the order of events leading up to last week's revelations -- or he deliberately looked the other way in hopes that a brewing scandal would simply blow away. He gave phony answers Friday to the old and ever-relevant questions of what did he know and when did he know it? Mr. Hastert has forfeited the confidence of the public and his party, and he cannot preside over the necessary coming investigation, an investigation that must examine his own inept performance.

Posted by: Jay the pedophile on October 11, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

By JOHN SOLOMON and KATHLEEN HENNESSEY
Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show.
In the process, Reid did not disclose to Congress an earlier sale in which he transferred his land to a company created by a friend and took a financial stake in that company, according to records and interviews.


uh oh................


What was that about the culture of corruption again?

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Here's what my search found:

try harder

Google "army recruit goals 2005", first link:

http://www.army.mil/recruitingandretention/:

The active-duty Army gained 8,710 new Soldiers into its ranks in September, exceeding that months goal of 8,365 by 345. Fiscal year 2005 active-duty Army recruitment goals stood at 92 percent complete, with 73,373 new Soldiers joining the force. The mission goal was to recruit 80,000.

The Army Reserve accessed 2,208 Soldiers into its ranks during September, exceeding its goal by 190 Soldiers. At the end of fiscal year 2005, the Reserves Army accessed 23,859 Soldiers, 84 percent of its mission goal of 28,485.

--

Posted by: cleek on October 11, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Maf54 (7:53:54 PM): do you really do it face down

Xxxxxxxxx (7:54:03 PM): ya

Maf54 (7:54:13 PM): kneeling

Xxxxxxxxx (7:54:31 PM): well i dont use my handi use the bed itself

Maf54 (7:54:31 PM): where do you unload it

Xxxxxxxxx (7:54:36 PM): towel

Maf54 (7:54:43 PM): really

Maf54 (7:55:02 PM): completely naked?

Xxxxxxxxx (7:55:12 PM): well ya

Maf54 (7:55:21 PM): very nice

Xxxxxxxxx (7:55:24 PM): lol

Maf54 (7:55:51 PM): cute butt bouncing in the air

Posted by: Jay the pedophile on October 11, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

What was that about the culture of corruption again?

Reid, Jefferson

vs

Delay, Cunningham, Ney, Foley, Hastert, Frist, Taft, Safavian, Abramoff, Wilkes, Tobin,... etc.

Posted by: cleek on October 11, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

"It was not immediately known if it was a terrorist act."

Based on DHS distributions, I thought they were supposed to strike Idaho.

Posted by: ckelly on October 11, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

But so far, the Democrats' idea to make Hastert the villain has not worked.

An ABC News/Washington Post survey taken Oct. 5 to 8 found that three of every four respondents did not think Democrats would have handled the Foley matter any better, and roughly two in three thought Democrats were pursuing the matter for political gain, not to raise legitimate concerns

http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-foley1011.artoct11,0,4392221.story?coll=hc-headlines-politics

Dammit. Valerie Plame didn't work either. How are you going to gain power without actually having to put together a plan?

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Short Jay: Look over there, Reid land deals, army recruiting...

Read carefully, Jay. This is a thread about Iraq death rates.

Jay flings crap like a monkey at the zoo.


Posted by: ckelly on October 11, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Well, if that great bastion of journalism, The Washington Times, says its so, then it be so.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Holy crap!

AP: FAA records indicate crashed plane registered to Yankees' Cory Lidle

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Just a friendly note: Here in Washington, nobody actually reads the Washington Times. Seriously...it's a joke even to the staff of the purest of the movement GOP Congressmen. The paper's sole purpose is to rally the mouth-breathing true believers back home, and you seem to be much more sophisticated than that. Just a helpful tip.

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

the mouth-breathing true believers back home

And that pretty much sums up Jay Shaver, right there...

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Here you go, buddy. Quote this one, it'll make folks think you're "in the know". You'll want to post it along with something snarky, though. Just so they know you haven't lost your "edge":
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1232092/posts

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Just a friendly note: Here in Washington, nobody actually reads the Washington Times" - ibc


As opposed to that beacon of truth the NYT.

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

"This is a thread about Iraq death rates." - ckelly


oh that's right, it's all about the children.

Why can't I find any concerned liberal articles re: the Iraqi death rate under the policy of containment?

Did you care about the Iraqi's then? Or is it hip to be concerned now?

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Now see? Nobody mentioned the NYTimes. The topic was the Washington Times. And The NYTimes lost credibility in my eyes with Judith Iscariot.

Posted by: Joyfully Subversive on October 11, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, I posted the wrong link...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1716713/posts

OMFG!! there's a slam on the NYT *right there in the headline*! Dude, you're like psychic!

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Plenty of people were concerned about the welfare of and death rate among Iraqi's in the decade between wars.

It appears that Cory Lidle was on the plane, and witnesses say it sounded like the engine was the problem.

Posted by: Joyfully Subversive on October 11, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Nah, Jay's rightno conservative who actually has a job in politics reads the NY Times either. They read the WSJ. Of course, they start with the Op/Ed page, in order to steel themselves for their foray into the liberal conspiracy that is pages A1-A12.

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Just by way of comparison, Saddam's Al-Anfal campaign of genocide against the Kurds (for which he is facing trial at the moment) killed an estimated 182,000 people. Bush has killed between 2 and 5 times that number, in a similar length of time.

And while we're at it: his "pyramid of skulls" would be taller than the White House.

Posted by: Idiot/Savant on October 11, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Just by way of comparison, Saddam's Al-Anfal campaign of genocide against the Kurds (for which he is facing trial at the moment) killed an estimated 182,000 people. Bush has killed between 2 and 5 times that number, in a similar length of time." - Idiot/Savant


Just assuming that the number of 655,000 is accurate. Only 31%, or 200,000 would be attributable to the US. 450,000 of which would be attributed to "others".

So your claim that Bush "killed" 2 to 5 times that number is just a LIE upon another LIE.

You could not have picked a better handle though.

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Why can't I find any concerned liberal articles re: the Iraqi death rate under the policy of containment?

Bah! C'mon, just do a little google search for "iraq children 1992" and, voila!

The Amerikan population as a whole, the majority of whom are exploiters, had and continue to have collective responsibility for Amerikan imperialist militarism and genocide. In his essay "Some People Push Back," Ward Churchill adequately points out that the Amerikan population, and particularly the "well-educated," had collective knowledge of the consequences of the sanctions against Iraq. However, Amerikans had knowledge of the child mortality and other undesirable effects of the Iraq sanctions even earlier than Dennis Halliday's statements in 1998, or 1996, the year of the 60 Minutes broadcast with Madeline Albright.

There's more here, but it may get blocked if your parent's have something like netnanny installed. YMMV

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

"The Amerikan...."


Interesting how American is spelled. Hardly sincere.

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I thought they showed great restraint by using only one 'k'; you should see how they spell "United States."

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Looks to me like more than a couple of people were concerned about the affect sanctions had on the people of Iraq. I googled "Iraq, sanctions, protests, americans" and the following links were on page one, out of 3,740,000 hits.

http://www.zmag.org/Bulletins/pirprot.htm

http://www.commondreams.org/views/081500-103.htm

http://www.tandl.vt.edu/Foundations/mediaproject/mediaprojecthtml/iraq12.html

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

The focus is on u.$. mainstream newspapers, and these are just a handful of the articles Amerikans read in just 1991-1995...Keep in mind that this is not just about the viscerally repugnant effects of the Iraq sanctions, but rather a pattern of Amerikans, including leftists and even "socialists" (not to mention DemoKKKrats and RepubliKKKans), denying and then feigning ignorance about the consequences of Amerikan imperialist militarism and genocide generally.

