Thursday, 19 April 2007

Why are people stressed? Only 300 people died on Sept. 11th...

Recently, I've been annoyed by seeing the same argument pop up on wingnut blogs. It goes something like this

"If the Lancet study (predicting multiple hundreds of thousands of excess deaths due to the bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq) had any truth, we'd see reports of these. Since the media in my own home town isn't publishing obituaries of dead Iraqis in sufficient numbers, I must conclude the Lancet study is wrong"

You may argue that this is so stupid, that they can't possibly think it invalidates the study. But they do.

"Show me media reports backing it up. Where are the reports of these extra bodies?"

Eat this, assholes:



Iraq's hospitals buckle under conflict pressure

At least 100 people a day are killed each day, and many more are seriously injured, by the ongoing violence in Iraq. Even if the injured make it to hospital, they face a 70% chance of dying in the emergency room, according to the World Health Organization.

This is because Iraq’s hospitals lack staff, drugs and equipment – and things are getting worse. “The daily violence coupled with the difficult living and working conditions are pushing hundreds of experienced health staff to leave the country,” says the WHO, despite efforts by the government and aid agencies to keep hospitals supplied with medicines, water and electricity.
[...]

And the real numbers of violent deaths might be worse than the official figures cited by the WHO. Those are about one-tenth of the estimates made in 2006 by Iraqi and US scientists. At the time, the UK government denied the toll was so high, but in March 2007, official documents revealed that senior UK officials considered the study valid.


I hope those making these sort of false arguments enjoy themselves in this life. If Dante is right, they're going to have a really bad afterlife, disease-ridden in the 10th Bolgia of the Eight Circle of Hell.

Addition: this story:

One of the documents obtained by the BBC is a memo by the Ministry of Defence's chief scientific adviser, Sir Roy Anderson, dated October 13 2006, two days after the report was published.

"The study design is robust and employs methods that are regarded as close to 'best practice' in this area, given the difficulties of data collection and verification in the present circumstances in Iraq," he says.

Another item is an exchange of emails between officials in which one asks: "Are we really sure the report [in the Lancet] is likely to be right? That is certainly what the brief implies."

Another replies: "We do not accept the figures quoted in the Lancet survey as accurate." Later in the same email, the same official writes: "However, the survey methodology used here cannot be rubbished, it is a tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones."


We will now watch the handwaving and fingers in the ears continue.

2 comments:

Dana said...

Our esteemed host quoted the WHO:

At least 100 people a day are killed each day, and many more are seriously injured, by the ongoing violence in Iraq. Even if the injured make it to hospital, they face a 70% chance of dying in the emergency room, according to the World Health Organization.

OK, that's a terrible number, certainly enough. But the Lancet study worked out to slightly over 500 a day. I'm not certain how you are citing 100+ per day as confirmation of the Lancet study.

And if 70% of those who make it to the hospital don't survive, they are counted among the killed, the 100+ per day.

Phoenician in a time of Romans said...

Don't try and change the goalposts, Dana. You stated there was no media stories supporting a high death total; there are. And now you're complainign because every single extrapolated excess death isn't being reported as a direct casualty in one news story?

I point you to this story as well. Assuming you have no decency, feel free to to try and handwave it away as well.