Friday, October 13, 2006

New Lancet Study: Cost of Asbury Seminary M.Div. Rises to $3.6 Million

And if you've ever seen the Faculty Lounge here at ATS-Orlando, you know where the money goes. Have you seen Brian Russell's company car?

Anyway, The Lancet conducted a study (registration required) of Iraqi deaths and concluded that approximately 654,965 have died since the beginning of the war (h/t). Take your time and read the sampling and data collection methods carefully.

The researchers randomly selected 50 population clusters and then later eliminated data from three due to a mapping error. Within these clusters, researchers approached 1,847 homes and asked residents about known deaths. There were 545 death reports, of which 501 death certificates were present. From the former number, the researchers extrapolated 654,965 deaths across Iraq.

As Sexion (h/t) points out, if death certificates are the count of deaths in Iraq, then why not just ask the Iraqi government how many death certificates were printed during a certain period of time? This would be a more reliable form of data collection and would form a more representative (if not approaching total) sample.

Why not? Because the Iraqi government says that The Lancet's claim is nonsense. The existence of the official copies of the death certificates can be visually verified. Using The Lancet's method, we can rely only on the word of the researchers.

And where are the bodies? Iraq has a population of 27 million, so this study asserts the death of 2.5% of the population. That's a lot of corpses. Any idea where they went?

On a side note, it's rather odd that The Lancet only releases these studies on the eve of major American elections. Coincidence? I'm sure that Lancet editor Dr. Richard Horton, who recently spoke at a pro-Hezbollah rally, will deny any political motives.


Turbulent Cleric said...

John, the rally you refer to 'Time to Go' was not a prop Hezbollah rally. It was a very broadbased protest against Blair's Premiership before the Labour Party Conference.The list of speakers was very wide ranging indeed. I am not surprised that in the aftermath of the Summer's events, there were some with Hezboollah flags. That does not make it a pro Hezbollah rally although criticism of Blair policy re the Summer's conflict was a part of the scene.

Indeed, Blair's closeness with Bush re the Summer is what has probably tipped the balance for Labour MPs and will lead to him going earlier than he had intended. This again does not mean that the said Labour MPs are prop Hezbollah. Some of them even supported the Iraq War!

Of course the statistical methods of the Lancet Report are open to question. Sampling seems the only way one can proceed. I am not aware as to whether the sample was representative. Howver it is inevitable that such estimates will take place when the US and UK have noe idea of the death toll.

John said...

Follow the link, TC. In a true anti-war rally, the presence of blatant terrorism advocates wouldn't be tolerated.

Howver it is inevitable that such estimates will take place when the US and UK have noe idea of the death toll.

Count the all of the death certificates printed.

Turbulent Cleric said...

Aagh but John, the US and UK have made no estimates. It clearly is not an easy process.

Also, people oppose the Bush/Blair policy for a range of motives. There are strange alliances both for and against the wars. I know many who were there would not wish to support Hezbolah. However, they feel a disgust at recent policy.

I followed the link. I assure you that I despise the likes of the SWP but I will put up with their presence to send Blair to early retirement.

John said...

Therein lies our difference. I won't make political bedfellows with pure evil. For example, although Fred Phelps and I agree that homosexual conduct is immoral, I will have nothing to do with his loathsome cult, nor will I validate his hateful ways by politically affiliating him.

mitch said...

I, too, find Lancet's numbers incredible, but armed struggle is ugly and costly, no matter whose number you use. Every dead person is somebody's spouse, parent and/or child. Believe me, looking on even one dead family is too much.

Yet is turning Iraq over to Al Qaeda, returning it to Ba'athist tyranny or allowing it to descend into naked tribalism preferable?

The fight for Iraq's future today is a different fight than the one in March-April 2003. If the anti-democratic forces stop murdering innocents, we and our coalition partners can stop fighting them and leave Iraq in Iraqi hands! If we leave now, however, the blood-bath is just beginning.

Whatever the cost of today's struggle, would the cost be less if Iraq were in Al Qaeda or Ba'athist hands? Do we want Iraq's soccer fields in 2007 to become killing fields for "bad Muslims" like the Afghanistan soccer fields were in the 1990's?

To me, supporting a fledgling democracy against its brutal foes is a more clearly ethical task than pre-emptive destruction of a tyrant's regime. I don't quite understand, then, how there is LESS support for today's mission than there was for the one in 2003.

The choice today is not war or no-war. The choice today concerns whose side are you on: the would-be tyrants or the people of Iraq.

Perhaps we will fail the people of Iraq. Maybe we don't have what it takes, or maybe the Iraqi people themselves will let their differences keep them from uniting. I just don't understand, however, the desire to abandon them in their hour of need.

Turbulent Cleric said...

John, there are people who turn up at anti war protests whom I personally despise and have nothing to do with. They can hardly be turned away. I think that were they yelling anti smitic comments, they would be disowned. I am not aware that such went on. If it had and been ignored, then the Phelps anology would be valid. Thankfully, I know of no evidence that it was.

I cannot defend the war regardless of Lancet's figures. I suspect that the reality is a lower number of deaths but still one that makes me want to vomit.