Oh, damn! I just went back and checked, and these guys aren't Liberals at all! They're a Maoist splinter group of some kind! In any case, I think they'd be pretty hurt by your implication that they aren't sincere. From what little I read, they sound about as earnest can be. Sounds like you guys are of like minds though. At least on this topic.

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

The U.S. Census Bureau's demographic surveys use cluster sampling. Just in case anyone's wondering about the underlying legitimacy of the method.

The reason cluster sampling is used domestically is that, quite simply, it saves money. It's quicker and easier for a Census field rep to park the car, knock on the doors of four preselected houses within easy walking distance, then get back in the car and repeat at three other places in one day, than to have to drive to sixteen different places to knock on one door at each place.

This does have an effect on the variance of the estimates, but that effect has been studied in considerable detail.

Posted by: RT on October 11, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Why can't I find any concerned liberal articles re: the Iraqi death rate under the policy of containment?

Posted by: cleek on October 11, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

In the past the work of these very researchers has been touted by the administration. But now they've gone and found out something that won't spin well.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Looks to me like more than a couple of people were concerned about the affect sanctions had on the people of Iraq.

Feh. "Concerned"? Less Martin Sheen, more "Shock and Awe." Martin Sheen and his gas chlorinators were not going to take out Saddam's infrastructure and set Democracy in motion. I think Jay was looking for a little something more "muscular".

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Damned flacid liberal concerns. Worried about actual lives. How boring.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

If the JH authors are correct, the real number of deaths is 12-14 times the actual body count. Where are all the bodies? Are there new, secret and unreported, mass graves with about 600,000 bodies in them? Are forensic anthropologists looking to study them, as they are for the hundreds of thousands dead in the mass graves from the Saddam Hussein era?

Surely the people whom the JH team spoke with can assist them in finding all those bodies.

Posted by: papago on October 11, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

It isn't that they have died ten thousand at a whack in massive violent attacks. It is the significant uptick in the mortality rate and in deaths from chronic conditions that were hastened by inadequate care, and acute conditions that were not treated in a timely fashion.

Anyone have a link to the study itself, not just a lot of words about it?

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

I saw or heard somewhere that the JH team saw death certificates for the fatalities. I'll take that for empirical data.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK
Just assuming that the number of 655,000 is accurate. Only 31%, or 200,000 would be attributable to the US. 450,000 of which would be attributed to "others".

No, 31% of the 601,000 violent deaths are directly perpetrated by the US and coalition forces. 100% of the 655,000 total additional deaths resulting from the invasion are attributable to the US, specifically, to the invasion of Iraq.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 11, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

ibc: these guys aren't Liberals at all! They're a Maoist splinter group of some kind!

There's a difference?

They read the WSJ. Of course, they start with the Op/Ed page, in order to steel themselves for their foray into the liberal conspiracy that is pages A1-A12.

The latest Leftist Conspiracy: truth.

P.S. The WSJ is a good paper - you just have to know how to read it. Lacking comics, they have their editorials instead.

Posted by: alex on October 11, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

I've scoured the internets, and managed to find it here on the front page of the Lancet website. :)

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

there's only about a 2% chance that the true figure is either half or double the reported figure.

There is a substantial probability that the Iraq Body Count is correct (45,000 - 55,000) and that the JH study overestimates by a factor of 12-14. Whatever it is that the JH team has estimated with a probable error of 2% is something other than the actual death toll in Iraq.

maybe these are the people who believed the pre-invasion UNESCO claim that the UN sanctions were causing 30,000 deaths per month.

Posted by: papago on October 11, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Let me clarify that last post - I will accept death certificates as empirical data - not my assertion that I heard it somewhere.

I should have said "I would accept that [death certificates] as empirical data."

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Would you do me a favor and email me the text? Pretty please? I can't open PDF files. I got a new computer about a month ago and PDF's won't open.:(

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

alex:ibc: these guys aren't Liberals at all! They're a Maoist splinter group of some kind!

There's a difference?

You've done it now! Those Maoists sure are gonna be peeved!

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah. Those Maoists might get really pissed being compared to American liberals.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

There is a substantial probability that the Iraq Body Count is correct (45,000 - 55,000) and that the JH study overestimates by a factor of 12-14.

I concur with your layman's estimate. I would put the probability that the iraqbodycount.org number is the upper bound at, say, one. I mean, IBC arrived at the number by tabulating the number of people reported as dead in at least *two* sources of online media. That's pretty substantial.

While it's not as science-y as the JH/MIT study, it makes me feel much nicer inside. And it's what's inside that counts.

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

There is a substantial probability that the Iraq Body Count is correct (45,000 - 55,000) and that the JH study overestimates by a factor of 12-14.

Because I SAID so that's why. - papago

Posted by: ckelly on October 11, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Feh. Those John's Hopkins researchers have no credibility whatsoever. I know I would never want a doctor who was trained in that podunk school to take care of me.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

How many died in the early days of the intense bombing? All that shockin' and awe'in could sure contribute to the 600K dead. It wasn't just a video game after all - at least not for the Iraqis.

Posted by: ckelly on October 11, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe these are the people who believed the pre-invasion UNESCO claim that the UN sanctions were causing 30,000 deaths per month.

Um, sure. Maybe. I don't think so, though.

Could you make your point a bit more explicitly for the addle-pated among us? Are you saying that the 30,000 number was inflated by an order of magnitude (as you're claiming w/ the JH/MIT study)? Or that it was accurate? Or, like, what am I missing?

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks ibc. :)

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

There is a substantial probability that the Iraq Body Count is correct (45,000 - 55,000) and that the JH study overestimates by a factor of 12-14.

Actually, as the web site of Iraq Body Count itself concedes (emphases mine):

"What we are attempting to provide is a credible compilation of civilian deaths that have been reported by recognized sources. Our maximum therefore refers to reported deaths - which can only be a sample of true deaths unless one assumes that every civilian death has been reported. It is likely that many if not most civilian casualties will go unreported by the media. That is the sad nature of war."

IBC will only count deaths if they have been reported by recognized authorities or the news media. However, as they say "many if not most" deaths in Iraq probably occur under circumstances in which the death is never reported to any sort of competent authority (for example, a bombing in a remote village in Anbar Province), and even if reported that reporting does not filter down to a level at which an outside group such as IBC gets wind of it.

Aauging an accurate count is further hampered by the extremely high level of violence in Iraq, which hinders travel and communication, so, somewhat ironically, the more deaths, the less likely they are to be reported.

Posted by: Stefan on October 11, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Why can't I find any concerned liberal articles re: the Iraqi death rate under the policy of containment?

Because you're a functional illiterate with extremely poor research skills and even worse reading comprehension?

Posted by: Stefan on October 11, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Serious people don't ignore findings published in The Lancet without considerable evidence. The Lancet's on par with Nature, getting an article in that publication can make a career.

However, some commenters here with unjustifiably high opinions of their own intellects, and armed with not anything even closely resembling a rational thought, let alone shred of evidence, seem to think they are smarter than the reviewers at the Lancet, and they have come out (Oh happy day!) to clarify for us what the tenured, nobel-holding nitwits at the Lancet obviously fucked up.

Stop embarassing yourselves.

Posted by: dk on October 11, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Schoomaker said today that we shouldbe prepared to maintain current troop levels in Iraq for eight to ten more Friedmans.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting how quickly the "Word" is disseminated from 1600 Avenue. Shrub goes in front of the press corps and dismissed the report. Within seconds, the Schaife School of Keyboarders go to work on the net with their misinformation campaign.

