January 25, 2005

Losing Their Religion...

- by Mary Madigan

Many thanks to Michael for this opportunity to guest blog (and congratulations!)

As a female blogger, I guess I should discuss subjects that are interesting from a woman's point of view. So I’ll talk about fighting.

[Fights are interesting from a woman's point of view if you're an Irishwoman]

In his New Republic* article, "A Fighting Faith" Peter Beinart suggested that Democrats should return to old-style liberalism; the liberalism which inspired the belief, held by Democrats like Arthur Schlesinger Jr., John Kenneth Galbraith, and Eleanor Roosevelt that:

"[B]ecause the interests of the United States are the interests of free men everywhere," America should support "democratic and freedom-loving peoples the world over." That meant unceasing opposition to communism, an ideology "hostile to the principles of freedom and democracy on which the Republic has grown great."
I’d always thought that the New Republic was a sort of liberal hawk voice, and I thought their readers would agree with Beinart. I was wrong.

In the letters to the editor section, TNR readers made it clear – they don’t agree with Beinart at all. They believe that:

A self-described "lower middle class rube" believes the Democrats' enemy is Bush and big business

“Moore has been--and continues to be--a man fighting for economic justice. Fahrenheit 9/11 was sometimes puerile, but the film made convincing arguments that the 2000 election was stolen in Florida and that the Republicans' wars are being fought primarily by those who are daunted by their economic prospects in this country. His point was not, however, that all wars are pointless, but rather that the reasons for war need to be true, not lies, and clearly in the national interest, rather than for personal gain or personal payback. Even though I may disagree with much of what Moore postulates, I admire his willingness to take on President Bush and big business."
A history teacher says: JFK was not a good leader
"Beinart argues that the Democrats must take a strong line on terrorism, just as Democrats after 1945 did on communism. He cites John F. Kennedy, who, in 1960, ran a campaign tough on communism and, while in office, "dramatically increased military spending." Kennedy also campaigned on the missile gap, which he used to frighten audiences...

..He increased the number of military advisers in Vietnam to 16,000, and he helped unseat Cheddi Jagan in Guyana. I am not sure that these are examples to be followed."

A lady from Missouri believes the “morality of fighting communism in order to save the world was nonsense.”
"Beinart's comparison of the present war on Islamic fundamentalists with the cold war doesn't hold up under scrutiny. He claims that the postwar Democrats had to oppose communism in the Soviet Union, but he fails to mention that, when Richard Nixon went to China, the morality of fighting communism in order to save the world was revealed as just plain nonsense. We did not need to fight communism then, and we do not need to embark on a world conquest of Islamic fundamentalism now."
Out of six published letters, only one agreed with Beinart.

"We did not need to fight communism"?? I hope these letters to the editor don’t express the opinions typical of centrist Democrats. But I wonder. After all, this is TNR, not The Nation.

*registration required for TNR Posted by Mary Madigan at January 25, 2005 03:52 PM

Comments

Thanks for lending a hand, Mary. And welcome to the site.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 25, 2005 04:31 PM

Welcome!

Of course I guess I'm not the best person to say welcome, since this is only my second post to this fine site.

But like you I find it saddening that Beinart's call to arms is not gaining greater traction in the Democratic party. While it is definitely possible to oppose Bush on a number of issues, his foreign policy actually owes more to the great liberal leaders of the past than conservative intellectuals.

Our current aggressive stance isn't truly conservative or liberal, but at least to me, embodies some of the best features of both-idealism and a belief in the transforming power of liberty, combined with a stern willingness to pay the costs associated with creating that transformation.

Truly, what in Bush's speech last week could not have been uttered by Clinton, who often sent American forces into harm's way for humanitarian reasons? I've long believed that Clinton's problem in foreign policy problems had less to do with his instincts, which seemed mostly right, than with his guts. He wasn't willing to pay the price to get things done.

Posted by: Mark at January 25, 2005 04:36 PM

Late to the party,but a very warm welcome.Based upon this posting,I will very much enjoy your insightful contributions to the commentary here.
It has long been my contention that the Democratic Party cannot come back from its self-imposed lunacy.
I have no partisan ax to grind,and being an inmate in the national asylum to your North,I cannot even choose a Party in the US.I just feel that the Party reached a 'tipping point'some time ago and now has very little control of its future direction which is DOWN.
This is not a bad thing.Parties die,because their raison d'etre is gone and the conditions that encouraged them have altered.That does not mean that there will be no opposition,It merely means that there will be a different opposition.It simply won't be this collection of effete,decadent,nihilists.

Posted by: dougf at January 25, 2005 04:52 PM

A question for the liberal hawks.

Is their a point or certain number of Iraqi civilian deaths that would change your mind about the Iraq war? 200,000? 500,000? 1 million? 5 million? We are estimated at 100,000 now.

Posted by: drydock at January 25, 2005 04:55 PM

Is it odd that a magazine written for the transnational progressive crowd is called the Nation?

Posted by: jrdroll at January 25, 2005 05:11 PM

We are estimated at 100,000 now--Drydock

Even though I am not a 'liberal-hawk',a species that I find tends towards lack of RESOLVE when the going gets tough,allow me to reply.
Sources please.And a great many of those deaths are caused by the murderous scumbags we are currently trying to terminate with extreme prejudice.Which is irrelevent to the point that you could make the same argument about EVERY conflict.
How high is up?

Posted by: dougf at January 25, 2005 05:16 PM

“I hope these letters to the editor don’t express the opinions typical of centrist Democrats. But I wonder. After all, this is TNR, not The Nation.”

There is a good possibility that these letter writers are not regular readers of TNR (I am a paying subscriber). They could be part of an organized campaign to rebuke Peter Beinart and his publication. And if this is indeed the case---then you should really be worried! It provides evidence that the far Left is able to quickly round up people to their bidding; they know how to work the system.

Do these folks represent 10%, 30%, or 50% of the Democratic Party? I can only guess. But this we know for sure: they are sufficiently organized to force the Democratic Party to provide a presidential candidate which will be minimally half way acceptable to them. In other words, there is zero chance of a Joseph Libermann or another “pro-war” candidate becoming that party’s presidential nominee. What about the US Senate, House of Representatives, or state wide races? The Democratic Party remains very viable in these particular circumstances. My remarks are limited strictly to the race for the presidency.

Posted by: David Thomson at January 25, 2005 05:34 PM

source: Lancet medical journal from Britain. Maybe its accurate or maybe its not.

Lets assume its inaccurate. Lets also assume that the Iraqi insurgents (or scumbags) are responible for a large percentage of the civilian deaths (though I'm skeptical about that). My question still stands: is their a point where the level of blood spilled outweighs possible humanitaran/democratic ends.

Rhetorically speaking-- is their a point-- where destroying the village in order to save it-- could happen in this situation?

Posted by: drydock at January 25, 2005 05:47 PM

Have you got big tits?

Posted by: Tom at January 25, 2005 06:03 PM

Welcome. First of all, I don't know if you have the power to ban people or not, but if I were you I'd start out by banning Tom, the rude individual who left the above comment.

Second. The Democratic party started on a long downward slope towards moral bankrupcy some very many decades ago. Any clear-thinking person with even the slightest shred of honesty or dignity would have already jumped ship by now.

Posted by: Kay Hoog at January 25, 2005 06:13 PM

Tom is banned.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 25, 2005 06:16 PM

drydock: sorry but it is "there" not "their". don't mean to offend nor insult, that sort of thing just bugs me.

anyway, of course there is a point when the cost - in human lives or otherwise - outweigh the benefits, but you cannot simply identify a cost, absent a benefit, and expect an answer. those that presently support the war in iraq believe that more people (25 million Iraqis, 300 million Americans, whatever number of those targeted by terrorists) benefit than have lost their lives.

so, sure, there is a number but it has not, in the minds of most people, been reached.

for you i suspect the number is very low and has already been passed. for some the number, i'm sure, is zero.

Posted by: too many steves at January 25, 2005 06:18 PM

Rhetorically speaking-- is their a point-- where destroying the village in order to save it-- could happen in this situation?--Drydock

This is actually a valid point,and I believe that these issues should be discussed in a sensible,honourable manner.The problem,in having a debate,on substantive issues, is twofold:
A.The 'leftist'absolutist(and clueless) position on the War,has so poisoned the arena,that every position and every facet has become 'politicised'.Instead of a discussion on the cost/benefit of any particular action,which is what you appear to be requesting,we start out from a position of "BUSH LIED / PEOPLE DIED",which means that every detail then goes merely into supporting a pre-ordained conclusion.Why bother?
B.The 'goals'of the Iraqi campaign are essentially 'existential'.The end result we want is a functioning(and illustrative), Arab quasi-liberal(but obviously Islamic influenced) democracy,where the majority will is moderated by respect for minority rights,and the PEOPLE,not the local tyrant or mullah,are the directors of the state.This will not happen next week,next month,or next year.It might be a decade or more before we know whether this grand attempt to prevent future terror,will have the desired affect.You can't calculate cost/benefit when you don't know either the exact costs or benefits.
If we had to destroy ALL of Iraq to prevail,that would be clearly be BAD.If we have to destroy 5% of the die-hard Sunni population,so that EVERYONE else can progress,that is an entirely different matter.
I don't have the answers,and nor does anyone else.The future is unknowable,but the present state of affairs in the ME is intolerable.Until someone comes up with a viable alternative to what GWB is doing,I am content to keep on trucking.

Posted by: dougf at January 25, 2005 06:21 PM

Thanks for the welcoming comments! *

Before the election, it seemed that center-left Democrats had more in common with center-right conservatives. Of course, everything got polarized by the election, but Beinert’s article seemed to be an acknowledgement that moderates shared the same values.

These letters to the editor were not moderate. I hope David Thomson is right – those letter-writers might not be regular readers. As MoveOn and Kos prove, the extremists are pretty good at influencing the Democrats.

(*Kay’s right, trolls must be banned - especially the dull ones)

Posted by: mary at January 25, 2005 06:22 PM

That Lancet estimate of 100,000 was debunked back in October when it first came out. Sorry I don't have links, but I remember that the figure was based on unverifiable anecdotes which were then extrapolated upwards in such a manner as to reach the highest number possible. This came out shortly before the election, "rushed into print" is the phrase I remember hearing, and it was sad that the Lancet should have joined other citizens of the UK who attempted to interfere with the American election.

Also, having been a longtime subscriber to TNR, during the election season of 2004 it seemed to me that they lost their heads a bit in a partisan manner while deploring John Kerry at the same time.

Posted by: miklos rosza at January 25, 2005 06:25 PM

Tom is banned

That was a fast troll thwacking. Thanks MJT.

Posted by: mary at January 25, 2005 06:26 PM

Letters to the Editor are most frequently written by people who have something to add, or by those who disagree strongly. This process is usually compounded by a similar bias among the editors. In the case of Beinart's piece, it was so well put together that I suspect most readers were just nodding their heads with contentment and had nothing to add.

Posted by: jj at January 25, 2005 06:26 PM

drydock - before we invaded Iraq, we heard about the hundreds of thousands of children who were dying as a result of UN sanctions. Yet the 'anti-war' left resisted efforts for regime change in Iraq in favor of 'peace'. (They also don't seem to be too concerned with the current UN oil-for-food scandal)

Currently, the UN is seeking 'peace' in the Sudan. More than 1 million are dead at the hands of the Islamist regime. How many must die for the UN's and the Left's efforts toward 'peace?'

..and I hate to go off topic on my own post, but I was doing a search for Lancet/discredited and found this:

Lancet editor "regrets" research paper which caused worldwide vaccine scare

"In February 1998, a five-page research paper by Dr Andrew Wakefield and 12 other doctors from the Royal Free hospital, London, was published in the Lancet medical journal, linking the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine - MMR - with autism. This one paper triggered a worldwide scare over the vaccine's safety, and falls in children's immunizations. Six years later, Brian Deer investigated the research, and exposed its finding as a sham. -> Go to the Lancet fiasco for an overview"

Not only was the recent Lancet study of 100,000 civilian deaths in Iraq discredited, but they seem to have a history of publishing junk science.

Posted by: mary at January 25, 2005 06:38 PM

The New Republic, except for its position on Israel, controlled by Marty Peretz, long ago ceased being a moderate voice. This is not TNR of Andrew Sullivan and Michael Kelly. Ever since the late 90's, when Clinton's lack of integrity became obvious for all to see, TNR became essentially another, slightly tamer "gotcha" rag, out to denigrate not just the policies but the very motives of Republicans. No Republican, including McCain has been spared. Like Clinton, TNR is no longer about ideas but about process. Indeed, Beinart's article was itself about process. About how Democrats can win elections by mimicing the Cold Warriors of yesteryear. Like Elmer Fudd running over a cliff, Beinart does not yet realize he is falling. There is no there there, During the whole Bush administration, early war on terror aside, TNR has been devoted to attacking, not just Bush's performance but his very motives. I dropped my subscription several years ago. I doubt I am alone. They, like the Democratic party itself are now reaping what they have sowed. I am certain that the letters criticizing Beinart, who has been, relentless in his attacks on Bush and has rarely written about actual ideas, are a genuine reflection of opinion of TNR's readership. Had other letters been received, they would have been printed.

