Saturday, March 31, 2007

Carnage and Lies

Last October, the British medical journal Lancet published a study in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health estimating that 655,000 Iraqis had died since the 2003 invasion.

Mr. Bush said the study was "not credible." After a lifetime spent analyzing baseball averages, he was able to dismiss the researchers' methodology as "pretty well discredited."

Across the pond, our British cousins in the Labor government were likewise dismissive. Foreign secretary Margaret Beckett said the figures were "extrapolated," and the prime minister's spokesman said the study "was not one we believe to be anywhere near accurate." Tony Blair himself sallied forth from 10 Downing Street to say: "The overriding message is that there are no accurate or reliable figures of deaths in Iraq."

We know now that they were lying. Scientists at the UK's Department for International Development as well as the Ministry of Defense's chief scientific advisor told Blair at the time that the research was balanced and robust. In fact, it is more likely that Lancet understates rather than overstates the casualty count.

Isn't it disturbing to contemplate the reality of 650,000 dead human beings in a country 1/12 the size of the United States? Moreover, shouldn't it bother us that this story has been virtually ignored here in the States?


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