When King George told the press that one of his jobs was to read intelligence reports and act upon them in order to protect this country, why did not one press member have the guts to ask him if he had instituted that policy on 9/12/01. Must have really had some revelations down in that rabbit hole.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 11, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

I am a member of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) and I want to second what dk said about the implied credibility of The Lancet. It has more credibility among pathologists than our own organizations publications, The American Journal of Clinical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and these are solid respected professional journals. Only a buffoon would dismiss a study conducted by Johns Hopkins and published in The Lancet out-of-hand.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

To those asking where are all the bodies, all over Iraq in those locations the media has no access to because the levels of violence are too severe for them to get there. Keep in mind the mass body finds we all hear about are in one of a half dozen cities including Baghdad, and that is only a fraction of the totality of Iraq and the population of it. So all those dismissing this study because they haven't seen the bodies on the news are demonstrating just how ignorant of reality they truly are in this matter. Not like that is any shock given whose voices those have been here.

I also saw a interview earlier today with one of the study authors and one thing he said really stuck in my mind. He said that in 92% of the households they were able to present a certificate of death to prove they had lost loved ones. Think about that, 92% had death certificates. Therefore the notion that this study is way off because no one saw bodies is as all Trolletariat talking points based on a lie and totally unsupported by anything other than their desperate blind faith in the rectitude of their side regardless of reality and facts on the ground. In other words the typical GOP/Bush43 supporter.

Posted by: Scotian on October 11, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen,

That is President Buffoon - Have you no respect for our CinC - i.e. Comedian in Chief.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 11, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, Global Citizen and dk are quite correct regarding the professional credibility of Lancet, both in NA and throughout the world. So to dismiss this study because it is printed there demonstrates an appalling lack of understanding even by Trolletariat standards of these matters. The Lancet is one of the most well respected credible professional publications going in the entire realm of professional publications in all fields and not just medicine.

Posted by: Scotian on October 11, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

The Lancet is one of the most well respected credible professional publications going in the entire realm of professional publications in all fields and not just medicine.

Well, what do you expect when the Trolls are citing articles from The Washington Times?

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

In the Muslim world, families try to inter the body in a plain wooden box the same day the individual was killed. Many probably do not want to have any involvement with the authorities because of fear of reprisal by militias and/or the Americans. Camera crews are not exactly strolling through the vast neighborhoods of Baghdad. Juan Cole at Informed Comment has an interesting column as to the report.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 11, 2006 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Elementary Statistics is one of the classes I am teaching this semester at a community college in exchange for a break on my grad school fees. I think I can explain a cluster sample. (The US Census is conducted by cluster sampling, by the way. Does anyone think we are off in our population estimates by a factor of five or six?)

Cluster sampling is used when the geographic area is vast, or when the population is large. In a cluster study, subjects are selected by using an intact group that is representative of the population being studied.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

NPR covered this on "All Things Considered" this afternoon, and what was common among those who disagreed with the study, as with those here and elsewhere, is that they did so not on the basis of any purported scientific error, but on the basis that they simply did not want to believe the study.

Posted by: PaulB on October 11, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Global,

Have someone help you get the right Adobe Acrobat Reader or Adobe plugin (not necessarily the latest -- it sometimes helps to have a couple of different versions to try on particular files) on your computer. . . Or otherwise assess your PC's major malfunction. You'll probably need to be reading a lot of PDFs as you get further in grad school. Electronic journals are the bomb.

Posted by: B on October 11, 2006 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

Windhorse on October 11, 2006 at 12:07 PM

so what is the daily death toll?

650,000 is more than the combat death toll in the U.S. Civil War.

650,000 is about 5% of the Iraqi population: note, that is claimed to be the EXCESS over the natural death rate.

650,000 is about double the number of German soldiers killed and captured at Stalingrad.

650,000 is about 2/3 the number of people who starved in Leningrad during the siege.

650,000 is about 2/3 the number of Iraqis lost in the Iran/Iraq war.

650,000 is about triple the total casualties from the firebombing of Tokyo and the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki altogether.

650,000 can not possibly be close to accurate.

Posted by: papago on October 11, 2006 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

where are all the bodies

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence -- who said that again?

Look, the methodology of this study is obviously flawed. They conducted interviews with a large statistically representative sample of the population and checked the documents against publicly available databases.

That's no way to gather intelligence. What they should have done is offer tens of thousands of dollars in rewards to a couple of shady characters who say they used to work for the enemy, and then believe every ridiculous story they tell without ever checking the reliability of the data. Why, if we had gathered our pre-war intelligence on Iraq the way these so-called "scientists" did, we probably never even would have invaded!

Posted by: brooksfoe on October 11, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

where are all the bodies

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence -- who said that again?

Look, the methodology of this study is obviously flawed. They conducted interviews with a large statistically representative sample of the population and checked the documents against publicly available databases.

That's no way to gather intelligence. What they should have done is offer tens of thousands of dollars in rewards to a couple of shady characters who say they used to work for the enemy, and then believe every ridiculous story they tell without ever checking the reliability of the data. Why, if we had gathered our pre-war intelligence on Iraq the way these so-called "scientists" did, we probably never even would have invaded!

Posted by: brooksfoe on October 11, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

windhorse:Death due to cancer has increased because treatment programs stopped and medicines are not available.

That exact claim was made before the invasion. besides, the incidence of cancer and other diseases realted to DU was extraordinarily high.

Posted by: papago on October 11, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

650,000 is more than the combat death toll in the U.S. Civil War.

The Iraqi occupation has lasted almost as long as te combat phase of the US Civil War. Your figure does not include the civilian death toll in the US civil war, presumably much higher. So this is not terribly convincing.

650,000 is about double the number of German soldiers killed and captured at Stalingrad.

So? One battle. That makes this seem if anything more plausible.

650,000 is about 2/3 the number of people who starved in Leningrad during the siege.

The siege was much shorter than the war in Iraq has been, and Leningrad was a city with about 1/10th the population of Iraq. Again, more plausible.

650,000 is about 2/3 the number of Iraqis lost in the Iran/Iraq war.

According to those extremely reliable Iraqi figures, right? And again, those were only the combat deaths, right?

650,000 is about triple the total casualties from the firebombing of Tokyo and the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki altogether.

So?

650,000 can not possibly be close to accurate.

Because...it just sounds wrong? See, this is why we distinguish between "faith-based" and "reality-based". It's quite possible that this study is off; it sounds too high to me, too. But to argue against it, you really need SOME kind of evidence.

Posted by: brooksfoe on October 11, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

The U.S. Census Bureau's demographic surveys use cluster sampling. Just in case anyone's wondering about the underlying legitimacy of the method.

Yes, but they have done a great deal of work to ensure that the sampling frames are complete and up-to-date, and they take a large sample.

Posted by: papago on October 11, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

650,000 can not possibly be close to accurate.

Over 2,000,000 Vietnamese died in the American phase of the Vietnam War, just to put this in perspective. So yes, 650,000 can be quite close to accurate.

Posted by: Stefan on October 11, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan: "What we are attempting to provide is a credible compilation of civilian deaths that have been reported by recognized sources. Our maximum therefore refers to reported deaths - which can only be a sample of true deaths unless one assumes that every civilian death has been reported. It is likely that many if not most civilian casualties will go unreported by the media. That is the sad nature of war."

That is a good quote. The JH/MIT study claims that IBC misses about 93% of all deaths related to the US invasion.