Posted by: Doug at January 25, 2005 06:38 PM

Perhaps "discredited" is too strong a term, but for a rebuttal on the 100,000 statistic, check FrankWarner and thread for November at:

http://frankwarner.typepad.com/free_frank_warner/2004/11/100000_innocent.html

Posted by: jj at January 25, 2005 06:44 PM

Mary--
1) The anti-war left opposed the sanctions on Iraq. So I'm not sure how that makes them resposible for the Iraqi deaths by sanctions.

2) Sanctions strengthed the Iraqi state by punishing the general population (not the Baathist appartus)while allowing Saddam to then blame it on the U.S.

3)Regime change probably would have happened in 91 following the Gulf War when Kurds and Shiites rebelled. The U.S. preferred (at that point) Saddam to the revolting population. Thats why the US 1) slaughtered fleeing Iraqi troops (who had their guns pointed at the Baath party) 2) allowed Saddam to brutality suppress the Shiites and Kurds.

Posted by: drydock at January 25, 2005 07:13 PM

3)Regime change probably would have happened in 91 following the Gulf War when Kurds and Shiites rebelled. The U.S. preferred (at that point) Saddam to the revolting population. Thats why the US 1) slaughtered fleeing Iraqi troops (who had their guns pointed at the Baath party) 2) allowed Saddam to brutality suppress the Shiites and Kurds..---Drydock

And you now proceed(in an entirly predictable and dishonest manner),without passing GO,and without collecting $200.00,to'leftoid'fall-back position #1.And you wonder why the 'left'is so much abhored and IGNORED in the important conversations.Let me give you a small clue --
You don't have ANYTHING to say .
I am not going to engage you further.Life is too short.

Posted by: dougf at January 25, 2005 07:22 PM

The Cost/Benefit analysis, when it includes human lives, always gets problematic. It IS, in fact, an important question. A VALUE question, more than a fact question.

Drydock, let me challenge you directly. How many Americans would have had to die in the US Civil War before you thought Lincoln was wrong to go to war?

How many SE Asians would have to die after 1974 for you to think it was a mistake for the US to leave Vietnam?

There's a Holocaust memorial being created -- a database with the NAMES of all the Jewish victims. They have 3 million already. I believe the 6 million number of Jews (and am sad the 10 million total murdered is less talked about; the 4 million non-Jews are NOT in the database), and feel sure that the database is missing many.

I suspect an accurate count of Iraqi deaths would be much less than 100 000; but even if it's more like 20 000 (Iraqbodycount or somesuch), the question is good.

The Democratic Party will either have to accomodate exporting democracy, or else accept pro-life people again. (see my 3 dimension analysis of Bush positions: pro-War, pro-Tax Cuts, pro-Morals). Or else keep losing...

Posted by: Tom Grey at January 25, 2005 07:25 PM

As I recall, the Lancet study that cites 100,000 civilian deaths was based primarily on anecdodal evidence collected in the provences of the Sunni Triangle, and then extrapolated country-wide. I'm sure we can all see the flaws of using soft numbers from a small hostile region where fighting continues as the baseline for calculating national numbers in a mostly calm nation.

Posted by: Cybrludite at January 25, 2005 07:41 PM

1) cyberludite-- if your explaination of Lancelet's methodology is true than I would agree that their numbers are probably inacurrate. However my point is more about at what point is the cost too high. Nobody has answered that question.

2) Tom Grey-- Fair questions but I asked first. So answer mine.

3) Doug- uh like Dude uh like I don't understand your point. But since you're not talking to me anymore I guess I'll just live in ignorance.

Posted by: drydock at January 25, 2005 08:05 PM

Drydock ...

The Lancet article was pure politics. It was not anything approaching rational science. The report's appendix listed it's margin of error as 90,000 deaths. Meaning, the actual deaths according to the "study" could have been as low as 10,000, or as high as 190,000; and still been consistent with the results of the study.

Statistically, the error in the study makes it's conclusions absolutely meaningless.

The methodology was also appalling. The Lancet researches interviewed 63 Iraqi families in and around Baghdad. They were provided with death certificates for 23 deaths (without causes). The rest were anecdotal evidence.

Conclusion: we have absolutely NO WAY of knowing what the actual civilian death toll in Iraq WAS during the actual period of combat between Saddam's Armed forces and the American military.

It could have been as low as 63 people (not likely) or as high as a million (not likely either). The Lancet is useless, you might as well cast chicken entrails and call it science.

Sorry, innumeracy is a pet peeve of mine.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at January 25, 2005 08:07 PM

"Is it odd that a magazine written for the transnational progressive crowd is called the Nation?"

No, partially because is no such thing as a "transnational progressive" crowd. The phrase "transnational progressive" was created by conservative webloggers, as a strawman, to describe a legal theory that doesn't exist. You won't find the term used among any noteworthy left/liberal legal thinkers to describe their ideology, nor will you find any noteworthy legal thinkers whose views appoximate what "transnational progressivism" is supposed to be, except maybe some marginal (and therefore, by definition not noteworthy) critical race theorists that no one pays attention to, even on the left.

Incidentally, one of the big proponents of this meme said it came from the law school at Princeton, which doesn't exist. Interestingly, the original article with the Princeton law school cite appears to have been scrubbed.

Here is your link:
http://www.prospect.org/weblog/archives/2003/04/index.html#000915 [Sorry, I don't know how to do the cool HTML linking through a word]

Posted by: mistermark at January 25, 2005 08:09 PM

Not only was the recent Lancet study of 100,000 civilian deaths in Iraq discredited, but they seem to have a history of publishing junk science.

By that standard, so does every single other scientific journal in the world. All of them have published erroneous, fraudlent, or poor articles at one point or another. What's important is that it is both rare and noticed.

Posted by: Kimmitt at January 25, 2005 08:11 PM

Hi Mary.

Excellent and thought provoking post. I can only add my journey politically and my own sentiments.

I am probably in the liberal side of things politically, in that I'm in favor of Gay Marriage, Abortion Rights, taking care of the elderly, the disabled, the young. I don't want kids going hungry here in America, or abused. I think that government has a responsibility to step in to see these things done.

Yet some things fall into "nice to have" priorities; I'd like them but have higher priority items. Gay Marriage is one. Nice to have but less than National Defense. Which I'd put #1.

My problem (as a two time Clinton voter and one who voted for Dukakis) is that I've drifted to the right in certain issues. I was vehemently anti-gun ownership, until I moved to Louisiana and saw first hand the benefits of gun ownership. You don't understand how crime can impact you out in the income segragated West. New Orleans has Anne Rices's multiple mansions literally two blocks up from Crack Houses. I love the South but it is a lot more mixed, racially, socially, and economically and it changed my view of things. Crime won't stay in poor areas, cause they are close by. Unlike say here in LA where South Central's appalling murders have little impact on the Westside.

So yes, culturally I'm an NRA member who supports the Death Penalty (with multiple reviews), and thus unwelcome in the Democratic Party even though I probably agree on most though not all of their domestic platform.

Foreign Policy wise; to me 9/11 showed that we had a central problem in our policy. Foreign regimes felt no cost to supporting terrorists attacking us, something that had started under Nixon and the PLO's murdering diplomats. So we had to make people pay in the only currency they understood, regime removal. Lobbing $5 million missiles at $5 tents would not do anymore.

Culturally, most of the Democratic Party simply cannot abide this. They are the Hollywood Elite, uber-liberal Billionaires like Soros, and the immature "screw em" Kos Kidz who imbibe anti-Americanism as the new rebellion. This is where the money is; and they focus the party's policies. The bulk of the Party simply cannot abide military use of force, and lives in a fantasy world of the Davos conferences, G8 summits, and comfortable salons where everyone is reasonable. They have no comprehension of the murder and bloodlust of Saddam, Osama, and the various other faces of Islamic rejection of the modern world (of which we are the focus).

I think the Party is fatally flawed. If it adopted a populist approach in domestic and foreign matters it would be the natural majority party; but this would require re-thinking of gun control, the death penalty, and the current broken collective security methode (I'm all for one that actually works). The Party can't do this because it would invalidate the elitist, Ivy-League, wealthy urban elite that controls it's core.

If we are living in a Die Hard movie; the majority of the Party would side with the suave, sophisticated European instead of the crude American Cowboy:

Hans Gruber (sneeringly): Do you really think you can prevail against us, Mr. American Cowboy?

John McClain: Yippe kay yay .

To put it mildly, this is not where most Americans are, moreover they are right in their appraisal. Perhaps the Republican Party will split. So far my Party seems toast.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at January 25, 2005 08:30 PM

Mary, a hearty welcome to you.

You may or may not enjoy your stay, since your hitch seems to coincide with the chomsky crowd finally noticing the threat posed by MJT.

It's going to be murky here for a few days, or weeks, at a minimum.

My two cents on the question whether or not the letters to the editor are to be taken as representative:

Kerry got a lot of votes. TNR seems to stay away from the rhetoric that rags like Nation or Mother Jones indulge in, but they are still on the wrong side of history.

You are attacked, you know who did it and why, and you go and win the war.

The tiedye crowd's world pivots on the acceptance that America deserves every bit of shit it receives because we are the bastion of white privilege, crony capitalism, and our entire history is an unbroken litany of exploitation, class subjugation, and jingoistic imperialism.

All of it. Every single second since the first pilgrim shoved an indian off his land, we've sucked. Our streets are filled with hopeless dregs (wearing 200 dollar sneakers and carrying cell phones). Economic disaster looms with every WalMart grand opening. The construction of any powerplant is the tipping point into an ecological chelmno, certain to bring entire species to the brink of extinction.

And every act of government NOT packaged as a well-meaning attempt to 'level the playing field' or 'take care of (fill in victim group)' or merely written by those bilefilled, bigoted, bastard republicans is a running screaming leap at fascism...

No, I really don't take the Democrat party seriously any more. If there is a party left, of course; when the dinosaurs still clinging to their fiefdoms in D.C. are reduced to spouting BS on the floor of the U.S. senate of the flavor that ended up on Michael Moore's editing room floor because it was too over- the- top even for him, well, there's not much reason to pay attention.

They are looking for power for themselves; what was once a national party is reduced to a bunch of victims and activists looking for power - not the responsibility to protect and defend the nation.

Economy is chugging right along. Elections in Afghanistan. Elections this week in Iraq.Libya, Pakistan, Kuwait, Qatar, and other Muslim countries have cooperated in our efforts to lesser or greater lengths.

Conflict is not defeat. It's the process by which a decision is reached. And the moonbats... the moonbats are demonstrating a lack of faith in democracy that would not be surprising in the hovels of Baathist Iraq or the halls of Tehran.

Losers.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 25, 2005 08:30 PM

Kimmit --

The Lancet has fallen on hard times, just like the NYT or CBS. "Fake but accurate" no longer cuts it; the Internet and the increased availablity of raw data makes this sort of thing no longer acceptable.

Given the poor standards of the NYT and their history of making things up; I would not trust anything coming out of their publication without referencing it somewhere else. The same for CBS and the Lancet.

Lest anyone think Americans are immune, they are not. JAMA has also been caught in various "studies" that did not hold up under peer review; and were rushed to print before that. Heck Michael Belisles claimed all sorts of ludicrous things on his book about American Gun ownership, then admitted he made stuff up when folks went to check his sources/raw data. Prestigous Emory University ended up suspending him for violating scholarship standards.

Rule of thumb; if a scholar cannot provide his/her raw data to other scholars for independent verification then he/she probably made stuff up.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at January 25, 2005 08:37 PM

I've stated my belief that the cost of our being in Iraq is worth the benefit of deposing Saddam, freeing 25 million Iraqis and reducing the threat of terrorism in the Western World (including the US). Others here have concurred.

The question then is: for what benefit would drydock be willing to spend 100,000 lives? 50,000? 1,000? or how about 1?

Posted by: too many steves at January 25, 2005 09:19 PM

mistermark,

Transnational Progressivism was first described in the Summer 2002 issue of Orbis. You can read the article here. (PDF format) TP is defined as an ideology or a worldview - not a legal theory.

I'm aware that the Left doesn't describe itself as TP, but for those of us outside the Left, it seems to be a good description of what the post Cold War Left has become.

Posted by: Hylas at January 25, 2005 09:20 PM

Too many Steves-- So 1,000,000 dead Iraqi civilians would be okay in your book.

Posted by: drydock at January 25, 2005 09:27 PM

Answer the question, is there anything you would give a life for?

I mean this most sincerely: No is a reasonable answer. No answer is not reasonable.

Posted by: too many steves at January 25, 2005 09:42 PM

If nothing is worth the loss of life to you, then you're nothing but an animal. Seriously.

Think about it.

Posted by: Mark Poling at January 25, 2005 09:47 PM

drydock - you never answered my question. How many innocent people will the Left and the UN allow to die for their dream of 'peace'? An organization that has a knee-jerk opposition to war will be always be unable to prevent genocide.

You say the Left opposed sanctions in Iraq. What effective measures did they take to stop those sanctions?

For years the left blamed the deaths in the Sudan on Clinton's bombing of an 'aspirin factory' - not the Islamist regime. Was Clinton's bombing of an aspirin factory also responsible for the Arab/Islamist-imposed slavery there?

