Thursday, October 12, 2006

655,000 Dead: Is that Enough George?

Today, the top medical Journal in Europe, Lancet, will publish a paper authored by an international team of epidemiological experts identifying the deaths in Iraq since we occupied the country.

Bush was asked about it this morning and he cavalierly waved it off with a shrug, and a comment that the "methodology was flawed."

The idea that Bush understands squat about the methodology is just tooooo laughable. But just for your edification, it is the standard methodology that the US government uses to estimate deaths from war, natural disaster, and there was a special twist to this one that gives the truth of the findings great power.

Teams of physicians spread out over Iraq interviewed randomly selected neighborhoods and ask if they had family members who have been killed during the occupation. Using standard epidemiological analysis a total number then could be calculated for the entire country. But here is the kicker.

At the end of the interview, for those that answered "yes" they had a family member killed, they asked if they had any proof such as a death certificate. In over 90% of the people who answered yes, they also had a death certificate, which listed cause of death as things like "gunshot wound".


That's the blood on OUR hands right now.

Thanks George for making America look so good.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That comes to 600 people a day. Think someone might have noticed all those bodies piling up in the street somewhere?

11:29 AM, October 12, 2006  
Blogger John Stone said...

They have and obviously you haven't looked at the photos of the bodies stacked up in the morgues awaiting autopsy.

And there are thousands of dead body rooms around Iraq ..

Get out of your denial mode, anon 1129 ... admit you have bloody hands ...

12:45 PM, October 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many died under Saddam's regime?

2:40 PM, October 12, 2006  
Anonymous MrsThurstonHowell said...

As Confucious or Jesus or Ben Franklin once said, Two Wrong Bloodbaths Don't Make a Right.

Or, as Lady Macbeth once said, "Out! Out! Damned spot!"

How many died under Haiti's Idi Ahmin Dada's (sp?) bloodthirsty regime? Chile's Pinochet? The Shaw of Iran?

4:18 PM, October 12, 2006  
Blogger John Stone said...

Anon 240: the answer is zero ... for the past 2 1/2 years. As opposed too how many have died under our regime .... so what's your point? That George is more of a monster than Saddam? Or less?

And MsTH .. a bunch (I have a high school pal in the State Dept who played handball with Amin once) who knows how many? We supported all those slimes, they would fit right in with our Prez today .. .they all had an insatiable bloodlust.

5:58 PM, October 12, 2006  
Anonymous MrsThurstonHowell said...

Interesting on Democracy Now! tonight they had the co-author epidemiologist Les Roberts on the program. Gee, I was impressed- You can go to to watch the video. Also on the program was a person from a veterans advocacy group to discuss recent revelations that over 150,000 soldiers who have returned from Iraq and Afghan (that's one in four) have applied for disability. There was discussion of cover-up of this info by the VA. All very thought provoking.

11:01 PM, October 12, 2006  
Anonymous MrsThurstonHowell said...

Oops! Amin is Uganda, not Haiti. Just thought of that.

5:02 PM, October 13, 2006  
Blogger The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

No blood on my hands... I failed to vote for either Bush OR Kerry. So nyahh nyahh pbffthpff!

12:25 PM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger Jacke M. said...

"The same group in 2004 published an estimate of roughly 100,000 deaths in the first 18 months after the invasion. That figure was much higher than expected, and was controversial. The new study estimates that about 500,000 more Iraqis, both civilian and military, have died since then -- a finding likely to be equally controversial"

"An accurate count of Iraqi deaths has been difficult to obtain, but one respected group puts its rough estimate at closer to 50,000. And at least one expert was skeptical of the new findings.

"They're almost certainly way too high," said Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington. He criticized the way the estimate was derived and noted that the results were released shortly before the Nov. 7 elections in the United States." -

"655,000 War Dead?
A bogus study on Iraq casualties."

"After doing survey research in Iraq for nearly two years, I was surprised to read that a study by a group from Johns Hopkins University claims that 655,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the war....the Johns Hopkins tally is wildly at odds with any numbers I have seen in that country. Survey results frequently have a margin of error of plus or minus 3% or 5%--not 1200%.

...the key to the validity of cluster sampling is to use enough cluster points. In their 2006 report, "Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional sample survey," the Johns Hopkins team says it used 47 cluster points for their sample of 1,849 interviews. This is astonishing: I wouldn't survey a junior high school, no less an entire country, using only 47 cluster points....

...What happens when you don't use enough cluster points in a survey? You get crazy results when compared to a known quantity, or a survey with more cluster points."

12:01 PM, October 18, 2006  
Blogger John Stone said...

Jacke, I think that there is a very high liklihood that you are wrong on this.

Epidemiology is the most imprecise of all the sciences, for the reasons you mentioned. However, the experts who do it (and these were recognized researchers) are actually very good at what they do. Think of the fact that pre election and exit polls are typically well within the margin of stastical error (using a sample of 900 out of a voting population of 100 million)to the actual vote. Also that very small problems can be teased out of a great deal of background noise. Or that this methodology has been used and refined for over thirty years and the results accepted when it fit preconcieved political or governmental opinion.

Is it absolutely accurate. No, and no one would claim that. Followup studies which are absolutely necessary to confirm this finding may range from 500,000 to 700,000 dead, but that really does prove the point doesn't it?

The secret to this sort of study is (1) the selection sample and this one sounds as random as possible and (2) are there internal consistencies that support the conclusion? In this case, there is one that fairly screams at you. As the docs who conducted the interviews found a household where a family member had been killed, they asked if the family had any documents, such as a death certificate. In over 90% of those circumstanses they did - providing documented evidence of death -- and cause of death - for instance, "gunshot wound". This is extremely powerful evidence.

Perhaps the numbers will change in one direction or the other, but the fact remains that far, far more have died from violent death since our occupation, than our government has been willing to admit, and I think we both know why.

9:52 PM, October 18, 2006  
Blogger Jacke M. said...

John, daaaaahling. I didn't write the words above. There are links previous to each quote or set of quotes. They come from respected (especially among liberals?) sources. Please note the links, read the articles and then consider your position.

Since I am not an Epidemiologist and do not claim to be an authority on the subject the only thing I can say is that this study is controversial. It is questionable. It should be viewed with that in mind.

It IS a fact that the first study released by Lancet in 2004 on this subject was admittedly rushed and released prior to the presidential election in an effort to influence the election against Bush. THIS study has its foundation on that previous controversial study. If you would like links on the controversy surrounding that foundational study, let me know. I'd be happy to provide them for you and your readers. :)

10:26 PM, October 18, 2006  
Blogger John Stone said...

Sure Jacke... on this blog you can feel free to give any info you want to give.

4:50 AM, October 19, 2006  

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