Posted by: papago on October 11, 2006 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

That is a good quote. The JH/MIT study claims that IBC misses about 93% of all deaths related to the US invasion.

That seems about right. I'd assume the overwhelming majority of deaths are not made known to any sort of credible reporting authority.

Imagine, for example, that you're a Sunni family in Shiite-dominated Basra, and a Shiite death squad drops by to kidnap, torture and murder your whole family. Who exactly do you report it to? The Shiite police, who are in league with the murderers (if they're not the murderers themselves, that is)?

Posted by: Stefan on October 11, 2006 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

dk: However, some commenters here with unjustifiably high opinions of their own intellects, and armed with not anything even closely resembling a rational thought, let alone shred of evidence, seem to think they are smarter than the reviewers at the Lancet, and they have come out (Oh happy day!) to clarify for us what the tenured, nobel-holding nitwits at the Lancet obviously fucked up.

Surely you are aware that epidemiologists, journal editors, and journal reviewers make mistakes sometimes?

The sizes of these numbers (155 kills per day by US troops, day in and day out; more total deaths than the combat deaths of the US civil war; higher rates of death than the immediate prewar years when medicines really were unavailable because the Baathist government was stockpiling them), if true, mean that Iraq is now suffering more than the USSR suffered during WWII. Such an extraordinary claim requires more than one study with a cluster sample of about 1,000 people, with 80% of deaths confirmed by death certificate.

Posted by: papago on October 11, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat -- I mean, "papago," just how many Iraqi deaths would make you feel good about this invasion?

Is it the 50,000 number from IBC, which they qualify as not counting "many if not most of Iraqi deaths"? I mean, 50,000 sounds reasonable, doesn't it? It's a neat and tidy number. It doesn't make the U.S. look too bad cause you've got to break a few eggs if you're gonna make a democratic omelet, am I right? And we can sleep well at night by telling ourselves most of those people were just bad old terrorists anyway.

And 50,00 is not yet six figures, which just seems like a whole lot more and at a glance can look like seven figures -- which would make the U.S. look really bad and hurt morale among Republican voters.

Once you figure out what number you're comfortable with let me know, because apparently that's the number of people whose lives you're willing to unthinkingly sacrifice just to keep your ego and petty nationalistic feelings from being wounded.

The rest of us will stay focused on the moral and human dimension of this tragedy, thanks.

Posted by: Windhorse on October 11, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen: Only a buffoon would dismiss a study conducted by Johns Hopkins and published in The Lancet out-of-hand.

We all have credentials. I have a Ph.D. in statistics and am a member of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. Bigger mistakes than this have been made in print by other credentialled experts.

Only a buffoon pretends that academics in the U.S. are disinterested pursuers of the truth.

Posted by: papago on October 11, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

papago: Maybe these are the people who believed the pre-invasion UNESCO claim that the UN sanctions were causing 30,000 deaths per month.

not a very good comment. very indirect swipe at people who believe bad news. my bad.

Posted by: papago on October 11, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

And these are not all deaths related to violence - although those fatalities definitely represent the lion's share. The researchers ascertained the Death Rate and it has risen from 5.5 deaths per 1000 population to 13.3 deaths per 1000 population since the invasion. From the new death rate they interpolated that between 400K and 900K additional or hastened deaths had occured. The 655K number is the mid-point between the two parameters of the defined range.

Some of these deaths are due to inadequate and unavailable health care and treatment of chronic and acute diseases.

By the way - Where is Riverbend? She hasn't posted since August 5th.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

I think I have finally read through all of the comments. good comments, most of them. If the authors of the JH/MIT study are correct, then the situation in Iraq is truly awful; the courage of all those voters and elected representatives is even more amazing.

Posted by: papago on October 11, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

OH, absence of evidence sometimes is evidence of absence; consider the Michelson-Morley experiment; or the Pons-Fleishman "cold fusion" where the absence of simultaneous heat and radiation is taken as the evidence for the absence of fusion (by all except a few cranks.)

Posted by: papago on October 11, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

I have a Ph.D. in statistics and am a member of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics

If you're a statistician, then I'm Lucille Ball.

There is a substantial probability that the Iraq Body Count is correct (45,000 - 55,000)

Utter fucking bullshit. Not even IBC claim that they're remotely correct. The Lancet authors observe that the passive surveillance methodology employed by IBC has historically captured no more than 20% of the actual deaths in a war zone.

And second of all, in some bizarro universe where this methodology worked, what is the phrase a "substantial probability" coming from a "statistician" but evasive and emotionally loaded rhetoric?

Wrong on all counts.

And you claim to be a statistician?

650,000 is about 5% of the Iraqi population

Um, no, it's about 2.5% of the Iraqi population.

Basic arithmetic much?

And you claim to be a statistician?

Posted by: Windhorse on October 11, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

We all have credentials. I have a Ph.D. in statistics and am a member of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.

That's totally awesome! Good luck in your career. I hope that some day, when you are recognized as one of the foremost epidemiologists in the world, you'll be lucky enough to be the primary author of a peer-reviewed study published in a journal of the quality of The Lancet. Until that day, please keep posting anonymously in the comments section of Political Animal.

--ibc esq., ACM, IEEE, GPB, IMBA

Posted by: ibc on October 11, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

If the authors of the JH/MIT study are correct, then the situation in Iraq is truly awful; the courage of all those voters and elected representatives is even more amazing

Ummmm...yeaahhhh. If we truly have initiated this unheard of level of war time carnage by illegally invading a sovereign nation that posed no threat to us...then the courage of all those voters trying not to get killed by us or the violence we've spawned is totally...amazing.

Posted by: Windhorse on October 11, 2006 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Is that Ph.D. in stats from Liberty University?

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

The sizes of these numbers (155 kills per day by US troops, day in and day out;

Again, seems about right, given the scope and scale of US combat operations.

more total deaths than the combat deaths of the US civil war;

You seem somewhat fixated by this number. Why? Is there some bizarre statistical reason why the number of total combat and civilian deaths in Iraq cannot exceed the combat deaths of the US Civil War? Is there some reason why you're citing the Civil War rather than, say the War of the Spanish Succession or the Austro-Prussian War?

higher rates of death than the immediate prewar years when medicines really were unavailable because the Baathist government was stockpiling them),

Medicines really are unavailable now because there are no doctors to provide them.

if true, mean that Iraq is now suffering more than the USSR suffered during WWII.

The population of the USSR in June 1941 was about 200 million. The total estimated number of deaths suffered by the Soviets is about 20-25 million, meaning they lost about 10%-12.5% of the population. In Iraq, as Windhorse points out above, it's about 2.5% of the population.

So to echo Windhorse, you claim to be a statistician?

Posted by: Stefan on October 11, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

The sizes of these numbers (155 kills per day by US troops, day in and day out;

Keep in mind that US troops are engaged in about 100 plus combat encounters (i.e. bombings, firefights, raids, etc.) a day, day in and day out, not counting the deaths inflicted during non-combat operations, such as at roadblocks. Therefore the 155 figure seems about right.

Posted by: Stefan on October 11, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

And you claim to be a statistician?

Actually, I can't do arithmetic anymore. I bought an HP-41C calculator in 1980 or thereabouts, and ever since I can't multiply or divide.

The increase since the invasion is 2.5%

Does everybody here really believe that the Lancet is always correct?

The Lancet authors observe that the passive surveillance methodology employed by IBC has historically captured no more than 20% of the actual deaths in a war zone.

Only a small portion of Iraq is a "war zone": the Kurdish areas and most of the Shiite areas are not "war zones". the JH/MIT study extrapolates their result to all of Iraq.