Posted by: mary at January 25, 2005 09:49 PM

All right Drydock, I'll bite. I actually think your question's a fair one though as another poster mentioned, it's a little grisly doing cost-benefit analysis with human lives.
To arrive at an answer, one needs to determine the number of Iraqi lives that would have been lost had the U.S. not gone into Iraq. Obviously this involves a lot of guesswork but here goes. (I should add that the figures I use come from my memory of estimates I've read in the past from humanitarian groups and the UN. If I'm off, substitute a correct number).
Had the U.S. not invaded, sanctions would have remained in place (despite the desires of some on the left) for, I would guess another ten years before international will petered out. I believe it's estimated that around 10 000? Iraqis were dying a year from sanctions. So, over the next 10 years, that's 100 000 dead.
Now, I believe I read that Saddam was responsible, on avg., for the deaths of 50 000 of his own people each year over the course of his dictatorship. I'm guessing that's skewed by the Iran war and his gassing of the Kurds. I don't imagine he'd start any new wars while the sanctions were in place so let's say he murders only 10 000 people a year over the next ten. That's another 100 000 dead. After the sanctions lifted, I see no reason why he wouldn't revert to his usual 50 000 a year. Say he stays in power for another ten years after that. That's 500 000 more dead.
Now toss in all the deaths caused by the suicide murderers he sponsors and possible minor invasions over his final years and our total - which I believe is fairly conservative - approaches a million. So, if you really want an answer, mine's a million deaths. Actually I'd likely go higher than that considering possible major wars he might start in the future and the result of his lunatic sons taking over.
Luckily, the number of deaths that will actually result won't even come close to that before stability is brought to Iraq. Which makes the liberation an easy one to support.

Posted by: Syd at January 25, 2005 10:14 PM

Oh - and by the way Drydock - you avoided answering someone else's question earlier with "I asked first." Well I answered, now I'd like you to answer Tom Grey's question. "How many Americans would have had to die in the US Civil War before you thought Lincoln was wrong to go to war?"

Posted by: Syd at January 25, 2005 10:28 PM

drydock

Boy, did you suck the oxygen out of the room!

FWIW, one of the major flaws of the Lancet paper was that they may have inadvertantly included the missing among the dead due to their sampling method - consequently, the Lancet estimate of dead civilians may include a high proportion of refugees, people who simply fled a hot combat zone. To give the authors of the Lancet paper some credit, this sort of project is extremely difficult, but after the fact it's hard to see what possible value an estimate with such large error margins would have (other than the crassly political).

The question you pose, how many dead Iraqis would change your mind about the Iraq war, is still worth considering, discrepant Iraqi casualty estimates aside.

I guess one way of answering this question is to look at Hussein's bodycount, and to determine at what point the cost/benefit of intervention hits a tipping point. If one looks at casualty estimates for the Iran-Iraq war (~750,000), the Kuwait invasion (?), cost of his non-compliance to UN resolutions on the Iraqi population (say, 100,000/yr. for a decade?), local repression of Kurds/Shia (the mass graves have an estimated 300,000 occupants), etc., I think you'll find that a very conservative average annual bodycount for Hussein was on the order of about 50,000 per year over the period of his rule, and more than 2 million dead by his policies. We've mostly stopped that, and I think that's a fine thing. As a Humanist, I think we should probably be there for at least as long as we (the US) supported Hussein, or until the Iraq's sovereign integrity is restored (via a functioning army/police/civil government) and the Iraqi people (via their duly elected representatives) ask us to leave (this may take decades - cf. the Phillipines, S. Korea, Japan, Germany, etc.). We owe them that much, surely, and additional dead civilians under Coalitional occupation only compound that debt. If we were shown to be as bad as Hussein (~2 million dead?) to the Iraqi people, then I'd definitely have to rethink my support for humanitarian reasons, since we'd be no better than the despot we deposed. Of course, it'd take a lot harder numbers than the Lancet paper's guesstimate to convince me. How many more years would you have supported Hussein being left in power, assuming the UN continued to keep it's thumbs warm and it's pockets lined through oil-for-food, as Iraqi bodies piled up from sanctions and internal oppression?

It's a real pity Hussein wasn't removed from power after Gulf I, but pre-USSR collapse, the US foreign policy in the middle east (and elsewhere) seemed to be dominated by bipartisan realpolitik support for anti-communist strongmen, and in the intervening years between the collapse of the Soviet Union and pre-9/11, institutional inertia seemed to value stability over any alternative transformative (liberal/humanitarian/neocon/other) policy, and in Iraq, the Kurds and Shia (etc., etc.) paid a heavy price for that lack of vision. It is in this regard that I suggest you read Wolfowitz on the Middle East - not what they say about him on Atrios or Znet, but what he says in his own words (say, here http://middleeastinfo.org/article4840.html). The guy's an idealist, truer to classical liberalism than a lot of people out there. Of course, YMMV.

Posted by: GeneThug at January 25, 2005 10:49 PM

Mary, if you're interested in fighting, I'll oblige.

Your first posting here and you:

1) Pick up on yet another "The democrats need to become republican hawks" article, very last Tuesday.

2) Excerpt letters about the article to make the same point (at what point does blogging become too displaced? When the blogger spends too much time discussing comments about something else, that's when.

3) Don't provide any of your own arguments

The cold war was not a simple, straightforward affair (but a model of clarity compared to the current situation) and there was more than one way to 'fight' communism. The most effective way turned out to be active, direct, non-aggressive engagement with the satellites (not that clear at the time, but fairly clear now, I think).

Yes, the democrats could and should come up with better alternatives than Bush has.

But one problem is that the current state of political dialogue has been horribly degraded. Trying to have a rational discussion of the 'war on terror' is a mess. I'm not much interested in discussing scenarios and strategies that have not been publicly adknowledged and owned up to by the administration, and as far as I know, there are no clear, (publicly) defined goals from the administration and no clear delineation of who the enemy is or what the enemy wants or what we want to do about it. (I might be wrong, but I don't think I am, I'd welcome references to clear statements, naming names and ideologies and strategies as opposed to Rorsharch codewords that supporters and opponents alike interpret however they damned well want to.)

So, Mary, I'll expect better from you in the future.

Posted by: Michael Farris at January 25, 2005 11:54 PM

Kimmitt's point caught my eye: All [scientific journals] have published erroneous, fraudlent, or poor articles at one point or another. What's important is that it is both rare and noticed.

At what point might that (back page?) correction appear in Eurorags to counter huge front page headlines shaping world opinion proclaiming 100,000 IRAQIS DEAD!?

Okay, nevermind.

Posted by: d-rod at January 26, 2005 12:04 AM

Slate's debunking of the Lancet study's methodology is here:

http://slate.msn.com/id/2108887/

Whenever anyone cites the dubious 100,000 figure, my first question is whether they'd actually read the study, or are just parroting that number from a second or third hand source. That seems, once again, to be the case here. The odd thing is, these are usually the same kind of people who were just a few months ago parroting the 17,000+ civilian casualty figure promulgated by the anti-war Iraqibodycount site, despite that study's equally dubious methodology. For example, that group includes deaths from Iraqi terrorist attacks by Zarqawi and his kind in their own tally, on the logic (?) that the Coalition's presence in Iraq is without UN authorization:

http://iraqnow.blogspot.com/2004/05/iraq-body-count-lies-about-its-own.html

Oh, there was a certain, quiet, fist-pumping delight, when the Lancet gave anti-war ideologues an excuse to up their expressions of moral outrage. ("Wow, 80,000 more dead civilians than previously thought? YES!") It certainly doesn't seem to be driven by any genuine concern, for if it was, you'd think they'd at least take the time to actually look up the methodology of the studies they're now touting at cocktail parties. Were Human Rights Watch or another reputed organization to come out with a rigorous, painfully researched study that gave a tally of civilian deaths far below those numbers, that it turned out that the vast majority of 25 million people were left relatively unscathed by American military might, do you think that somewhere deep inside their darkest place, they'd feel just a bit, well, disappointed with the death downgrade?

Why yes, I think they would.

Posted by: WJA at January 26, 2005 01:15 AM

The over-the-top unneeded fire bombing of Dresden, about 100 000 civilian deaths when it was clear the allies were going to win, seems a good standard to me.

Less than 100 000 pro-democracy Coalition caused deaths is a good job. With over 25 million people, 1% is 250 000. If this many or more are killed by the Coalition, it was a bad job.

But still, and always, a noble cause. Noble like Lincoln's noble War against Slavery.

I've long said 2 500 American deaths, about the WTC, is the most Bush can lose and still get an "A". Right now he's at about 93%.

The deaths by the anti-democracy Death Squads are, likely, to be less than what Saddam was causing. But Saddam's murdering was less public -- I'm very interested in his trial at the dates of the various mass graves.

I'm interested in your numbers.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at January 26, 2005 02:46 AM

Whatever the number of deaths on behalf of the liberation is nothing compared to the amount of lives saved, today and in the future, because of the liberation.

Genocidal 'peace' is far more evil than war.

Posted by: susan at January 26, 2005 05:15 AM

It may seem crass, but I don't care much about the "Noble" cause of spreading liberty. It's a grand notion, and a worthy endeavor, but a weak justification to choose when people like drydock are attempting to prove the war unjustified.

But here's a few reasons why we needed to take him down:
Fact: Saddam was an evil guy, and a sworn enemy.
Fact: Saddam had sweetheart deals with leading European nations, Russia, and China for post-sanctions oil production. (present and future economic rivals)
Fact: Saddam intended to resume weapons research and production post-sanctions
Fact: The U.N. Sanctions were crumbling
Fact: Saddam rhetorically and financially supported the destruction of a U.S. ally
Fact: Historically, when powerful enough, Saddam committed acts of aggression against his enemies and neighbors.
Fact: Of our greatest enemies Iraq was the most vulnerable
Fact: Occupying Iraq and Afghanistan places us at the front and back door of Iran, another nation sworn to bring "Death to America".
Fact: Syria, another enemy, is now staring down the barrel of a gun.
Fact: Saddam attempted to assassinate a U.S. President
Fact: Northern Iraq was home to the largest Terrorist training camp in the world.

These are all reason enough for me. Even 1 civilian death is too much to bear in armed conflict, but life is ugly, unfair, and such are the realities of our world.

We can strive to be as civil as we want, we can protest treatment of terrorist prisoners, and we can abhor armed conflict, but these things require two players. When one of those players reverts to the basic rules, behaves uncivil, then there is no other recourse than to beat him at his own game. Kill or be killed, survival of the fittest and all of that. Know your enemy, and exceed him in every way.

But when it is over, when the enemy is slain, we can then reinstate our "civility" and live on in the manner in which we choose.

It is an ugly business war, and not an ideal solution by any means, but one which can, will, and must be used to destroy those enemies who choose to live by the gun.

Posted by: Mike at January 26, 2005 07:03 AM

I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that said 'Peace'. I wondered, whose peace?

It may sound Orwellian to say this, but peace is maintained by the threat of violence. It doesn't just spontaneously occur. I enjoy peace here in my little village because the local police have a monopoly of violence. They could, effectively, destroy me and my family---but we abide by common rules that we agree upon and they enforce.

Much of France's experience of the Nazis was during peaceful relations with Germany. There was a brief war when Hitler invaded, then a long spell of 'peace.' It was Hitler's peace -- during which time terrible tragedies fell upon France, who lost her freedom. It took warring Allies barging into Normandy to end Hitler's 'peace' with France.

The anti-war crowd should be mindful of whose peace was being maintained during the 12 year sanction of Ba'athist Iraq. And when they demand peace at protests, they should be clear on whose terms for peace they are demanding. 'Peace' does not mean anything as a single word -- it requires a condition. Peace is a good thing; we all should be blessed by it. But without a credible threat of violence, it cannot be maintained.

Posted by: Marcus Cicero at January 26, 2005 07:23 AM

"But here's a few reasons why we needed to take him down:
Fact: Saddam was an evil guy, and a sworn enemy.
Fact: Saddam had sweetheart deals with leading European nations, Russia, and China for post-sanctions oil production. (present and future economic rivals)
Fact: Saddam intended to resume weapons research and production post-sanctions
Fact: The U.N. Sanctions were crumbling
Fact: Saddam rhetorically and financially supported the destruction of a U.S. ally
Fact: Historically, when powerful enough, Saddam committed acts of aggression against his enemies and neighbors.
Fact: Of our greatest enemies Iraq was the most vulnerable
Fact: Occupying Iraq and Afghanistan places us at the front and back door of Iran, another nation sworn to bring "Death to America".
Fact: Syria, another enemy, is now staring down the barrel of a gun.
Fact: Saddam attempted to assassinate a U.S. President
Fact: Northern Iraq was home to the largest Terrorist training camp in the world."

Okay, how many of these has Bush publicly owned up to, endorsed? How many had he endorsed and given as justification prior to the invasion?
I'm not (only) being a smartass here. I'm genuinely curious. I'm sort of out of the loop (since I don't live in the US) and may have missed some of the debate.

Posted by: Michael Farris at January 26, 2005 08:18 AM

Michael Farris: Okay, how many of these has Bush publicly owned up to, endorsed? How many had he endorsed and given as justification prior to the invasion?

First of all the President doesn't have anything to "own up to". He has stated, Condi has stated, Colin Powell has stated numerous times that there were various justifications for effecting regime change within Iraq. Not the least of which violation of 17 U.N. Resolutions.

