“The real problem is not that we are different, nor that we disagree and have conflict. It's that most of us automatically view conflict as something negative rather than as a tool God can use to help us better understand ourselves and one another.

--Robert Ricciardelli”

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Lancet Farce II

There are things I don’t like about working nights. There are more things I don’t like about working weekend nights.

You give up a lot of family things. You miss a lot of sporting events. You are always about 12 hours out of sync with everyone else in America. You sleep all day—or enough of it—even on your days off. So, your news is internet based (which isn’t actually bad), and your always behind on what people are talking about

That, said, I’m revisiting the Lancet study. I’ve tried to keep up with some of what’s said.

On the Left, I found this two part discussion at The Questionable Authority. It was pretty interesting. If you get past the political rhetoric of both sides, it’s an informative breakdown of methodology and analysis.

I found another good breakdown at Dean’s World. And, again, if you get past the political rhetoric, it’s got some really good information. There is some good critique in the comments.

Personally, I still don’t buy the numbers. I think even the low adjusted figure suggested at one point (491K, I think) from The Questionable Authority is high as well. I suspect the number to be more in the range of 150-200K, overall. And, I absolutely agree even that number is unacceptably high. And, I agree with the assessment that it is due to post invasion practices of dismantling the government.

However, I believe the pre-invasion death rates are wrong as well. And, I hold this opinion despite the breakdown of mortality rates in the Dean’s World posting. I suspect they are not taking into account the actual disappearance and death rates under the Sadaam regime. And, if this is so, it would further skew the results of the study--as I understand the analysis.

But, my biggest question is one I’ve seen asked in several places. If 600K people are being killed in violent deaths and combat actions, where are the volumes of wounded that should accompany? Generally, the number of wounded in violent events outnumber the dead by several multiples (my mind wants to say a factor of 2 or 3, though I think it may be higher). This would mean that something like 1.2 to 1.8 million wounded should have occurred, putting the total casualty rate at something at 1.8 to 2.4 million. I freely admit that military and government propoganda can hide a lot. But, I seriously doubt it could hide something that big.

Sorry, I just don’t buy the numbers. I still see the study, and the timing of the release, as nothing more than political hay.