Let me try that again: 655,000/30,000,000 is about 0.022.

As you probably know, all of the major journals publish retractions regularly. The first study that purported to identify a gene related to clinical depression was based on a likelihood ratio test of significance; but the entire effect was due to an unusual number of depressed people in one family, as a reanalysis showed. And the mistake was repeated in several subsequent studies, each purporting to identify a different gene. The study authors were senior faculty, and the results were published in the best journals.

This would make a good invited talk at next year's Joint Statistical Meeting. did you all attend the discussion of the 2004 polling/voting discrepancy that was presented at the 2005 meeting in Minneapolis?

Posted by: papago on October 11, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

The researchers ascertained the Death Rate and it has risen from 5.5 deaths per 1000 population to 13.3 deaths per 1000 population since the invasion. From the new death rate they interpolated that between 400K and 900K additional or hastened deaths had occured.

And what do you think happens as the healthy and most able Iraqis leave Iraq for neighboring countries and the less healthy, the aged, and the infirm remain? Do you think that might inflate the death rate. To paint an extreme example, compare the death rate of a nursing home to a grade school.

Posted by: TangoMan on October 11, 2006 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

As you probably know, all of the major journals publish retractions regularly.

So when can we expect yours?

Better yet, just go. If you can't accept the fact that the Iraqis are being killed by this war, then, by all means, just go.

While no one is claiming to have exact numbers, at least this is an honest attempt with reasonable methodology to provide an estimate.

Why can't it be as simple as that?

Oh, yeah. Statistics don't matter when they don't favor Republicans.

Learn that getting your bullshit PhD?

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 11, 2006 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Does everybody here really believe that the Lancet is always correct?"

Of course not, but so far, you have not successfully challenged these numbers on any kind of scientific basis -- you have simply reiterated that they cannot be correct because you don't want them to be correct. So on the choice of which to believe -- a peer-reviewed science-based article in a highly respected journal vs. an anonymous blog commenter who offers no real critique or data and gets even basic facts and figures wrong, well, gee, guess which one I'm going to believe?

"Only a small portion of Iraq is a "war zone": the Kurdish areas and most of the Shiite areas are not "war zones"."

There are three responses to this. The first is that you are simply incorrect regarding how much of Iraq regularly sees conflicts. The second is that conflicts have ripple effects beyond the immediate conflict zones, particularly with respect to such things as medical care, food, etc. And third, even if you were correct about the extent of the war zone, that zone includes an enormous percentage of the population of Iraq.

In short, your objections simply do not hold up to close scrutiny.

Posted by: PaulB on October 11, 2006 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

I am sure that the "Brain Drain" of physicians and allied health care professionals have contributed to the increased death rate as well.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 11, 2006 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Does everybody here really believe that the Lancet is always correct?"

I sure hope not. For an illustration of how wrong journals can be, and the political slant of some of the editors, all one need do is to look at the Ben Barres confessional that was published in Nature and our rebuttal.

Posted by: TangoMan on October 11, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

I also goofed on the sample size: it was 1800 homes and 12,000 interviewees.

Pale Rider: While no one is claiming to have exact numbers, at least this is an honest attempt with reasonable methodology to provide an estimate.

Probably honest, definitely a reasonable methodology with known strengths and weaknesses.

20% of the deaths had no corroborating birth certificates. Misremembering the dates of those deaths could account for the entire estimate of 2.2% more deaths since the invasion than before. Misremembering dates is the most important flaw, well documented to occur, in these surveys that are based on the memories of times past. The entire figure of 655,000 more deaths could be the result of misremembering the dates of a few dozen deaths. That's assuming that none of the most heavily adversely affected people, the Sunnis, were intentionally deceitful. If they were lying, the whole result is bogus.

Posted by: papago on October 12, 2006 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

20% of the deaths had no corroborating birth certificates.

Yeah, dude--there's a fucking war on. Sorry if the notary public wasn't home...

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 12, 2006 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

"20% of the deaths had no corroborating birth certificates."

I think that you mean death certificates, not birth certificates. In any case, the wonder here is not that there were 20% that did not; it's that there were 80% that did. That's a high number for a country like Iraq in the middle of a civil war. For you to pretend that the 20% is indicative of, well, anything other than your own desperation is rather pathetic.

"The entire figure of 655,000 more deaths could be the result of misremembering the dates of a few dozen deaths."

What complete and utter nonsense. Do you really not have anything better to do than spout such rubbish? If you have a problem with the study, then document its statistical flaws. Because right now, you're just sounding increasingly desperate and increasingly like a fool. So much for that Ph.D. of yours.

Posted by: PaulB on October 12, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

I forgot to comment on this one: If you can't accept the fact that the Iraqis are being killed by this war, then, by all means, just go.

the dispute is about the numbers.

I don't think the US can do anything about the deaths in Congo and Darfur, or N. Korea and Kashmir. It matters greatly whether the US intervention in Iraq has increased or decreased the aggregate rate of death. The JH/MIT study claims a large increase.

Posted by: papago on October 12, 2006 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

The entire figure of 655,000 more deaths could be the result of misremembering the dates of a few dozen deaths. That's assuming that none of the most heavily adversely affected people, the Sunnis, were intentionally deceitful. If they were lying, the whole result is bogus.

That makes it pretty easy to disregard the whole study, doesn't it?

Seriously--do you think you'd flub the date your loved one died?

It's so much easier when you can reduce these people to nothingness and hide behind a bullshit PhD and ignore the obvious--

--these people are fucking dying and you're arguing semantics over the methodology of the study used to attempt to estimate the horrific casualties.

Is that the first thing that goes when you become a fucking wingnut? Your humanity?

Jeebus H. Christ on a pogo stick--yeah, dude--they're just being deceitful about the death and destruction.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 12, 2006 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

I not onkly do not have a Ph.D in stats, i do not desire one. Inferential Stats is where I top out, thanks but no thanks.

I wish to post the following questions to our Ph.D.

If you were to design a study to determine the epidemiological effects of the war on the death rate of Iraqis, what methodology would you have used? What would you have done differently? What would you have done the same? What sample type and size would you have used? Have you downloaded the study and reviewed it through your professional lens?

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 12, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider: Seriously--do you think you'd flub the date your loved one died?

Research shows that people have very vivid memories of such dates, and that the memories are frequently wrong. Plenty of people who think they remember perfectly where they were and what they were doing when they learned that JFK was shot, or when the planes crashed into the WTC, are in fact mistaken.

And research shows that people lie in public opinion polls, and in research generally. Not everyone, of course, but enough.

Back to the study one last time. The authors' numbers, and KD's arithmetic, support the claim that Americans have been shooting and killing Iraqis at a rate of 155 per day, month after month, for 39 months.

And the claim was quoted above that medicines are actually much harder to come by than in the pre-war era, when it was said that medicines were totally unavailable.

Posted by: papago on October 12, 2006 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

So they went to 1800 homes and interviewed 12,000 people? Exactly what is the population density we're talking about here?

Seriously, though, the real weakness with using cluster samples to estimate this sort of information is that casualties in war tend to -also- occur in clusters. Especially in this kind of war, where most of the civilian deaths are caused by explosions going off in crowded urban areas, having a cluster of deaths overlap with a cluster of interviews will really throw your results off.

By way of example, if you're trying to figure out which percentage of Americans go to eat at a Greek restaurant once a week, random sampling is a good method. If you use cluster sampling instead of random sampling, though, and one of your clusters is an apartment building across the street from a fantastic Greek restaurant, you may come up with a number of Greek diners that is in excess of the true value.