However as Dr. Rice stated during her recent confirmation hearings, the WMD justification was the one thing that the administration felt everyone could get behind. This is b/c France said they had them, Russia said they had them, Britain and many others truly believed he had them.

As it turns out he may not have, but no one lied, and while that single justification was incorrect, there were a myriad of other reasons, that HAVE been cited by the Bush Administration as well as many of his recent critics, which were equally justifiable.

Posted by: Mike at January 26, 2005 08:33 AM

Mary, if you’re interested in fighting, I’ll oblige..

I’m not really interested in having a fight. The point of the post was Beinart’s essay, A Fighting Faith. Thus, the reference.

If I wanted to start a fight, I’d say something like ‘that Zell Miller, gotta love him’ or ‘Are Tinky Winky and SpongeBob Squarepants operatives in a plot to destroy civilization as we know it? - discuss’

The point of the post was to ask if readers, left, right, center agreed with Beinart or the letter writers.

Many, like Jim Rockford and TmjUtah, were disappointed by what the Democratic party has become, and most don’t believe that the Dems can fix their party, which is a shame, because the two party system depends on a viable, electable opposition.

You can disagree about why the Democrats are on this downhill slide, but you can't contest the fact that people are leaving the party. Maybe ex-Democrats can explain why.

In short, the point of the post was to ask a question and to listen to the answers.

So, Mary, I’ll expect better from you in the future

What’s with the critique and the authoritative tone? Are you a registered professor of blogology? Did your write your thesis on posting? Until I see your curriculum vitae or another proof of your authority, I’m just going to keep posting in my own random way.

Posted by: mary at January 26, 2005 08:50 AM

Michael Farris: Okay, how many of these has Bush publicly owned up to, endorsed?

On October 10, 2002 Congress passed the Iraq War Resolution. It explicitly lists Saddam's connections to terrorism, his plot to kill a US President, violations of the cease-fire agreement, violations of UN resolutions, persecution of Iraqi minority groups, and oh yes, WMD. It was approved almost unanimously.

In his address to the United Nations, Bush stated that we could no longer wait until a threat was imminent before we acted.

So, given these facts, what's an intellectually honest liberal to conclude? Well, it's obvious that Bush rushed to war based solely on claims of imminent WMD. Case closed.

Posted by: Greg Boyer at January 26, 2005 09:05 AM

"What’s with the critique and the authoritative tone? Are you a registered professor of blogology? Did your write your thesis on posting? Until I see your curriculum vitae or another proof of your authority, I’m just going to keep posting in my own random way."

You wrote that you're interested in fighting. I took you seriously. My mistake, I'm sorry, deepest apologies and all thought. Continue (or proceed, whatever).

Posted by: Michael Farris at January 26, 2005 09:13 AM

To answer Michael Farris:

"Whereas in Public Law 105-235 (August 14, 1998), Congress concluded that Iraq's continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and international peace and security, declared Iraq to be in `material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations' and urged the President `to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations';

Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations; Whereas Iraq persists in violating resolution of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in the region, by refusing to release, repatriate, or account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully detained by Iraq, including an American serviceman, and by failing to return property wrongfully seized by Iraq from Kuwait;

Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people; Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its continuing hostility toward, and willingness to attack, the United States, including by attempting in 1993 to assassinate former President Bush and by firing on many thousands of occasions on United States and Coalition Armed Forces engaged in enforcing the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council; " and so on & so forth

from the Iraq War Resolution, as psoted at
http://www.yourcongress.com/ViewArticle.asp?article_id=2686

Posted by: Elaine at January 26, 2005 09:16 AM

Mary -

"Many, like Jim Rockford and TmjUtah, were disappointed by what the Democratic party has become,..."

Nail, head, Mary.

The vibrancy and strength of a representative republic is indeed based on the healthy competition of ideas resulting in solutions aimed at a common goal.

The democrats' purported intent to make government the arbiter of personal happiness is contradictory to all that was ever intended by the constitution. The job of government is not to babysit. Good intentions aside, it never works. Combine faux populist strategies and victim management with the overt cynicism and elitism that permeates what's left of the D.C. dem fraternity WHILE WE ARE TRYING TO FIGHT A WORLD WAR and maybe you can understand where I'm coming from.

Thirty years of swirlyman for the Dems. I look forward to the last gurgle in the commode. Maybe they will come back as some sort of democracy - supporting party, and not a life support system for failed theories and hacks.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 26, 2005 09:21 AM

Elaine, thank you very much.
I could have found that if I weren't too dim to think of looking for it. I think it will serve very well as a foundation for judging progress in Iraq (though I wont' have time till tomorrow morning my time [GMT +2] to say more).

Posted by: Michael Farris at January 26, 2005 10:38 AM

You can disagree about why the Democrats are on this downhill slide, but you can't contest the fact that people are leaving the party. Maybe ex-Democrats can explain why.

This ex-Democrat left for a number of reasons, chiefly reaction to liberal/leftist positions and behavior that inspired in me reactions ranging from exasperation to disgust. I believe in a level of personal responsibility at significant odds with the Dems nanny-state MOPE sniveling. I'm pro-gun, pro-death penalty, and pro-OIF. I can't stomach leftista darlings such as Arafat and Fidel and Mumia or groups of malignant lunatics such as MoveOn and ANSWER. I respect the men and women who don uniforms and go into harm's way on my behalf -- and have the utmost contempt for those who denigrate, slander, and/or malign them. A party which nominates as its Presidential candidate a man who did that very thing (his -- highly questionable -- service notwithstanding) is simply not a party I can belong to.

Posted by: Achillea at January 26, 2005 10:50 AM

In his address to the United Nations, Bush stated that we could no longer wait until a threat was imminent before we acted.

That's not what he said -- he said that "imminence" was an outmoded concept in an age of terror, since we might not learn of a threat until long after it has already resulted in the deaths of millions.

Which might have been relevant, had Saddam had the capacity to engender those deaths, but we now know he did not.

In essence, Bush's argument was, "The United States has the right to do whatever it wants, as long as it throws up the excuse that it was kinda scared of something." Which is fine, but don't be surprised when the rest of the world starts spending a lot of time and money on effective enough defense systems to deter us from invading, including nuclear weapons. When we have made it clear that we reserve the right to invade any country on flimsy or false pretexts, any sane nation with interests that compete against the United States is going to view us as a major threat.

Posted by: Kimmitt at January 26, 2005 11:51 AM

Tom Grey -

"The over-the-top unneeded fire bombing of Dresden, about 100 000 civilian deaths when it was clear the allies were going to win, seems a good standard to me."

Your argument is almost on level with the UseNet Hitler rule.

Just when was it "obvious" the war was won? Stalingrad? Midway? D-Day? Okinawa? And obvious to who? That's the real question here.

A lot of smart people thought the war was won in 1944. That's why Eisenhower placed four green Divisions in the Ardennes. Remember how that worked out? That was the bloodiest land battle in Western Europe... fought after the outcome was "obvious" to lots and lots of people.

You didn't mention Tokyo. Or Kobe, or Nagoya, or the others? Oversight? B-29's were built specifically to penetrate heavily depended airspace and destroy point targets from high altitude. By the time they deployed, Japan's air defense was highly degraded. The lack of spirited fighter opposition, combined with the technical limitations of bombing accuracy and engine attrittion due to operating above thirty thousand feet led to the B-29's operating lower and lower. The industrial base of Japan was bombed back into a mom & pop level of production but it wasn't obvious to the Japanese that they were beat, was it?

The assault on Okinawa began on April first, 1945, and ended just weeks before Hiroshima was bombed. Our cost was around fifty thousand dead, wounded, and missing. Okinawa was the rehearsal for the invasion of the home islands, in exactly the same way that the raid on Dieppe, france, became the primary training tool for D-Day in Normandy.

Read the link; twenty percent of U.S. Navy casualties in WW2 were sustained at or near Okinawa.

After the outcome of the war was "obvious".

Other examples of waste in war? How about our entire Civil War after Gettysberg? Lee didn't have the men (NUMBERS of men - not a damned thing wrong with the quality) or the material to win against the North after Pickett's Charge. He knew it. It was... obvious. But he hoped that by prolonging the fight he could still achieve the political objectives of the South.

It wasn't until Sherman cut the sinews out of the Confederacy that the killing ended. Between Gettysberg and Appamattox Courthouse a dozen or more great battles were fought, and for what?

It's not obvious who will win in this war against Islamofascism. It is beyond our power to declare victory until the enemy lays down the fight.

The people that equate conflict with defeat fail to realize that the aftermath of losing this war will impact their lives in ways far, far greater than absorbing a few million refugees or maybe watching video of strange people in distant places being marched into the desert or jungle. This war isn't a choice; we aren't voluntary participants. There will be a losing side and a winning side, and the decision will change the course of history. Western Democracy spreading and equalizing the living standards of all men, or a world split into battlefields of a twilight war between indolent navel gazers and the barbarians that exist only to kill?

We can always lose, though. That's obvious.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 26, 2005 01:10 PM

Oh Jeez.
If --imminence is an outmoded concept in an age of terrorism, since we might not learn of a threat until long after it has already resulted in the deaths of millions

Then- obviously- we could no longer wait until the threat was imminent.

In essence, Kimmit's "argument" is that if you ignore what Saddam Hussein and his murderous regime did, ignore what Bush actually said, and ignore the authorization for military action by the United Nations Security Council and both houses of Congress, then it's possible to spout all kinds of nonsense- like talking about Bush "reserving a right" to "invade any country" and idiocy liike "sane nations" viewing us as a "major threat"

The key concept here is sanity. I don't think sanity means what you think it means. Most theories tend to give weight to concerns of holding verifiable beliefs about the objective world.

Posted by: Rev. Churchmouse at January 26, 2005 01:36 PM

Kimmit --

One thing has never been explained to me. Why does the Left assume only ONE actor in the Iraq war, Bush? Why does the Left not talk about Saddam's actions.

If indeed, Saddam did not have WMDs, if he was completely above board, clean, and no threat to the United States whatsover, why did he not simply open his country up to inspections after throwing them out in 1998?

WHAT was Saddam hiding? WHAT was Saddam so afraid we'd find that he'd risk war with the US to prevent inspectors from coming in?

Secondly, are you willing to take Saddam's word, unverified, that he's no threat? Will you take the Mullahs of Iran? Are you willing to bet your life, that of your family's, your friends, everyone you know, every day, that a brutal Mid East dictator who feeds people into industrial shredders and watches tapes of people having their hands cut off for FUN won't kill you? Are you willing to do the same with a regime that hangs 16 year old girls in the public square for being raped; is prepared to stone to death a 13 year old girl for the same?

My major problem with the Dems is that they are simply not serious about protecting this country, they want to take the word of any brutal country that could be a threat to us regardless of the risk.

Finally, LA Times is reporting that MoveOn is pushing Dean big-time as Cheney would say for Chair, organizing house parties around showings of F9/11 and overtly wanting to move the Party farther left.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at January 26, 2005 02:21 PM

UPDATE ---- this just in ---- UPDATE

The demise of communism has been greatly exagerrated, the fight has not been won.

Our well-placed sources reporting from deep within the Asian continent report that the world's most populous nation is a totalitarian, communist one-party state, whose leadership has consistently shown a blatant disregard for human rights. The right of self-determination (Tibet,Taiwan), freedom of religion (Falun Gong) and freedom of speech (dissenters locked away in mental institutions and reeducation camps) are constantly breached by a brutal and authoritarian leadership.

Yet, despite 1,3 billion people suffering under these inhuman circumstances, voices in the west condemning the abuses of the communist regime are scarce. Indeed it seems that the political and business leaders of the free world are happy to let this communist state finance their deficit (US), censor their publications in exchange for market access (Murdoch) and generally be bribed into silence in the hope of gaining economical advantages.

Posted by: novakant at January 26, 2005 03:34 PM

Kimmitt: "Which might have been relevant, had Saddam had the capacity to engender those deaths, but we now know he did not."

WHICH MIGHT HAVE BEEN RELEVANT...

BUT WE NOW KNOW HE DID NOT

I assume you willl be fair enough to acknowledge that the latter statement is 20/20 hindsight. Meanwhile, in the absence of that luxury, you acknowledge the "relevance" of that assumption - which I take to mean that in the post 9/11 world -you acknowledge it would be - along with the other half a dozen good reasons - suitable grounds for going to war.

Unless you want to make the claim that Bush knew for certain in advance that there were no WMD's, I for one (as a disgusted Democrat) am getting pretty sick of the "Bush Lied" meme. Do you or do you not think that Bush believed that Saddam had WMD?

Posted by: Caroline at January 26, 2005 04:04 PM

Caroline, I suggest you take a long, hard look at this list of quotes concerning WMD made by members of the Bush administration in the run-up, during and after the war. No second thoughts at all?

P.S. Bush's relationship with the truth is best captured in this exchange:

DIANE SAWYER: But stated as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction as opposed to the possibility that he could move to acquire those weapons still —

PRESIDENT BUSH: So what's the difference?

Posted by: novakant at January 26, 2005 04:48 PM

Oh goodie.

Can somebody go ahead and post the relavent U.N. resolutions, CNN news stories, old press clippings from TIME, the congressional record of the debate prior to the 1998 Clinton call for regime change, and EVERYTHING else having to do with WMD while George Bush was still just a governor back in Texas?

