Monday, December 20, 2004

Lancet Report Reinforced

The only serious critique (by serious I mean scientific, not idiocies by statistical analphabets like Fred Kaplan) of the 'Lancet Report', a medical research published in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet that concluded there were more than 100,000 excess deaths after the US-UK(-Australia-Poland) attack on Iraq, was that the pre-war infant mortality rate they got was too low in comparison with previous estimates.

Warfloggers or the Kaplans of this world seized this - "If the pre-war figure was WRONG, so was the difference, there was NO INCREASE, my war is still clean!", they celebrated. However, their argument was a classic non sequitur born of ignorance: for, a figure too low woulkd imply an undersampling of the then worst humanitarian conditions in Iraq, while the measured turn for the worse in the less bad areas is real.

On the other hand, apparently, the previous pre-war data can be doubted, too - I found the following two sentences in an article on the 1997 Iraq census EuroGaullist quoted (see previous post):

The new data on child mortality, of great interest to those who argued that United Nations sanctions were leaving Iraqi children underfed and without access to basic pharmaceuticals, are still being analyzed.

But, Mr. McDevitt said, "on a preliminary basis it looks like the child mortality may not have been quite as high during the mid- to late 1990's as has been thought on the limited information we've had from other sources."

...and thus two warflogger arguments collide again...


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