I'll give them credit for good motives and say that the deficiencies are driven by logistical problems - i.e. it's dangerous and they only have so much money. And there ARE an awful lot of people dying in Iraq. But it's pretty unlikely that the 600k figure is real, and using it (especially with such a wide range of uncertainty) isn't really helpful to the conversation.

Posted by: Avatar on October 12, 2006 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

Only a buffoon pretends that academics in the U.S. are disinterested pursuers of the truth.

Unlike the Bush regime or the United States military, which can be trusted to provide us with accurate numbers....

Posted by: Stefan on October 12, 2006 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

Back to the study one last time. The authors' numbers, and KD's arithmetic, support the claim that Americans have been shooting and killing Iraqis at a rate of 155 per day, month after month, for 39 months.

And, as I noted, American forces are in combat engagements against Iraqis about 100 plus times a day, which means they are shooting and bombing Iraqis 100 plus times a day. Given that, a rough average of 155 deaths a day seems accurate.

Oh, and by the way, for someone who claims to be statistician, a rate of 155 does not translate into exactly 155 "every day, month after month"-- it means that the grand total over the sum total of months averages out to 155 per day.

Posted by: Stefan on October 12, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

A peek into the state of health care in Iraq from an article posted today:

Mr Mohsin did, however, agree that it was possible that as many as 50,000 people had died because of insufficient healthcare facilities. Obviously if we compare the standard of treatment to countries like the UK, we have lost a lot of people. That researchers from the respected Johns Hopkins University can place the estimated death toll at more than half a million reflects the shocking state of violence in Iraq and the near-total collapse of its medical infrastructure.

An Iraqi doctor from Baghdads main hospital told The Times yesterday that many routine operations had to be cancelled regularly to cope with the influx of people wounded in the citys daily gun battles, bombings and shootings.

Even those that are operated on usually die afterwards because of the lack of post operative care, said the doctor, who asked not to be identified. The city has only two dozen intensive care beds still operating, and in many cases patients have to buy their own oxygen bottles on the black market, a luxury most cannot afford.

If we send a wounded person to the general surgical ward after the operation no one will even take his blood pressure, said the doctor, noting that such a lack of care amounted to a death sentence on severely wounded patients.

A senior health ministry official concurred with his grim diagnosis.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2399950,00.html


Posted by: Windhorse on October 12, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

And research shows that people lie in public opinion polls, and in research generally. Not everyone, of course, but enough.

Research also shows that people lie in blog comments. Not everyone, of course, but Republicans, and paid Republican apologists.

Posted by: Stefan on October 12, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

Does everybody here really believe that the Lancet is always correct?

Ah, the dreaded strawman...remind me, was the question whether the Lancet is always at all times correct, or whether this particular peer-reviewed study in the Lancet stands up to methodological scrutiny? Ah, it was the second question, wasn't it?

Only a small portion of Iraq is a "war zone": the Kurdish areas and most of the Shiite areas are not "war zones".

Nope, that's a lie. The war (by which we include the civil war, sectarian violence, ethnic cleansing, car bombings, and the random kidnappings and murders due to the complete breakdown of security, and not merely combat operations involving American forces) is occuring in all areas of the country, even the Kurdish and southern Shiite areas.

Posted by: Stefan on October 12, 2006 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

12000 people in 1800 homes is an average of 6.67 persons per household. Not an unfathomable number in a society that lives frequently in extended-family living arrangements, especially in a time of war when family members have fled violence and are bunking with cousins, aunts and uncles etc.

And I am still waiting for someone with a greater knowledge of stats than I posess to answer the questions I posed earlier, and will repeat here:

If you were to design a study to determine the epidemiological effects of the war on the death rate of Iraqis, what methodology would you have used? What would you have done differently? What would you have done the same? What sample type and size would you have used? Have you downloaded the study and reviewed it through your professional lens?

By the way, virtually every public health study I have first-hand knowledge of was conducted using cluster sampling.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 12, 2006 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

Zogby on the Lancet study:

JOHN ZOGBY, ZOGBY INTERNATIONAL: I can't vouch for it 100 percent, but I'll vouch for it 95 percent, which is as good as it gets in survey research. I know PIPA, the group at the university that conducted the polling in the U.S. I know of the group that -- the university that published and conducted the survey on the Iraq side. In fact, we've used them ourselves. These are good researchers. I have read their methodology statement. It is a good one and a sound one.

But in terms of the sampling of methodology that was used, this is sound and this is going to generate quite a bit of debate.

I don't think that there's anybody in my business who responsibly believes that 30,000 to 40,000 or 45,000 Iraqis have been killed since March of 2003.

Huh. A professional pollster who thinks the methodology of the study was sound. Who to believe -- professional pollsters and world-renowned epidemiologists published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals -- or anonymous blog commenters with terrible math skills, poor reasoning, and bad facts?

Posted by: Windhorse on October 12, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Well, it is a school night, so I am off to bed. I will check the thread tomorrow and see if the questions I posed have been answered.

I sincerely hope they will be, because I know that when I walk into room 315 at 11:00 am tomorrow, half the class will have questions about it for me, and any further insight that could be provided would be welcome.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 12, 2006 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

Silence speaks volumes sometimes, GC.

Posted by: Hmmm on October 12, 2006 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

Paul B:

As I noted earlier I saw an interview with one of the study's authors and he noted that 92 % of the households were able to present a death certificate. Like yourself I had the thought that it was amazing that there was that high a percentage able to get such given the current levels of chaos in that country.

Stefan:

" more total deaths than the combat deaths of the US civil war; (S quoting papago)

You seem somewhat fixated by this number. Why? Is there some bizarre statistical reason why the number of total combat and civilian deaths in Iraq cannot exceed the combat deaths of the US Civil War? Is there some reason why you're citing the Civil War rather than, say the War of the Spanish Succession or the Austro-Prussian War? (S)"

It is a result of the tribalism inherent in the GOPer mindset I would argue. Since for them the Civil War was so horrific it is a meter stick and anything that creates worse death than that is a mental tipping point from when something can be justified to when something cannot be justified. Indeed, by the standards of wars from 140 years of either side of that conflict in western nations alone this was not that severe, but it was not red blooded Americans that died so horribly now was it? That would be my take on this fixation since I have seen it from many different right wingers/trolletariat whenever the topic of Iraqis dead because of American actions in Iraq comes up.

General:

Those of you that want to question the methodologies used in the study, especially Mr. I am a Stats doctorate, why don't you actually critique the actual techniques used in this specific study in the manner they were used instead of throwing out these 'well what about this potential flaw or this one regardless of whether it is applicable to this study' pieces? Of course we do not take what the Lancet publishes automatically as Gospel truth, but we do accord it a high degree of credibility until disproven using proper reasoning grounds and not a simple unwillingness to accept that things could really be that bad thanks to the American invasion of Iraq. So far anonymous self proclaimed unverifiable posters at this blog do not rise to that level of credibility, especially on their own words unsupported by referenced materials that also have survived peer review level examination.

So excuse us if we are more willing to listen to real experts that deal in reality/truth instead of truthiness. These are the same people doing the same survey in the same country with the same techniques of two years ago. The techniques were thoroughly examined and held up to proper scientific scrutiny as a valid process yielding valid results. Those that chose to disbelieve this study did so on the basis of personal conviction, not through anything they could prove was actually wrong with the study's research, just that the conclusion was one they found unacceptable. Therefore since we know this about this study and the fact Lancet is running it gives those of us that live in what Bushco quaintly called the reality based community reason to take it seriously and give it credence. This is the problem when you try to play these games with people that actually are accustomed to independent thinking and reasoning, we tend to notice when someone is trying to play expert opinion without actually demonstrating any good reason for anyone to believe them except for reasons other than simple agreement with their conclusions. Especially when there is no work showing how those conclusions were reached is presented.