This WMD lies/immenent- threat- as- a- justification meme horseshit; oh my goodness my life isn't complete if the entire screeching moonbat production number isn't trotted out and dealt with at least every other news cycle or so.

Can we talk about the Carlysle Group, too?

If it gets real slow, let's go back and talk about Roosevelt allowing the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor and the Chicago Meatpackers' conspiracy to sell leather bits and wood chips as hash to the Army in the Spanish American war. Pleeeeeease?

Leaving Hussein in place in '91 was a calculated risk; who knew that he could lose that bad and still maintain power? After we had consigned ourselves to the reality that he wouldn't fall, we supported the strongly worded resolutions of the U.N. to keep him in the box only to watch him slaughter the Marsh Arabs and Kurds with impunity. And then we watched as the U.N. cashed in, Hussein engineered a failed assassination attempt('s o.k., though - he just tried to kill a Republican) and fired rockets at our aircraft for ten years. Anyone mention his "adopt a pali splodeydope" program? 25K isn't chump change in the hothouse terror enclaves of Gaza and the West Bank, even if the families actually ever got only pennies on the dollar after the blood money was filtered through the various levels of corruption there.

Anyone remember the deployment made to Kuwait in 1996? Three thousand ground troops, several dozen strategic bombers, a naval CTF, all rushed to the Gulf and for what? To "send a message"?

Just how much does it cost to station a combat air patrol over an entire country for a DECADE?

How many after- dark basketball games would those billions have paid for?

I'm glad we've got adults in charge. And I'm glad we've got enough adults to elect more. I think the numbers will just keep getting better for the foreseeable future, too.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 26, 2005 05:14 PM

novakant, I could just easily provide you with an interesting list of quotes re: Saddam's danger to this country. Can you name which president guaranteed Saddam would use his arsenal against us if left unchecked?

As far as grasps of reality go, the expanded version of your soundbite shows the context in which the statement was made.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, you can keep asking the question and my answer's gonna be the same. Saddam was a danger and the world is better off cause we got rid of him.

DIANE SAWYER: But stated as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction as opposed to the possibility that he could move to acquire those weapons still —

PRESIDENT BUSH: So what's the difference?

DIANE SAWYER: Well —

PRESIDENT BUSH: The possibility that he could acquire weapons. If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger. That's, that's what I'm trying to explain to you. A gathering threat, after 9/11, is a threat that needed to be de — dealt with, and it was done after 12 long years of the world saying the man's a danger. And so we got rid of him and there's no doubt the world is a safer, freer place as a result of Saddam being gone.

Any reasonable person can see that Bush is articulating what you fail to acknowledge: We went to war based on the danger posed by Saddam Hussein. Period. Not on the existance of any particular factory, facility, or lab. The multiple reasons for removing Saddam were detailed in the War Resolution passed by Congress. I suggest you read it. Of course, I susptect willfull ignorance this late in the game.

Conveniently, those opposed to The War (really, Bush) now say that Saddam was contained. Not a threat. Let the sanctions continue. Let the pilots continue patrolling 24/7. Let our enemies laugh at our inaction as Saddam continues his 10 year game of dodge and weave.

America has rejected all that nonsense, thankfully.

Posted by: Greg Boyer at January 26, 2005 05:43 PM

Flashback 2001 - both Powell and Condi said he
was contained.

And guess what, I read the resolution, it's just that I don't believe in the concept of preemption, indeed find it dangerous, especially when articulated by untrustworthy people, so I guess we'll simply have to agree to disagree there.

Posted by: novakant at January 26, 2005 06:13 PM

Novokant: "PRESIDENT BUSH: So what's the difference?"

As it turns out, the Duelfer report clearly shows that there WAS no difference - that Saddam was prepared to reconstitute his programs within a couple of months once the sanctions were lifted (and we now know (speaking of 20/20 hindsight) how hard our European "allies" were working to get those sanctions lifted.)

I will add to the list of reasons for deposing Saddam enumerated above (besides humanitarian, WMD, terrorist connections, violations of 17 resolutions, the fact that we were technically still at war as he had failed to comply with the cease-fire agreement):

1. Salvaging the credibility of the UN - lest every tin pot dictator in the world think he could get away with flouting numerous UN resolutions with impunity.
2. putting an end to the sanctions, which were killing a large number of innocent Iraqis.
3. addressing the root causes of terrorism - a freedom deficit in the ME. Because of its large and well-educated population and its experience under secular governance, Iraq was judged a good place to start.

That's a hell of alot of good reasons - a veritable confluence of them. When so many darned good reasons converge - and when any one of them alone (e.g. the humintarian one - to use Clinton's policies as a precendent) could have sufficed - the burden of proof lies with the war's detractors. That's why their response is so lame and relies totally on 20/20 hindsight - there were no WMD's! Bush lied! You can't even be honest about the definition of the word "lie". Prove that Bush knew in advance that no WMD would be found and the Bush lied meme might have some credence. Once you've accomplished that - move on to the other half dozen arguments and make a case that all of them together don't make a good case for going into Iraq.

Posted by: Caroline at January 26, 2005 06:21 PM

Novokant: Flashback!

February 2001 comes BEFORE September 2001! If you don't think that 9/11 changed the meaning of the word "threat" then you have missed the whole point.

Posted by: Caroline at January 26, 2005 06:24 PM

Novokant: "I don't believe in the concept of preemption"

Did Milosovic declare war on or attack the US?

Posted by: Caroline at January 26, 2005 06:32 PM

Novokant: "Yet, despite 1,3 billion people suffering under these inhuman circumstances, voices in the west condemning the abuses of the communist regime are scarce"

Am I to assume from that statement that you are advocating that the US goes to war with China and that you would support such an action? Ditto NK? Or are you just pointing out that the US hasn't gone to war against every brutal regime in the world and that therefore its intentions are completely discredited in the cases when it does?

Regarding China - I assume you are familiar with Thomas Barnett's book "The Pentagon's New Map" - in which he discusses global military strategy in the context of the "gap" and the "core"?

See what he says about China:

http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/published/pentagonsnewmap.htm

Posted by: Caroline at January 26, 2005 06:57 PM

novakant - according to this article in the New Yorker, Bush's decision to depose Saddam was based on that old warmonger Carter's doctorine.

"Cheney has since been criticized for exaggerating the threat that Saddam represented, but the geostrategic thinking that underpinned the energy portions of his speech was not new. It dated back to January 23, 1980, when President Jimmy Carter declared, in his State of the Union address, "Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."

Posted by: mary at January 26, 2005 07:08 PM

Michael Farris - You wrote that you're interested in fighting. I took you seriously. My mistake, I'm sorry, deepest apologies and all thought.

Oops. I was trying to be the hostess, trying to keep my response ‘light’. Maybe I should have used a few smiley faces?

Posted by: mary at January 26, 2005 07:19 PM

Aaaaah! Please, Mary, don't compare the New Republic to the Nation ever ever again. That's so unwaranted and undeserved...as a liberal hawk, the New Republic is a beacon of hope (one of very few left these days) for me.

So what if a handful of readers disagreed with Beinart's argument?! The New Republic isn't publishing pieces on their website like the Nation does with the heading, "Is Al Qaeda Just a Bush Boogeyman: Is it possible that a vast and well-organized terrorist conspiracy does not exist?" The New Republic represents the very best of the center-left. The Nation represents the very looniest of the anti-American left-of-liberal fringe.

You struck a nerve here, Mary. As a loyal MJ reader and friend, I'll try not to hold it personally against you. Just...damn, lay off TNR, okay?

Posted by: Grant McEntire at January 26, 2005 11:16 PM

I dunno. I have supported the war in Iraq. I think it necessary to initiate (outside Israel) some sort of desire or acknowledgement it could exist support for democracy. I think that important for the world my children and grandchildren will inherit.

That said, I think the US needs a major cluebat in its meddling in foreign affairs. I think we are reaping what we sowed in Iraq during Reagan/Bush I. I don't think there is much there to be proud of re: ME legacy. Iran-Contra, anyone?

Who knows? 10 years from now, Bush II's Iraqi invasion may well read as poorly as Bush I's does. Or it may read as an historical turning point in the ME.

What I DO know, is that the thought-processes behind these actions don't seem to be very public topically. I think that needs to change, if for no other reason than to ask the American public to step up to the plate in requiring a thoughtful vetting of these processes in real time.

For example, I for, one, can say that I think it important for there to be a strategic base/democratic movement in the ME, and that Iraq was the best place to initiate that. But THAT certainly wasn't Bush II's publically declared reason for invading Iraq. And it certainly didn't engage the question -- does the US have the right to invade for those reason.

We are/were all diminished because those queries weren't demanded at the time of invasion. Why? Because the American/World populace isn't up to asking such questions?

Posted by: cj at January 26, 2005 11:24 PM

CJ,

Pause a second & reflect on how being open about our goal of spreading democracy in the region would have effected the basing rights we required from the assorted non-democratic nations in the area. "Hey, fellahs, can we use your airfields for a project that, if sucessful, will threaten your personal power-base?" Seriously, was the totality of your strategic thinking aquired by playing a couple of games of Risk™ as an undergrad?

Posted by: Cybrludite at January 27, 2005 03:51 AM

The Lancet study was never debunked. Briefly refuting the critiques posted here -

1. It was based on anecdores.
Actualy, it was not. If you read the study, you would find out that it was based on interviews of selected households.

2. The margin of error makes it meaningless.
Actually, it does not. While the 95% confidence interval includes 8k, it also includes 190k. Each point in the confidence interval is not equally likley to be the true result, and, in fact, the most likley result is exactly what the study showed - 98k excluding Falujah.

3. Civilian deaths.
While one of the writeups of the study stated Civilian deaths, the Lancet study actually measured excess deaths - the increase in death post invasion as compared to prior.

4. Families around Baghdad.
The description of the study's methodology being "interviewing 63 people around Baghdad" is massivly innacurate, and a complete fabrication. The study interviewed 988 households in 33 "clusters" (the methodolgy is valid and called "cluster sampling"). It is ironic that the commentor who passed on this farce stated that "innumeracy" was a "pet peeve" of his, but still managed to completly misunderstand what a confidence interval was.

5. Missing or dead?
An attempt was made to get death certificates in some of the cases (2 cases per cluster). It was not attempted in all deaths because of the awkward request - "Sorry your husband died... got any proof?" Of the 78 households where certificates were requested, 63 were provided. In each death, the method of death was asked. None of the explanations was "missing, presumed dead."

6. Slate's debunking
Was wrong. CF:
http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002780.html
http://cgi.cse.unsw.edu.au/~lambert/cgi-bin/blog/science/LancetIraq/lancet7.html
Whenever someone "debunks" the Lancet study, I wonder if they've read it as well. It turns out they mostly haven't. Like you, for instance, WJA.

All of you "debunkers" owe the truth and apology for having butchered it.

Posted by: FactCheck at January 27, 2005 08:02 AM

FactCheck -

Cluster sampling and such is valid only if the clusters are representative samples. The basic criticism of the Lancet study is that it evaluated areas where fighting occurred, then extrapolated the figures nationwide. That is plainly going to produce an inaccurate result. More to the point, the 100K number was above the number originally cited by war opponents by a factor of more than five. You can talk all you want about methodology, but when the final result is akin to 2 + 2 = 63, you are wrong regardless of your proofs. Finally, this study was produced by people with an axe to grind; that should lead one to a healthy skepticism regarding the result.

Posted by: Ben at January 27, 2005 08:33 AM

Aaaaah! Please, Mary, don't compare the New Republic to the Nation ever ever again. That's so unwaranted and undeserved...as a liberal hawk, the New Republic is a beacon of hope (one of very few left these days) for me.

Comparing two things doesn’t mean that they’re the same. The Nation and TNR are both political journals. So is the National Review. If 5 out of 6 letters to the National Review sounded like they were written by Nation readers, I’d have to wonder what was going on.

According to a poll taken before the election, more than 51% of democrats believed that the US might be to blame for the 9/11 attacks. 17% of republicans believed this. When I read that poll, I began to wonder if the anti-war left really was a ‘fringe’ group within the Democratic party. These letters to the editor also made me wonder. I’m still a TNR subscriber, but I wonder if Beinart speaks for the majority of Democrats. I hope he does..

Posted by: mary at January 27, 2005 08:42 AM

Ben - I am glad to see that you realize that if the study did what they said they did (cluster sampling), than the studies conclusions are valid. You appear to be accusing the researchers of deliberate and calculated fraud. Do you have any evidence that they committed such fraud, or are you making accusations of massive academic dishonesty with nothing but your ideology to guide you? I think that the later is true, in which case you owe an apology to the truth, which you have also butchered.

Additionally, you accuse the Lancet sudy of only evaluating areas where fighting occoured. I assume that you read the study, located for free on the World Wide Web. Could you detail for us, what areas they took clusters from, and how you were able to determine that those areas are the ones where fighting occoured? Please pay specific attention to Table 1 when evaluating your wild, unsbustantiated, false claim.

The figure posted by the Iraqi Body Count is not an apples to apples comparison to the Lancet study. The Lancet study evaluated all deaths - those by violence, accidental, old age, poor water, whatever. The Iraqi Body Count site does not include deaths that are not due to violence. Comparing the two data points is not valuable, in the least.

