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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:38 PM
Original message
Editor of Lancet, Richard Horton, Comments on Report of Deaths in Iraq
Edited on Thu Oct-12-06 10:45 PM by Buzz Clik
This terrible misadventure has killed one in 40 Iraqis

The government will do all it can to discredit the latest estimate of civilian casualties since the invasion: 650,000

Richard Horton
Thursday October 12, 2006
The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1919977,00.h...

Many people refused to believe the Lancet report in 2004 from a group of American and Iraqi public-health scientists who surveyed homes across the country and found that about 100,000 additional Iraqi deaths had taken place since the coalition invasion in March 2003. Several government ministers were deployed to destroy the credibility of the findings and, in large part, they succeeded. But now their denials have come back to haunt them, for the figures from Iraq have been confirmed by a further study.

The same team from Johns Hopkins University worked with Iraqi doctors to visit over 1,800 homes in Iraq, selected randomly to make sure that no bias could creep in to their calculations.
They identified more than 12,000 family members and tracked those who had died over an interval that spanned both pre- and post-invasion periods. The Iraqi interviewers spoke fluent English as well as Arabic, and they were well trained to collect the information they were seeking. They asked permission from every family to use the data they wanted. And they chased down death certificates in over four out of five cases to make sure that they had a double check on the numbers and causes of death given to them by family members.

<snip>

The total figure of 650,000 is truly staggering. It represents 2.5% of the entire Iraqi population. In 2004 The Lancet was criticised for publishing a number that seemed to have a high degree of uncertainty. The best estimate then was 98,000 deaths. But the uncertainty meant that it could have been as low as 8,000 or as high as 194,000.

<snip>

Why is this Lancet estimate so much higher than the figures put out by President Bush or the Iraq Body Count website? They put the number of casualties in the tens of thousands, not the hundreds of thousands. To be fair, Iraq Body Count does not claim to publish accurate absolute numbers of deaths. Instead, their figures are valuable for measuring trends. But the reason for the discrepancy between these lower estimates and the new figure of 650,000 deaths lies in the way the number is sought. Passive surveillance, the most common method used to estimate numbers of civilian deaths, will always underestimate the total number of casualties. We know this from past wars and conflict zones, where the estimates have been too low by a factor of 10 or even 20.

Richard Horton is the editor of the Lancet

Click the link for the entire article. This is an important analysis.
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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:40 PM
Response to Original message
1. proud to be your first k & r
i hoped upon hope when first reading this report that it could not be true but denial is a waste of time and just guarantees that more will die


We need a new set of principles to govern our diplomacy and military strategy - principles that are based on the idea of human security and not national security, health and wellbeing and not economic self-interest and territorial ambition.


what more is to be said, this world must change

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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:41 PM
Response to Original message
2. And a second rec...
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:42 PM
Response to Original message
3. You have to cut this down to only four paragraphs...
Edited on Thu Oct-12-06 10:43 PM by originalpckelly
but otherwise thanks for posting it. I think A LOT of people will be talking about these numbers.

K & R
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:46 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. done...
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:14 PM
Response to Original message
5. Co-Author of Medical Study was on DemocracyNow Thursday morning
http://www.democracynow.org/index.pl?issue=20061012

Co-Author of Medical Study Estimating 650,000 Iraqi Deaths Defends Research in the Face of White House Dismissal

The White House is dismissing the findings of a medical study that says 650,000 people have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion. The study was conducted by American and Iraqi researchers and published in the prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet. We’re joined by the report’s co-author, epidemiologist Les Roberts.