So either present your arguments and demonstrate according to good scientific practice why this study is flawed and show your work as well as your conclusions or you can expect nothing more than the mockery you have already received from all those that actually do know how to think. Until then the lot of you provide no real reason to continue responding to aside from using you for the butt of our sense of humour/jokes. This is far too serious a matter to treat fools that would dismiss something this serious in such a blithe cavalier and ultimately empty manner as I have seen so far.

Posted by: Scotian on October 12, 2006 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

I thought I would check back in one last ime, after I got my PowerPoints ready for tomorrows lectures, but I see my questions have not been addressed.

Perhaps by the time class starts tomorrow?

I am not trying to be a pestering jackass. I really do want to know the answers to the questions I offered, and the answers a professional staistician could offer would be invaluable not just to me, but to my students as well.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 12, 2006 at 3:18 AM | PERMALINK
By JOHN SOLOMON and KATHLEEN HENNESSEY Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show.
In the process, Reid did not disclose to Congress an earlier sale in which he transferred his land to a company created by a friend and took a financial stake in that company, according to records and interviews.

uh oh................

What was that about the culture of corruption again?

Posted by: Jay on October 11, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK


Ah, a Matt Drudge and Limbaugh smear job. It figures that's where Jay got his erroneous bull.

Media Matters has the real truth:

In an October 11 headline on the Drudge Report, Internet gossip Matt Drudge misrepresented as a "sweetheart land deal" a business transaction involving Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV), as described in a report that day by Associated Press writers John Solomon and Kathleen Hennessey. In fact, far from establishing that Reid benefited from a "sweetheart" deal, the article charges Reid with "complex dealings" and improper reporting of a land transaction in Clark County, Nevada, but acknowledges that Reid paid market value for the land in question in 1998 and sold it to developers in 2004. Additionally, nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh read portions of the AP article on the October 11 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show, pointing to it as evidence of a "culture of corruption."

Limbaugh's identification of Solomon as "an AP writer that I have trusted" notwithstanding, Media Matters for America has previously identified misleading reports by Solomon about Senate Democrats:
  • In a May 29 article, Solomon suggested that Reid had acted improperly by attending Las Vegas boxing matches as the guest of the Nevada Athletic Commission "while that state agency was trying to influence him on federal regulation of boxing." But Solomon left out important details, as Media Matters noted here and here.
  • In February, Solomon wrote an article alleging ties between Reid and disgraced former GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff that similarly came under fire, from Media Matters and others, for omitting crucial facts regarding the actions in question. Shortly thereafter, more details came to light undermining Solomon's allegations. But rather than acknowledge the flaws in his article, Solomon wrote a follow-up piece that misleadingly offered the new information as support for his original case.
  • In November 2005, Solomon similarly alleged connections between Abramoff and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), but ignored evidence undermining his claim that the lobbyist had directed contributions to Dorgan after the senator aided his clients. When Dorgan later returned the contributions he had received from Abramoff's clients, Solomon wrote an article in which he took credit for this development, but ignored the evidence undermining the purported ties between Abramoff and Dorgan that Solomon pushed in his first article.
From the October 11 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: An Associated Press story by John Solomon -- he is an AP writer that I have trusted. John Solomon's stuff is good. At the Associated Press: "Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years" -- this according to property deeds. Culture of corruption, anybody?
"In the process," Dingy Harry "did not disclose to Congress an earlier sale in which he transferred his land to a company created by a friend and took a financial stake in that company, according to records and interviews. Dingy Harry's [sic] deal was engineered by Jay Brown, a longtime friend and former casino lawyer, whose name surfaced in a major political bribery trial this summer and in other prior organized crime investigations. He's never been charged with wrongdoing -- except for a 1981 federal securities complaint that was settled out of court.
"Land deeds obtained by the Associated Press during a review of Reid's business dealings show" that the deal began in '98, when Dingy Harry "bought undeveloped residential property on Las Vegas' booming outskirts" for about 400 Gs. "Reid bought one lot outright ... a second parcel jointly with Brown. One of the sellers was a developer ... benefiting from a government land swap that Dingy Harry [sic] had supported." The seller never even talked to Harry Reid.
In 2001, Dingy Harry "sold the land for the same price to a limited liability corporation created by Brown. The senator didn't disclose the sale on his annual public ethics report or tell Congress that he had any stake in Brown's company. He continued to report to Congress he personally owned the land" even after he sold it. After getting local officials to rezone the property for a shopping center, Brown's company sold the land in 2004 to other developers" -- Dingy Harry took $1.1 million of the proceeds, "nearly tripling" his investment of $400,000.
"Reid reported it to Congress as a personal land sale. The complex dealings allowed Dingy Harry [sic] to transfer ownership, legal liability and some tax consequences to Brown's company without public knowledge, but still collect a seven-figure payoff nearly three years later. Dingy Harry [sic] hung up the phone when questioned about the deal during an AP interview last week."
Well. Well, well, well, well, well, well. I can imagine it has not been easy to gather this information, ladies and gentlemen. Dingy Harry, let's -- well, this is the AP. Let's see how far this goes.
Lies, lies, lies brought to you by parrots like Jay.
Posted by: dagger on October 12, 2006 at 7:06 AM | PERMALINK

Seriously, though, the real weakness with using cluster samples to estimate this sort of information is that casualties in war tend to -also- occur in clusters. Especially in this kind of war, where most of the civilian deaths are caused by explosions going off in crowded urban areas, having a cluster of deaths overlap with a cluster of interviews will really throw your results off.

Bah. That would skew the final number up, not down. A more apropos exsample would be throwing stones into a minefield to get a feel for how many mines there are. What are the odds of hitting a mine each time you throw a stone? Pretty slim. That's where the confidence interval is derived. Could you hit a mine with each throw? Yes. Is it likely? No. Welcome to the Crazy World of Statistics.

Posted by: ibc on October 12, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I have to go to school. I was sincerely hoping that those who found fault with the study would see fir to answer my questions, but alas no.

I am left to conclude that the study and methodology are sound; they merely report a finding the critics do not wish to acknowledge.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 12, 2006 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

GC, there is this diary over at DailyKos that points out some potential problems with the survey: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/10/11/135644/20. So far, that's the only thing I've seen that even comes close to successfully challenging the survey's methodology. Everything else I've seen has been of the order of papago's criticisms above -- they disagreed with the study because they simply did not want to believe it.

Posted by: PaulB on October 12, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Here are two more ideas.

1. In order to be accepted as fact, and empirical claim has to survive all criticisms, including criticisms by people whose political motives are the opposite of those of the authors. the Murray/Herrnstein "Bell shaped curve" was the focus of an invited session at the Joint Statistical Meetings a few years ago, and the focus of a compendium of critiques, both organized by Prof. Stephen Fienberg. I think it is fair to say that the ideas survived some attacks, but not others; the two books are better reading together than either is separately.

2. How many Sunnis would have to have lied about or misremembered the dates of the deaths of their loved ones? Well, depending on how many of the Sunnis reported at least one such death, about 10% of Sunnis reporting wrong deaths, or about 30% of Sunni-reported deaths. A thorough analysis would assess such possibilities, as well as the range of possibilities concerning the 20% of all reported deaths for which there was no birth certificate.

I wrote to the American Statistical Association, and some friends separately, proposing an invited session on this study for the 2007 Joint Statistical Meetings in Salt Lake City.