Posted by: FactCheck at January 27, 2005 09:28 AM

FactCheck - thanks for your input, but do you really expect people to waste hours googling and assimilating data too prove to you that an already discredited study has been discredited?

You use links to biased sites like Crooked Timber to prove that your information is not biased. Who do you think you're fooling?

I'll bet Chomsky can back you up too. Or how about Professor Marc Herold, who provided the world with an inflated body count that proved that the US war in Afganistan was a 'racist war'.

Herold's body-count inflating methadology was also used for the Iraq body count figures. Those figures are already inflated, which makes the monumentally inflated Lancet study look even more absurd.

Sure, we'll waste our time, after you prove to us, with data, properly linked and verified, that proves that Herold's 'racist war' thesis was true.

Oh, by the way, if you could also provide data proving leftist myths like "Clinton's bombing of an Asprin factory caused widespread death in the Sudan" were true, that would be so nice.

Posted by: mary at January 27, 2005 10:15 AM

Mary, as I've said, the study has not been debunked. The debunkers did not understand the study. And yes, if you want me to believe that the study has been debunked, I expect you to "waste hours googling and assimilating data." Of course, it's not a waste, but allow me to suggest that the first thing you might want to do is read the study, which is available for free on the World Wide Web, as I have already stated. The ideologically motivated "debunkings," are resonably well "debunked," by looking for how the study addresses the problems that they believe the study had.

Since I have not done the requiste research on Dr. Herold, I do not think it is appropriate for me to comment on him, or to conflate whatever his methodolgy was with the unblemished records of the individuals who were behind the as of yet academically undisputed Lancet study.

I would, finally, note that I did not use the non-existant data from Crooked Timber or Dr. Lambert's impressive efforts to defuse specific accusations, but rather to counter the terribly researched Slate hackjob. If you have a specific claim of error in the Lancet study you consider unadressed, I am happy to address it directly.

As a postrscript, I do not do research on request. Thank you for your request.

Posted by: FactCheck at January 27, 2005 11:13 AM

Factcheck,

Under 'Missing or Dead', you wrote:

"An attempt was made to get death certificates in some of the cases ... Of the 78 households where certificates were requested, 63 were provided" (out of 988 households - GT)

So... the study had proof of death in 63/988 (~6%) of the cases they used to extrapolate overall Iraqi casualties, and only attempted verification in 78/988 (~8%). While some of the deaths may well have been of the "can you PROVE your husband is dead" variety, others may well have been of the "what happened to the people who used to live in this house?" type, where the interviewees may simply not know if the former residents are dead or fled (fog of war and all that). Neither of us, nor the authors of the study, can really say how many of the anecdotal, undocumented deaths (which constituted 94% of the study's dataset) were of which type.

To the author's credit, it's very difficult to do what they attempted, and documentation in a war zone might be hard to come by to say the least, but I still think my criticism holds.

Posted by: GeneThug at January 27, 2005 11:21 AM

FactCheck - linking to Crooked Timber and a "I hate the JunkScience site cuz it’s run by a right-winger" guy does not prove that the information published on Slate is, as you call it, a ‘hackjob’.

When people comment on a site, their goal is usually to share information, to change readers’ minds. You haven’t done that. You don’t even use your real name.

Sharing facts is not your goal and ‘FactCheck’ is still a misnomer. A more appropriate one, like UnsubstantiatedActivistAllegations might still be available, though.

Posted by: mary at January 27, 2005 11:51 AM

Secondly, are you willing to take Saddam's word, unverified, that he's no threat?

Why would I have to? Weapons inspections and extensive intelligence confirmed before the war even started that even if Saddam had any WMD left, they were few and far between at best -- and the two persons who were best informed on the issue, Hans Blix and Scott Ritter, were quite clear on the point.

We still do not know why Saddam kept up the charade that he had something to hide, but Blix and Ritter were right: he was hiding weakness, not strength.

Iraq was a contained threat. Al Qaeda wasn't and isn't. If you're worried about oppressive and genocidal regimes, take on the Sudan, the Republic of the Congo, or maybe Myanmar. Invading Iraq was bad policy, and trying to do it on the cheap was particularly stupid.

Posted by: Kimmitt at January 27, 2005 12:09 PM

Gene - you seem to be laboring under the assumption that the current residents of the household were required to report on the history of the previous residents of the household. This is not accurate. Again, if you read the study, you will find the following quote - "In 63 of 78 (81%) households where confirmations were attempted, respondents were able to produce the death certificate for the decedent. When households could not produce the death certificate, interviewers felt in all cases that the explanation offered was reasonable eg, the death had been very recent, the certificate was locked away and only the husband who was not home had the key. We think it is unlikely that deaths were falsely recorded."

I find it unlikely that you read the study - given that you insist on using the larger number of deaths rather than the smaller number of requests as the denominator, and that you didn't know that the interviewers asked for proof, and that you still assert that people were asked about physical space occupants rather than family members. Do you remember if your father is dead or alive? CAN YOU PROVE IT?

I find it odd that you think that the right division is 63/988, while they only asked for certificates in 78 of the cases, and in the other 15 of the relevent cases, the explanation for the lack there-of was reasonable. Your objection does not hold. Please, I beg you, read the study already, instead of the debunkings/rebunkings. You will find it to be an impressive piece of scholarship, and it gives the best estimate available of excess deaths.

Mary, you accuse Tim Lambert of being a "I hate the JunkScience site cuz it’s run by a right-winger" kind of guy. I assume you are aware that Dr. Lambert is a respected professor of Computer Science at The University of New South Wales, and has done substantial work on clarifying scientific works in the public space for pleebs like you and me. You accuse him of rampant bias and dishonesty, to which I ask you, yet again - Do you have any evidence that he committed such fraud, or are you making accusations of massive academic dishonesty with nothing but your ideology to guide you?

Mary, the only person not trying to educate and convince the other person here is you - with your shouted down commands that I not link to people you find distateful (because they disagree with you?) or that I'm not providing data (that you like?). It seems to me that I've given a huge amount of data, and that you and your fellow debunkers have been responding with uneducated misnformation. In fact, I think that of the people adding value to the conversation (and I believe Gene is certainly doing so, though I believe he is misinformed and needs to read the study), you rank the lowest, as your sole goal here appears to be to ridicule and demean people you disagree with. At least I'm trying to prove people I find wrong to be wrong, instead of just shouting louder. You could learn a thing or two from me or Gene, if you prefer someone who you think is on your ideological side of some imaginary divide, I think. I would finally note that I have not declared a position on the current conflicts, and your continued assumptions that I am a liberal come only from the fact that I believe studies should be evaluated on their merits rather than what people on my side of the ideological divide see as their benefits. Perhaps that's because I'm an honest moderate, instead of a wingernutjob/moonbat crazy. Perhaps.

My real name is George, Mary. What's yours?

Posted by: FactCheck at January 27, 2005 12:15 PM

FactCheck,

I have read over the study, not thoroughly, but it seems to be, as you contend, professional in nature and technically correct. It is a post facto study of an intervention effect, which is difficult to assess, given possible subject and experimenter bias. Assuming the veracity of the investigators, interviewers and subjects, I can see that it was done meticulously and accurately reported. In fact, it is an admirable effort, given the interviewing environment. A sample of 33 clusters is probably not enough, though, because the underlying phenomenon is not uniformly distributed. It is very skewed, being concentrated in only 1 cluster of their sample. They should have considered dropping that cluster as an outlier, recognizing that a sizeable contribution to the variance is contained in a neglected variable.

My main problem with the study, however, is the statistical arrogance of their final interpretation. The data provide a 95% Confidence Interval of 8,000 to 194,000. This is an absurdly large range. The reason it is so large is that they retained the unusual cluster. They could have reported a much tighter estimate with a much lower mean if they had chosen to do so. In my opinion, using 100,000 as a purported point estimate is unsupported. I could just as well use 10,000. Indeed, they have absolutely no basis for rejecting the original estimate cited of 13,000-15,000. The C.I. is probably not normally distributed, and the bulk of the probability density, in my judgement, is shifted left. A more appropriate point estimate would be the median of that curve. Failing that, the best interpretation of the data is that there is a 97.5% probability that there were more than 8,000 excess deaths, which is certainly a sad enough result. Repeated use of the 100,000 figure can only be justified on polemical grounds.

Posted by: jj at January 27, 2005 12:16 PM

Gene, assuming that you don't want to read the survey, here's the bit about the Household definition and when a death is a death. I'm confused, given this definition, how you could determine that people would be quizzed about people who died while not living in the house being interviewed, or about previous residents. Perhaps you can clear that up for me:

We defined households as a group of people living together and sleeping under the same roof(s). If multiple families were living in the same building, they were regarded as one household unless they had separate entrances onto the street. If the household agreed to be interviewed, the interviewees were asked for the age and sex of every current household member. Respondents were also asked to describe the composition of their household on Jan 1, 2002, and asked about any births, deaths, or visitors who stayed in the household for more than 2 months. Periods of visitation, and individual periods of residence since a birth or before a death, were recorded to the nearest month. Interviewers asked about any discrepancies between the 2002 and 2004 household compositions not accounted for by reported births and deaths. When deaths occurred, the date, cause, and circumstances of violent deaths were recorded. When violent deaths were attributed to a faction in the conflict or to criminal forces, no further investigation into the death was made to respect the privacy of the family and for the safety of the interviewers. The deceased had to be living in the household at the time of death and for more than 2 months before to be considered a household death.

Posted by: FactCheck at January 27, 2005 12:23 PM

I apologize for not addressing your points in my earlier post, JJ, and appreciate the profesionalism in which you present them.

You are, however, incorect in your statement that the outlier cluster, Fallujah, was not dropped from the study. From the studies summary: If we exclude the Falluja data, the risk of death is 1·5-fold (1·1-2·3) higher after the invasion. We estimate that 98000 more deaths than expected (8000-194000) happened after the invasion outside of Falluja and far more if the outlier Falluja cluster is included.

Given that they addressed your very valid concern about the outlier cluster, I will move on to your second point, which is only slightly less valid given your insistance that the wide range is due to the excluded cluster being not excluded.

While the wide confidence interval includes numbers such as 20,000, the most likley result of the study was 98,000 additional deaths. It was the most likley result, and it will always be so. If we start demanding that people report the lower bounds of studies, be prepared for John Lott to write the paper "More Guns, More Crime!"

While cluster sampling is not the best way of doing surveys like this, this is not due to their heavy lower tailed distribution, it's due to their heavy higher tailed distribution (over-estimates more likley than under). The best analogy was Daniel Davies' minefield analogy - a cluser sampling is like throwing stones at an area to determine how covered it is in mines. I'm not going to retype what he wrote, but rather reference it -
http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002858.html

You are, however, right in noting that the most interesting result of the study is that it is neary impossible to say there were not excess Iraqi deaths due to the invasion - that zero is outside of the confidence interval.

Posted by: FactCheck at January 27, 2005 12:47 PM

Sorry, I bobbled a paragraph. Over, under. Here's the correction:

While cluster sampling is not the best way of doing surveys like this, this is not due to their heavy lower tailed distribution, it's due to their heavy higher tailed distribution (under-estimates more likley than over). The best analogy was Daniel Davies' minefield analogy - a cluser sampling is like throwing stones at an area to determine how covered it is in mines. I'm not going to retype what he wrote, but rather reference it -
http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002858.html]

My apologies for any confusion.

Posted by: Factcheck at January 27, 2005 12:49 PM

Factcheck,

Have you even considered the possibility of deliberate bias by the researcher?

Here are some quotes from a POSITIVE article:

"Mr. Roberts insists that his primary motive for rushing the paper to press was not political"

"Mr. Roberts acknowledges that he also hoped to ignite a policy change or public response"

"Robin M. Coupland, a medical adviser on weapons and armed violence in the legal division of the International Committee of the Red Cross, has only one concern: Mr. Roberts's team did not document how many people were wounded.

"In every recorded context where conventional explosive weapons have been used in armed contact," Dr. Coupland says, "there's usually two or more people wounded per person killed. The question that glares out from that article is, Where are all the 200,000 wounded?"

Oh, and BTW the sample size was 33 neighborhoods. Given that in a battle you will get either LOTS of casualties in a neighborhood, or none. The probablility of skewed data points is commensurately high.

Other indications of bias....
1) selection of Fallujah as a data point.
2) assertions as to the death toll by violence in the 15 months preceding the invasion. Now where did those numbers come from?
3) no identification of combatants vs. civilians
4) Total of 21 deaths by violence as the entire sample.

See the whole article here:

http://chronicle.com/free/2005/01/2005012701n.htm

Posted by: AlanC at January 27, 2005 01:08 PM

Alan - do you have any evidence that they committed such fraud, or are you making accusations of massive academic dishonesty with nothing but your ideology to guide you?

I'm getting tired of copy-pasting this. Please read my comments every time someone has accused the researchers of cooking the books. It's getting old, and honestly, it's really only good to determine when people don't care about the study, just debunking things they wish were not true.

The study was not designed to count wounded people, so it didn't count wounded people. That's just a stupid criticizm, no offence to Mr. Copeland, or you.

Since death is still, happily, a relativly rare event in Iraq, cluster sampling will underestimate deaths. I went over that once once before, when I discussed the minefield analogy. The methods for correcting for cluster sampling (widening the confidence interval) are well known, and were used in this case.