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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:17 PM
Response to Original message
6. PDF of report with maps etc
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speedoo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:19 PM
Response to Original message
7. k&r nt
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:21 PM
Response to Original message
8. A crime against humanity.
I never thought I'd live to see a day when this charge is laid at the feet of my country. We are the 21st century version of nazi Germany.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 06:19 AM
Response to Reply #8
15. It's that simple
This is fugging genocide and someone must pay.
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w8liftinglady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:26 PM
Response to Original message
9. I was a biologist before I became a nurse...
and worked for a similar agency.These scientists absolutely do NOT compromise their data.Their professional reputation is foremost...before politics or money.they are a unique breed.(I worked for the USDA)I give full credence to their data
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 05:46 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. Agreed.
Which makes it all the more interesting -- amusing? -- that Bush dismissed the study out of hand.
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riderinthestorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:30 PM
Response to Original message
10. Another K AND R!!! This needs to be at the top of the page through Nov. 7
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Harper_is_Bush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:46 PM
Response to Original message
11. K&R... Very informative, hope the US media has enough brains...
to pick it up.
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ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:49 PM
Response to Original message
12. "Peer reviewed" means that the top scientists in the field
have examined the data and the methodology and staked their personal reputations in affirming that all scientific standards were met. They (the reviewers) get bonus creds for catching flawed work, and they risk their own rep if they pass anything that later turns out to be flawed. The more prestigious the journal, the more expert and cautious the review committees would be. For this kind of epidemiological research, the methodology is very well established and the standards for validity are well defined. Sloppy work never even gets past the mail clerk in a journal like Lancet.
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OneBlueSky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 01:02 AM
Response to Original message
13. "We are one human family. Let's act like it." . . .
well, at least someone gets it . . .

the tragedy is that most of humanity doesn't . . .
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 07:31 AM
Response to Original message
16. The article was sent to me by a friend in Europe.
Here's her comment: "Hortons comments strike me as the kind of thing that would never see the light of day in the so-called-main-stream-American-press."

As of this morning, my friend is correct: Horton's comments are not to be found. Which, of course, is in sharp contrast to coverage of Bush's dismissal of the report.
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 07:36 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. I just saw a UPI writer
on c-span in a not so subtle way saying that figure is not believable because they concentrated their polls in violent areas. She is an idiot. But that is all brian lamb puts on Fridays, right wing idiots.

Thank you for this excellent article. :)
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 07:42 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Needless to say, the study was NOT concentrated in violent areas.
The authors have been very forthcoming in sharing all their information, including the locations of the study.

The "violent areas" comment is even more irrelevant when one considers that most of the deaths being reported are not violent deaths.

Discussing scientific studies with the opposition can be quite frustrating.
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 08:07 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. it was infuriating to listen to
she started out by saying she was not a statistician, then went on to spew that BS! :grr:
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 09:26 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. Just to follow up a bit --
Here's a distribution of the clusters of households monitored in the study:



source


Nearly all provinces are represented, and sampling distribution was based on population density.
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. thank you
more ammunition. :)
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 09:48 AM
Response to Original message
21. The truly shocking numbers from the original article:


source

Sorry for the fuzzy graphics, but go to the original source (pdf file) for a better view.

Notice the trends in the total deaths: 5.5 total deaths per 1000 people per year pre-invasion. That skyrocketed to 19.8 total deaths per 1000 per year for 2005-2006. Staggering.

Note: Go to Figure 3 in the original source. Despite the high number of clusters sampled in Baghdad, it does not fall into the group of provinces with the highest rates of violent death.
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
22. For those unfamiliar with Richard Horton:
Richard Horton has been a dynamic figure as editor of Lancet and something of a lightning rod for criticism. He does not hesitate to strike a controversial stance, indicate his political leanings, or criticize established institutions. Many find his behavior distracting and somewhat disconcerting considering his role as editor of a scholarly journal, the contents of which always should be objective.

Assuming that Horton's editorial ever sees the light of day in the American media -- and every indication is that it will not -- Horton will be attacked. The article below summarizes his vulnerabilities:

'Lancet' back at centre of controversy

By Ben Russell, Political Correspondent
Published: 12 October 2006
The Independent

Since his appointment 10 years ago as the youngest editor of The Lancet, Richard Horton has turned a once-staid academic journal into a publication at the centre of a string of controversies. Since taking control of the 182-year-old journal at the age of 33, Dr Horton has been at the centre of a series of highly contentious issues from a report linking the MMR vaccine with autism to the hotly contested estimates of casualties in Iraq. He has also used The Lancet, one of the world's most prestigious journals, to rattle the cages of some of the world's largest academic institutions and has rubbed up members of the medical establishment the wrong way.

In 2004 Dr Horton, who has worked for The Lancet since 1990, courted controversy by publishing the first results of a statistical study putting the death toll of the Iraq war at 100,000.