Posted by: papago on October 12, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

How many Sunnis would have to have lied about or misremembered the dates of the deaths of their loved ones?

No, the question is not whether they would get the specific date wrong -- i.e. substituting March 5, 2004 for March 15, 2004 -- but whether they got the entire year wrong -- i.e., believing that a death which took place pre-war in 2002 actually occured during the war in, say, 2003. While some people may make mistakes about the specific date their loved one died, I'd wager that few if any get the entire year wrong -- especially when we're only taking about the last three and a half years.

And, furthermore, I'd think that someone who knows that their loved one died after being shot to death by a Shiite death squad or torn apart by a US missile probably has a pretty good idea that that happened during the war, and not before it....

But please, go on spinning. It's always fun to swing at the big fat softballs as they gently lob over the plate.

Posted by: Stefan on October 12, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

But please, go on spinning.

This is not spin. I mean, the man is clearly an eminence in the world of professional statisticians. Otherwise how could he possibly know the 2007 Joint Statistical Meetings will be held in Salt Lake City?

papago, I--and my respected statistician friends--look forward to sparring with you at the 2009 Joint Statistical Meetings in August 2 - 6, 2009, Washington, DC. To be held at the Washington Convention Center.

Posted by: ibc on October 12, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

In order to be accepted as fact, and empirical claim has to survive all criticisms, including criticisms by people whose political motives are the opposite of those of the authors.

There have yet to be any serious criticisms of this peer reviewed study, including from you. For instance, a criticism would be discovering that a significant number of people lied to the interviewers (for no reason fathomable). Your unsupported musing about whether people lied is called "casting aspersions," not criticism.

The difference is that one is a cheap rhetorical trick, the other is scientific inquiry.

And as for your Sunni example; are you hinting that Sunnis would lie and exaggerate casualties to make the U.S. look bad? Because if you haven't read the recent polls, a greater percentage of Sunnis want the U.S. to stay in Iraq to protect them from the Shia.

I know, when you're grasping at straws in a desperate smear campaign like this it can be difficult to keep all the angles straight.

as well as the range of possibilities concerning the 20% of all reported deaths for which there was no birth certificate.

First, you mean death certificates. Secondly -- cite? The study indicates the confirmation rate was 92% Here's what they had to say about the unconfirmed cases:

Families, especially in households with combatants killed, could have hidden deaths. Under-reporting of infant deaths is a wide-spread concern in surveys of this type. Entire households could have been killed, leading to a survivor bias. Families could have reported deaths that did not occur, although this seems unlikely, since most reported deaths could be corroborated with a certificate. However, certificates might not be issued for young children, and in some places death certificates had stopped being issued; our 92% confirmation rate was therefore deemed to be reasonable.

I wrote to the American Statistical Association, and some friends separately, proposing an invited session on this study for the 2007 Joint Statistical Meetings in Salt Lake City.

And I called a meeting of the Superfriends back at the Hall of Justice to discuss some recent suspicious activity by supervillains.

Posted by: Windhorse on October 12, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Just to be serious here for a moment: "argumentum ad verecundiam" is really the saddest of all the rhetorical tricks.

I mean, imagine the level of humiliation you'd have to descend to in order to pen the following phrase in the context of this thread:

I wrote to the American Statistical Association, and some friends separately, proposing an invited session on this study for the 2007 Joint Statistical Meetings in Salt Lake City.

It's a rhetorical conceit of the most grasping kind. Imagine Woody Allen nonchalantly twirling his swimming medal, while casually mentioning he happened to dine with Donald Pleasance (yes *that* Donald Pleasance) last night.

It's a good thing these comments are anonymous if papagano *is* a working statistician. God forbid one of his colleagues should come across this post, coupled with his "I have a PHD and belong to *two* professional organizations" debate-ender up-thread. Good stuff.

Posted by: ibc on October 12, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, this is what a critique of the study would sound like coming from someone with credibility that doesn't rest on their ability to obsessively Google-search and posture.

Posted by: ibc on October 12, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

more skepticism here:

http://medpundit.blogspot.com/2006/10/lancet-strikes-again-i-admit-this.html

note credentials of the critics.

follow the links.

Posted by: papago on October 12, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Medpundit.com: "Commentary on medical news by a practicing physician."

OMG! He's like a doctor and everything! What did 4 out of 5 dentists recommend to their patients who chew gum? Thanks for a real-world canonical example of the argument to authority.

"Then I read the first sentence and saw that the number was gathered by public health researchers and it lost some credibility. The American public health community has a decidedly left leaning cast to it."

Priceless.

Posted by: ibc on October 12, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

You have got to be kidding with that link. Is that Steve White's stab at a blog?

Two "criticisms:" Michael O'Hanlon from Brookings just "doesn't believe the numbers." Oh my, what a powerful rebuttal from a non-statistician with a political axe to grind who's never set foot in Iraq.

Also, a biostatistician questioned the "tone of accuracy" in the report.

Well, that and a few hundred thousand dead Iraq citizens will get you a tragic debacle in the Middle East.

Posted by: Windhorse on October 12, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

In order to be accepted as fact, and [sic] empirical claim has to survive all criticisms, including criticisms by people whose political motives are the opposite of those of the authors.

No, in order to be accepted an empirical claim does not have to "survive all criticisms" -- it merely has to survive factual and reasonable evidence-based criticisms. Wild unsupported conspiracy theories about phantom Sunnis lying to public health researchers is not, unfortunately for you, such a criticism.

Posted by: Stefan on October 12, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Be careful what you wish for, ... .

The ASA liked my idea of a special session on the JH/MIT study for the 2007 Joint Statisticsl Meetings in Salt Lake City. The program chairman has asked me to organize the session, and naturally I am delighted.

Unfortunately, it means you'll all get to find out who I am when you go to SLC for the meeting. Bummer.

So I'll have to stop posting.

See you in Salt Lake City!

Posted by: papago on October 12, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, it means you'll all get to find out who I am when you go to SLC for the meeting. Bummer.

So I'll have to stop posting.

Now THAT'S the way you discard an anonymous persona with style.

First, through rigorous use of Google, develop a thin skein of credibility. "My name is Elmer J Fudd. I have a mansion and a yacht. My Ph.D. is in Statistics and Stephen J Hawking is my raquetball partner.

Second, dodge any request for actual real-time insight into the topic at hand: "I will be at the 2007 JOINT STATISTICAL MEETINGS in SALT LAKE CITY 84112. I hope to address any concerns you may have at that time."

Third, burn the anonymous "nickname" you post under, with the excuse that since we'll all know who you are next year (because of the high profile panel you'll be hosting at the 2007 JOINT STATISTICAL MEETINGS in SALT LAKE CITY 84112) you'll no longer be able to post here.

Absolutely fucking brilliant!

Touche, papago, whoever you are. Statistician or no, go with God, my friend. You rock the house.

Posted by: ibc on October 13, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

actually, my real name is Matthew R. Marler.

So far, I have not heard from Dr. Burnham whether he wants to speak at the invited session next year or not. If he does, a couple other statisticians on the program committee will help me choose good discussants, hopefully some with experience in other war zones.

If you do a PubMed search on my name, you'll find that I am a very minor contributor to health statistics.

If you want to know whether the invited session gets off the ground, you'll be able to find out by checking the American Statistical Association web page.

good bye all.

Posted by: papago on October 13, 2006 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

If you do a PubMed search on my name, you'll find that I am a very minor contributor to health statistics.

Indeed.

Posted by: Stefan on October 13, 2006 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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