1. Fallujah was excluded from the final calculations, as you would know if you read the summary excerpt, helpfully posted above.

2. What assertions of violence 15 mo prior? Please read the study, and show me what you are talking about.

3. The study was not designed to calculate the morality of killing people, just how many people died. Why would their identification as a combatant change the fact that they died, exactly? Anyway, this is addressed in the study - in the final 3 paragraphs of the discussion section. Have you read it?

4. So? There were only 5 deaths due to infectious diseases! Are you debating cluster sampling as a valid statistical method, or are you challenging the sample size, here? If the latter, please recognize that the sample size is taken account of in the confidence interval.

Posted by: FactCheck at January 27, 2005 01:32 PM

FactCheck - I'm not accusing the guy who owns the “I hate the JunkScience site cuz it’s run by a right-winger” of dishonesty, I’m just noting that his authority as a news source isn’t comparable to Slate. Neither is ‘Crooked Timber’. You can link to them if you want, you can link to Carrot Top’s site to prove a point, but that doesn’t make it a reputable or comparable source.

A person who hides behind a fake name, a person who claims that he is never wrong (as you have done on this site), a person who gives no email address can’t claim to be a reputable source. A person who claims that pixels shout can’t claim to be factually accurate.

My only goal was to discourage the waste of anyone's valuable time in a pointless argument. For the factually challenged, ‘discourage’ doesn’t mean ‘forbid’ or 'shout' - it's just a suggestion.

Posted by: mary at January 27, 2005 01:35 PM

Mary, Fred Kaplan's article was wrong in many, many places. Tim and Daniel were fairly through in going over it. I'm happy to adress any individual point you think is unadressed by Daniel and Tim, but you aren't willing to go that way - I responded to your appeal to authority with my appeal to authority. Yay for us. Got any substantive points?

BTW - Daniel Davies, as an Economist is far more authoratative on the subject of statistics than Fred Kaplan, Historian.

Like I said, my name was George. What is yours? You can reach me by email at -> The first letter of my first name, followed by rob22mm@hotmail.com.

I like how you've changed your tune now that I've called you on it - no more shouting for you now, eh? Don't worry, however -> your still at a value-add of zero, perhaps lower. Would you like to engage in substantive discussion, or is the entirety of what you came to say summed up by "Fred Kaplan!" If so, feel free to just post "I demand the last word!" and I promise not to respond to you again.

Posted by: FactCheck at January 27, 2005 01:50 PM

PS: For all that Liberal Media palabrum, you are certainly willing to appeal to it's authority when you agree with it, aren't you?

Posted by: FactCheck at January 27, 2005 01:51 PM

Factcheck,

I'm not accusing him of fraud, but I am skeptical for the reasons given. He is an admitted partisan with an axe to grind that rushed to publication to influence the election.

Now, did he rush with indisputable facts?
No, he rushed with a range of almost 200,000 and split the difference based on 21 actual deaths in 33 neighborhoods.

I may not have all the credentials in the world but I know enough about statistics and how to lie with them to have serious doubts.

As to the 15 months, maybe if you read the article I linked you'd see it. But, for everyone else:

"He discovered that the risk of death was 2.5 times as high in the 18 months after the invasion as it was in the 15 months before it; the risk was still 1.5 times as high if he ignored the Fallujah data."

Now, where did he get the data from 15 months before the invasion that served as his base line, hmmmm? I'm sure that Saddam or Bhagdad Bob would provide those stats to anybody, right?

This is the epitome of junk science, a sample where you ask people in 990 house holds ( more than 8 per house ); come up with 21 deaths (leaving out Fallujah) and extrapolate from that to 100,000 dead. That's BS pure and simple. Maybe someone should go back and try and find those 200,000 wounded. They're probably right next to the WMD.

The odds that Fallujah was selected at random are slim and none. I'm sure that it was included because he knew that it was where heavy fighting had occured (finding what you look for) The fact that it was so skewed prevented him from adding it in cause he would have been laughed out of court.

This stinks to high heaven and you seem to be too patisan to take the clothes-pin off your nose.

Come to think of it, I am accusing him of fraud. Did he cook the numbers, the sample or the methodology?

Posted by: AlanC at January 27, 2005 02:36 PM

I'm glad to see that the era of people with no idea what they are talking about accusing people who do know what they are talking about of fraud continues.

If you believe that he cooked the data, you should tell the Lancet what leads you to believe that. Try not to start your letter with "Because I believe that this is bad, it is wrong."

You write that the study included only 21 deaths. This, of course, is wrong. It is important that you read a study before deciding it is fraudlent. As I have said before, above, the study includes deaths from more causes than violence. While there were 21 non-fallujah deaths from violence, there were 142 deaths counted in the post invasion period.

The thing about the article you linked to is that it's not the report itself. Reading random articles to understand the report is optional. Reading the report itself is required. You have not read the report, but have read the random articles. I find that rather telling. I, of course, read both the report and the article.

The pre-invasion data was determined by the survey they ran. You can see this in the report, up at the top, in the summary section.

I see that you doubt cluster sampling is a valid statistical methodology. You should probably call the CDC, because they've been using bad math to stop all sorts of epidemics.

You accuse them of picking their results to get a specific result. If you had read the paper, you would find that the clusters were chosen via a method that is detailed in the Methods section. Are you accusing them of lying about how they did their research?

I find it telling that the people with the least to add to this discussion (accusing people of fraud, demanding that people not link to pHD economists) are the ones lest likley to have read the study. Have you read the study you accused of fraud, Alan?

Posted by: FactCheck at January 27, 2005 02:50 PM

Factcheck - er George - (although I see now why you selected the name factcheck) - I tried to go directly to the Lancet article but it was unavailable. I wonder if you could address 2 points (I am relying on your expertise here):

1. I did read the article when it first came out and I seem to recall that the interviewers relied on verbal reports from the Iraqis they interviewed to provide the ATTRIBUTION for the death - i.e. WHO was responsible. I also recall during the invasion that the Americans were seemingly accused of every death - recall e.g. that early bombing of the marketplace that might well have been caused by errant Iraqi ordinance but which was blamed on the US? Anecdotal evidence even suggests that well into the war many Iraqis were in denial that fellow Iraqis or Muslims could possibly be responsible for the car bombings and so on and that clearly the Americans must be doing it. So can you clarify your impression of the methodology used whereby the Iraqis themselves were permitted to attribute those deaths to American forces without any independent verification?

2. It seems that this whole issue arose in the context of a discussion about how many deaths would be acceptable vis-a-vis justifying the war. That makes your following statement very interesting:

"The study was not designed to calculate the morality of killing people, just how many people died. Why would their identification as a combatant change the fact that they died, exactly"

I notice in the above thread comments, as well as in a number of articles citing the Lancet article, that there appears to be an assumption that these are civilian deaths cited. You are saying that there was no determination of that fact. Are you aware of any statistics which might separate out Iraqi combatant vs Iraqi civilian casualties? And if a large number of them were combatants, or civilian deaths caused by the insurgents themselves (or by erratic Iraqi ordinance from conventional forces during the invasion) then these relative numbers would be highly relevant in terms of trying to address the question re the morality of the war. If 80% of the casualties were enemy combatants that means something very different than if they were civilians and in the latter case it matters a great deal (in evaluating the morality of the war) whether those civilians were killed by Iraqi insurgents/jihadists vs Americans.

I am not trying to be contrary. I am just relying on your evident appreciation for data to perhaps shed some light on these issues.

Posted by: Caroline at January 27, 2005 04:17 PM

FactCheck,

You're quite correct that my recollection of the paper is hazy - I skimmed it during the initial foofaraw when the paper was first published, & I got the 'reporting the deaths of neighbors/former household tenants' methodological flaw thirdhand - it's a fair criticism.

However, I still think that their verification method is weaker than it could be.

The reason I used the overall number of unverified deaths in the denominator (rather than than the much smaller number of cases where verification is requested) is because the study is, by definition, extrapolative, and very sensitive to ascertainment/sample bias. They only have documented deaths in 6% (out of 8% attempted) of the deaths reported in their study. Hence, I said that 94% of their reported deaths weren't documented because they weren't. Sample bias aside, if they'd attempted to document all of the reported deaths, and gotten that 6/8 = 75% documentation overall, that would certainly strengthen their conclusions, right? Hence, the absence of that documentation is a weakness in the study. It can just as easily be noted that the authors only have proof of ~63 of the ~100,000 estimated deaths reported (out of 78 households where documentation was requested). A report based on 0.063% verified data? I'm not a statistician (I am but a humble molecular geneticist, wrist deep rather than elbow deep in the math), but given the media/political implications, it's not unreasonable to scrutinize such things.

Again, recognizing the difficulty of what Roberts et. al., were trying to do, there may also be a possible accusation of bias among the Iraqi households to over-report deaths for political purposes (first casualty of war and all that). Increasing the documentation would've addressed this criticism (and they certainly seemed to have a fairly good success rate when they asked for it). A legitimate criticism? You're certainly entitled to disagree.

Posted by: GeneThug at January 27, 2005 04:57 PM

Factcheck,

You are obviously a partisan fool. I have read the study and multiple articles. Am I a statician?
No, but I have taken undergrad & graduate level statistics courses. Yeah, 20+ years ago but I still know enough to recognize the crap that you are full of.

Touting the Lancet is your typical argument from authority fallacy and worth exactly 0. I'll leave as an exercize for you to research all their other agenda driven "studies".

You are not worth talking to. Anyone that can spout this drivel..."You write that the study included only 21 deaths. This, of course, is wrong." Is a demogogue and/or a fool. There were only 21, as you admit, relevant deaths in that study outside Fallujah. So what is that s***?

As other people have pointed out to you, cluster sampling is virtually worthles when dealing with a non-homogenous population as is the case here.

You won't listen to anything that doesn't adhere to your own bigotry so no one should waste anymore time on you.

Posted by: AlanC at January 27, 2005 05:17 PM

Didn't see Drydock's answer. He remains an intellectual coward in my eyes for asking a question he's unwilling to answer.

So I've, uh, skipped the BS about the Lancet study being "accurate" or not. I'm pretty sure "lots" of Iraqi civilians have died.

More than I'm happy with.

Less than I think is "worth" the benefit of booting Saddam.

Until FactCheck George, or any Leftist, is willing to put their own number on how many civilian deaths in the last 2 years is worth Iraq having an election, it's silly to pool our ignorance over the exact number; 10 - 20 - 100 000; and how many died over the duration of the "sanctions" (anti-sanction sites were claiming 10 000/ month).

How many is "worth" it is not a factual issue, it's a Value issue. (Oops, maybe only Bush supporters really care about Values?)

But it also gets to the Unreal Perfection critique that the Left has. They want good things, but at no cost. There's No Free Lunch -- even if they try to vote for one.

The Battle of the Bulge from Dec 44 -- January 25, 1945, was a big deal. The US led allies could have had a huge setback, then. Had the US lost that battle, I'd say the firebombing of Dresden on 14-15 Feb. 1945 was MUCH MORE justified. But, after "winning" the Bulge, it was clear (to historians in hindsight) that the allies would win. In checking these dates, much closer together than I "felt" before, TmjUtah's point about what is known, at the time, is far more relevant. To the decision makers, it was not known if the Nazis had more "Bulge" level counter-attack possibilities. (I don't think Vonnegut, in Slaughter House 5, mentions the Bulge.)

I don't see how my reasonable complaint about arguably excessive Allied killings is like Bush=Hitler crap. There is one idea of war that any amount of collateral damage is totally acceptable. I don't hold that idea -- I hold that some collateral damage, if reasonable care is attempted to prevent them, IS totally acceptable. (And the bombing of Japan, especially Hiroshima, is VERY reasonable, to me.)

I "totally accept" Abu Ghraib -- the US military, at times there, acted in a criminal manner and should prosecuted, in a reasonable process. Like Gen Karpinski getting booted, and others getting punished.

But the expectation of some Unreal Perfection, like bozo drydock and Kimmit seem to have, is worse than stupid -- it's the kind of immorality that supports doing nothing in Rwanda but apologize a few years later.

Yet TmjUtah, do you think it IS possible for the good guys to use "too much" force, resulting in "too many" Iraqis killed by the coalition? I do.

And it's not easy to quantify -- but I feel if I don't have a number that's "too many", I can't honestly say any other number greater than 0 is NOT too many. If you don't have the intellectual courage to give YOUR number, that's also OK; I'll still like (most of) your comments (here even more than your own site. Funny, that.)

I will continue to criticize the Left for not being able to state how good it is to have booted Saddam, in numbers; how great it is for Iraq to be getting a democracy. But it's not just a "gift" from the US -- the Iraqis being murdered by the anti-democracy Death Squads are among the future heroes of democratic Iraq.

And ALL of the "violence" deaths in Iraq since the statue drop, are more properly placed as the responsibility of the anti-democracy Death Squads -- and their Sunni supporters who hide them/ fee them/ and enable them to kill. The election will prolly be the tipping point where most folk start lying more to the Death Squads than to the Iraq National Police.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at January 28, 2005 03:20 AM

Caroline-

On your point 1 - of the 73 violent deaths, all but 12 were attributed to coalition forces. Of these twelve, 2 were attributed to anti-coalition forces, two were unknown, seven were criminal murders and one was from the previous regime.
The study was not designed to lay blame on one side or another for the deaths, and is mostly useless for that purpose. Another study would be more useful for determining such - and not a cluster survey, since you would only want to speak with people who have had deaths in their family.