He is best known for publishing the results of a study by Andrew Wakefield and 12 other doctors in 1998 which suggested that autism might be triggered by the MMR vaccine given to young children to protect them against measles, mumps and rubella. The research, based on tests on 12 children, sparked a storm in the media and led to a slump in take-up rates of the vaccine. In 2004 Dr Horton said the study should never have been published because of a potential conflict of interest.

Last year Dr Horton incurred the wrath of the Royal Society when an editorial in the journal attacking the society as "shrill and superficial" was condemned as "a shrill editorial that would look more at home on the leader page of a red-top tabloid than in a scholarly journal".

---more---


Of course, Horton was not an author of the paper to which he refers in the OP, but that won't matter when the attacks begin.
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Straight Shooter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 12:59 PM
Response to Original message
24. The reputation and credentials of the Lancet are impeccable.
Nobody in their right mind would quibble with their findings. Of course, the bush administration would refute any findings from any organization, no matter how precise and substantiated, if it served their agenda.
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. Global warming, arsenic in water, mercury in power plant emissions...
Bush says that he challenges the science, but he's simply challenging the concept. Acknowledging dangers from pollution requires the step of regulation and enforcement, and his pal$$ would be unhappy.
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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 02:02 PM
Response to Original message
26. Economist Brad DeLong on the Lancet Study (600,000 Iraqi dead)

posted onDU-----



....ri Oct-13-06 01:52 PM
Original message
Economist Brad DeLong on the Lancet Study (600,000 Iraqi dead)

http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2006/10/55_deaths_per_y.h ...

The Lancet study of deaths in Iraq. 47 neighborhoods. 1849 households. Among those households, 55 deaths per year (2 from violence) before the invasion. Among those households, 168 deaths per year (92 from violence) since the invasion. Scale up those sampling results to a population of 5 million households, and you have your 600,000 direct and indirect civilian casualties of war number.

The press coverage is, I think, unsatisfactory.

My ire was provoked by seeing the--usually very thoughtful--William Arkin of the Washington Post being what seemed to me overly suspicious of the Lancet study.

. . .

Meanwhile, Daniel Davies aggressively defends the study:

Comment is free: The numbers do add up: The question that this study was set up to answer was: as a result of the invasion, have things got better or worse in Iraq? And if they have got worse, have they got a little bit worse or a lot worse.... The results speak for themselves. There was a sample of 12,801 individuals in 1,849 households, in 47 geographical locations. That is a big sample, not a small one. The opinion polls from Mori and such which measure political support use a sample size of about 2,000 individuals.... The Iraq Body Count website and the Iraqi government statistics are not better measures than the survey results, because one of the things we know about war zones is that casualties are under-reported....

And the results were shocking. In the 18 months before the invasion, the sample reported 82 deaths, two of them from violence. In the 39 months since the invasion, the sample households had seen 547 deaths, 300 of them from violence. The death rate expressed as deaths per 1,000 per year had gone up from 5.5 to 13.3....

. . . more

http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2006/10/55_deaths_per_y.h ...
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civildisoBDence Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 03:45 PM
Response to Original message
27. Who needs science when you have ideology?
Besides, God whispers in DUHbya's ear, so who should the preznit believe--the scientific method, or that heavenly voice (that sounds strangely like Karl Rove...)

I'm not sure I buy the 655K figure, but the true figure is surely well over the WH misunderestimate, and well over the iraqbodycount.org's figure which only includes officially documented deaths.

Newsprism
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 04:07 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. The uncertainty in the figure is large....
Edited on Fri Oct-13-06 04:09 PM by Buzz Clik
... ranging from 400,000 to nearly 1 million. This is to be expected when making an enormous extrapolation. However, I agree with you -- the tiny number that makes * and his worshippers feel warm and fuzzy is pure fantasy.
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Olney Blue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 08:28 PM
Response to Original message
29. George Bush, world's leading epidemiologist, calls report "not credible."
Without even reading the paper.

Amazing.
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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 08:47 PM
Response to Original message
30. When right-winger's criticize the methodology
Ask them what method was used to estimate the number of civilians Saddam killed.
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slipslidingaway Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 08:55 PM
Response to Original message
31. K&R n/t
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