The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #97835 Message #2236862
Posted By: GUEST,Homey
15-Jan-08 - 08:55 AM
Thread Name: BS: Maliki doesn't want more U.S. troops
Subject: RE: BS: Maliki doesn't want more U.S. troops
"In other words, the Lancet study could hardly be more unreliable. Yet it was trumpeted by the political left because it fit a narrative that they wanted to believe. And it wasn't challenged by much of the press because it told them what they wanted to hear. The truth was irrelevant."From the Wall Street Journal The Lancet's Political Hit January 9, 2008; Page A14
Three weeks before the 2006 elections, the British medical journal Lancet published a bombshell report estimating that casualties in Iraq had exceeded 650,000 since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. We know that number was wildly exaggerated. The news is that now we know why.
It turns out the Lancet study was funded by anti-Bush partisans and conducted by antiwar activists posing as objective researchers. It also turns out the timing was no accident. You can find the fascinating details in the current issue of National Journal magazine, thanks to reporters Neil Munro and Carl Cannon. And sadly, that may be the only place you'll find them. While the media were quick to hype the original Lancet report -- within a week of its release it had been featured on 25 news shows and in 188 newspaper and magazine articles -- something tells us this debunking won't get the same play.
The Lancet death toll was more than 10 times what had been estimated by the U.S. and Iraqi governments, and even by human rights groups. Asked about the study on the day it was released, President Bush said, "I don't consider it a credible report." Neither did the Pentagon and top British authorities. To put the 655,000 number in perspective, consider that fewer Americans died in the Civil War, our bloodiest conflict.
Skeptics at the time (including us) pointed to the Lancet study's manifold methodological flaws. The high body count was an extrapolation based on a sampling of households and locations that was far too small to render reliable results. What the National Journal adds is that the Lancet study was funded by billionaire George Soros's Open Society Institute. Mr. Soros is a famous critic of the Iraq campaign and well-known partisan, having spent tens of millions trying to defeat Mr. Bush in 2004.
But "Soros is not the only person associated with the Lancet study who had one eye on the data and the other on the U.S. political calendar," write Messrs. Munro and Cannon. Two co-authors, Gilbert Burnham and Les Roberts of Johns Hopkins University, told the reporters that they opposed the war from the outset and sent their report to the Lancet on the condition that it be published before the election.
Mr. Roberts, who opposed removing Saddam from power, sought the Democratic nomination for New York's 24th Congressional District in 2006. Asked why he ran, Mr. Roberts replied, "It was a combination of Iraq and [Hurricane] Katrina."
Then there is Lancet Editor Richard Horton, "who agreed to rush the study into print, with an expedited peer review process and without seeing the surveyors' original data," report Mr. Munro and Mr. Cannon. He has also made no secret of his politics. "At a September 2006 rally in Manchester, England, Horton declared, 'This axis of Anglo-American imperialism extends its influence through war and conflict, gathering power and wealth as it goes, so millions of people are left to die in poverty and disease,'" they write. See YouTube for more.
We also learn that the key person involved in collecting the Lancet data was Iraqi researcher Riyadh Lafta, who has failed to follow the customary scientific practice of making his data available for inspection by other researchers. Mr. Lafta had been an official in Saddam's ministry of health when the dictator was attempting to end international sanctions against Iraq. He wrote articles asserting that many Iraqis were dying from cancer and other diseases caused by spent U.S. uranium shells from the Gulf War. According to National Journal, the Lancet studies "of Iraqi war deaths rest on the data provided by Lafta, who operated with little American supervision and has rarely appeared in public or been interviewed about his role."
In other words, the Lancet study could hardly be more unreliable. Yet it was trumpeted by the political left because it fit a narrative that they wanted to believe. And it wasn't challenged by much of the press because it told them what they wanted to hear. The truth was irrelevant.