On your point two, the study made one attempt to do so - specifically, of the deaths due to small-arms fire. Only three incidents involved small-arms fire. The study writes: In one of the three cases, the 56-year-old man killed might have been a combatant. In a second case, a 72-year-old man was shot at a checkpoint. In the third, an armed guard was mistaken for a combatant and shot during a skirmish. In the latter two cases, American soldiers apologised to the families of the decedents for the killings, indicating a clear understanding of the adverse consequences of their use of force. The remaining 58 killings (all attributed to US forces by interviewees) were caused by helicopter gunships, rockets, or other forms of aerial weaponry.

Gene - that appears to be a basic criticism of extrapolating from surveys to populations. If you don't believe surveys should be extrapolated - thats fine. At least you accept that the survey was accurate in what it did and the methods it used to extrapolate.

Alan - If I'm a partisan , why am I not calling you a fool? If I'm a fool, why do I know that there were 21 violent deaths, but many, many more non-violent deaths, and that the survey was not designed to be a count of violent deaths, and you do not?

Also, Alan, you used a word I don't think you understand - homogenous. You allege people have told me that cluster sampling is invalid in a heterogenous situation - this, of course, is not true. It would be nice if the world were a perfect place. The world is not. This is the best methodology to use in the current climate. Invalid means that there is no use - this estimate is, in fact, both valid and non-false.

Posted by: FactCheck at January 28, 2005 05:30 AM

FactCheck - you know everything (despite the fact that you still haven't figured out what my name is :-)

Quick question - what was the population of Iraq in Jan 2004?

Posted by: mary at January 28, 2005 07:07 AM

In July of 2004, the CIA estimated the population of Iraq to be 25,374,691.

Posted by: FactCheck at January 28, 2005 07:10 AM

Okay. According to these FBI figures, Iraq had rates of murder and non-negligent manslaughter of 14 - 20/100,000 population per year.

You're obviously more numerate than I am, so - if the population of Iraq was 25,374,691, what would you estimate the death rate for the year 2004 to be?

Posted by: mary at January 28, 2005 08:56 AM

I can't estimate a death rate based on a murder figure. Luckily, the survey in question did estimate a crude mortality rate -> "The crude mortality rate was 5·0 per 1000 people per year (95% CI 3·7-6·3; design effect of cluster survey=0·81)."

If you are about to compare crude mortality rates between Iraq and the US, please don't.
http://www.usuhs.mil/2005/Epid_Notes_2.htm - look specifically at the bit about "Comparing Mortality in Different Populations"

Posted by: FactCheck at January 28, 2005 09:08 AM

Factcheck,

"At least you accept that the survey was accurate in what it did and the methods it used to extrapolate."

I did no such thing. I said the survey was difficult, not accurate, I can't speak to cluster analysis as a methodology ("I am not a statistician"), and I directly criticized the extrapolation of unverified data as a weakness of the study. I tried to do so as clearly as possible. Unless you view the phrase 'A report based on 0.063% verified data' as a sign of scientific approval, I'm unclear where you might be getting this from, but please don't put words in my mouth.

Here's why I think this is important: whatever particular policy goals the Left may have in years to come - interventionist/isolationist, environmental, redistributionist, purely oppositional contrarian, whatever, they're going to need to have credibility, a credibility I see sorely lacking these days. If they're right, the facts should back them up, rather than massaging the data to suit their purposes. Perhaps it's just the usual story: the party in power seems arrogant, the party out of power seems insane, but crying wolf with dubious supportive data and wishful/catastrophist thinking (the Population Bomb, the millions of dead civilians predicted in Afghanistan, Frankencarrots, global warming/cooling/somethinging etc. etc.), makes it possible for the results of studies like Roberts to be dismissed reflexively by people, based on the assumption that it's just yet more partisan disinfotainment. I'm just as guilty of this as the next person, and I appreciate you showing up to demand that people know what they're talking about - it's useful to be reminded of one's limits. Still, advocacy science damages the credibility of both advocacy and science, unless it's thorough, persuasive and verifiable. To be as clear as possible, I'm unconvinced that the study meets this criteria.

I realize I may be simply raising the bar, perhaps unrealistically high (a common enough accusation against Leftists), but as the old lab saying goes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and (again, begging the math) extrapolating 63 death certificates into 100,000 dead civilians simply raises more questions than answers for me. The author was stated in comments above as saying he wanted to influence policy, which suggests to me that he wanted to use his authority as a researcher to shape public perception of the war in Iraq. Fair enough. Scientists are people too (mostly). But if the goal here was to 'speak truth to power', it better damn well be the truth that's spoken.

Posted by: GeneThug at January 28, 2005 12:16 PM

Gene, so you believe Surveys have no value? You believe that statistical sampling methods are bubkis? It's all so much clearer now.

You are an anti-science kinda guy. That's ok, I guess, but not very intelligent of you. Perhaps you should reconsider your inability to accept basic maths.

Posted by: FactCheck at January 28, 2005 12:37 PM

PS: The reason I said I assumed that you had changed your tune on the survey is that you had realized that you had made up the only objection you had at first out of whole cloth. I guess when that objection wasn't valid anymore, rather than accept the truth, you tried to change the objection. Dishonest, I think, is what I'd call it.

Posted by: FactCheck at January 28, 2005 12:40 PM

FactCheck,

> "Surveys have no value? You believe that statistical sampling methods are bubkis?"

You're still putting words in my mouth. I'm not a straw man, FC.

> "You are an anti-science kinda guy."

And you are a troll.

Preferring documentation over heresay, dispassionate data over activist handwaving, independent verification over partisan media impact isn't anti-science, it IS science. It's unfortunate that you can't tell the difference.

Posted by: GeneThug at January 28, 2005 01:50 PM

How many deaths daily to make that number: 100000?

How many deaths in Iraq and elsewhere if Saddam would stay in power?

What will be the chances of a futur conflict with Saddam`s Iraq?

Some accountability can only be made after. Looking for Saddam story he was unlikely to care much for people.If in the futur Iraq will be some accountability there will be less earlier deaths by disease, bad nutrition, lack medical etc.

When Saddam would die what would have happen? Civil war? Baath Party would be able to find a sucessor? Saddam sons nutcases in power?

There was a very interesting piece in int. Herald Tribune maybe year ago: In one side survivors of Allied bombardment in Caen(i hope i am remembering right , it was one of the cities near the Normandy coast) 10000 civilians died. The survivors said it was justified, the teenagers of today didnt agreed...

And i dont forget that the Lancet "study" came 1-2 weeks before US election...neverthless i am more worried that the Aun Japanese cult without millions and a big number of scientists was able to spread Sarin...

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Posted by: pet dogs at January 29, 2005 07:09 PM

extrapolating 63 death certificates into 100,000 dead civilians simply raises more questions than answers for me.

And yet extrapolating the preferences of less than 1,000 individuals into the voting patterns of 100 million is

I still haven't seen a critique of the Lancet survey that passes muster as a statistical critique, rather than invoking ad hominems and irrelevant tangents.

(Remember, Fred Kaplan is not trained in statistics, nor does he claim to be, in spite of Mary's attempts to bestow upon him some kind of authority. Daniel Davies is, as his Crooked Timber posts make rather clear. Fred Kaplan is also a columnist, not a 'news source'. On a like-for-like comparison, Davies and his specific statistical points wins pretty clearly.)

So, are there any capable statisticians in the house? Is Mary capable of assessing authority based upon someone's understanding of basic statistical methods and concepts such as confidence intervals, rather than utter irrelevancies?

Because the only 'regression' I see in this thread is in the quality of argument from those offering lame, easily- and already-refuted jabs at the Lancet study.

Posted by: a.r. at January 30, 2005 12:19 AM

Tom Grey -

"Yet TmjUtah, do you think it IS possible for the good guys to use "too much" force, resulting in "too many" Iraqis killed by the coalition? I do."

Of course I think there is such an animal as "too much force". We haven't approached it in Iraq. Matter of fact, any other nation on the planet, facing the challenges we have faced so far, would have had no recourse but scorched earth. Our ability to surveil, and respond to the results almost instantly, has severely degraded the terrorists of their greatest asset - the ability to fade away.

Funny how media never asks for, nor reports, how many arrests or captures are made on any given day, which is data available on DoD's daily briefings...

We send boots to locate the enemy when the risk of harming innocents is too high to simply use a JDAM or a Hellfire. We have paid a price, too. More than high enough, in my opinion, if there did exist some balance sheet for the losses to the Iraqi population.

The killing stops when the war is over. We are in the process of making that happen.

As far as Slaughterhouse Five goes if I remember correctly the Battle of the Bulge is pivotal not as an episode but rather as the event by which the stage is set for his experiences in Dresden. It's been about twentyfive years since I read the book, though - does anyone else have a fresher recollection?

I don't condemn the U.S. Military for Abu Graiehb. I condemn the failures of one unit in a huge effort, and note that the process was self correcting when it became the latest indictment of Bush. When the Islamists publicize their courts martial for abusive conduct of prisoners, I might shed a tear. I agree that the failures in leadership have not been adequately addressed as of this time.

Hope you get this; a pleasure to disagree, of course.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 30, 2005 07:31 PM

BBC has an estimate of 3274 civilians killed during the second half of 2004. This ramps up to about 10,000 during the Lancet period, not 100,000. Violence is supposedly increasing, so it's hard to argue that the original estimates of 13-15,000 are low.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/4217413.stm

Posted by: jj at January 30, 2005 08:05 PM

I do have a number of statistical objections to the Lancet study related to the study design, sampling procedure, etc. I should have got on this sooner, but life intrudes. I need to thank FactCheck for pointing out my earlier misinterpretation of the handling of Falluja, but it actually does raise more questions. I'll try to collect my thoughts for posting tomorrow if anyone is still interested. This thread is getting pretty old.

Posted by: jj at January 30, 2005 08:14 PM

I'm still here. When the facts change, my opinions do, but when the facts change, it appears, jj, that your argument does. I wonder which is the more valid method of inquiry.

Posted by: FactCheck at January 31, 2005 05:21 AM

Fact Check:

I debated the Lancet study over at Deltoid for about 2 weeks, on 3 very lengthy threads in late November/early December. I’m very late to the party here, having picked up this debate (and another one at Crooked Timber) from links at Deltoid. Not being a science guy, I don’t check Deltoid daily, hence I missed the opportunity to get in the middle of the scrum here or at Crooked Timber. I'm definitely too late to dive in at Crooked Timber, but you still seem to be active in this thread, hence my comment addressed to you.

In any event, I wanted to address some of the points you’ve made concerning the validity of the Lancet results. Having no statistical background, I was taken to school at Deltoid over my initial perception that the methodology of the study was flawed. I now realize that (at least in my opinion) the methodology employed was completely consistent with accepted practices.

However, as the debate at Deltoid evolved, it became apparent to me that there were serious inconsistencies between the study data and the stated conclusions of the study authors.

The predominant conclusion from the authors (and the one around which most of the controversy has swirled) is this statement from the study itself:

“Interpretation: Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths.”
The authors are on record (both in the study and subsequent media interviews) as unequivocally qualifying that their 100,000 excess deaths estimate is completely independent of the Falluja cluster data.(The authors specifically said in interviews they threw out the Falluja data when caculating the 100,000 excess death estimate).

The problem with their assertion I quote above arises when we look at the raw data from the 32 non-Falluja clusters. We find that 43 excess deaths occurred when comparing the pre-invasion period to the post-invasion period. Not only are bombing deaths not the number one cause of death, they aren’t even the number one cause of violent death (criminal homicide is, at 7). Bombing deaths outside of Falluja accounted for only 14 % of the excess deaths outside of Falluja.

We know this because Les Roberts confirmed that only 6 deaths from bombing occurred outside of Falluja, and all 12 of the deaths not directly attributed to coalition forces also occurred outside of Falluja. As a result, we know that twice as many violent deaths were not at the hands of the coalition, than occurred as a result of coalition bombing, for purposes of the 100,000 estimate.

The study authors claim that approximately 60,000 of the excess deaths extrapolated were violent, with at least 30,000 of these being caused by coalition bombing. However, extrapolating from the study’s own data shows that only 17,000 deaths result from bombing. This is a dramatic discrepancy for the cause of death that is purported to be the primary cause of death.

As I also argued at Deltoid, the total death estimate is a sum of the various subset causes of death. Certain of these subsets are absolutely crucial to the overall 100,000 estimate, because of their high frequency of occurrence.

Simply put, the integrity and accuracy of the 100,000 estimate is dependent to some extent on the integrity and accuracy of the most important subset figures.

The problem, as I see it, is these subset numbers are far too small to be reliable for extrapolation purposes nation wide.
To illustrate this, we have a 30,000 bombing death estimate (erroneous, as I see it, and explain above), based on 3 bombs which killed 6 people. As Daniel Davies, one of the more prominent defenders of the study acknowledged, it is quite possible that some bombing deaths were actually the result of insurgent mortars that the civilian survivors mistakenly believed were actually coalition ordnance. Now, suppose even one of these bombs was actually from an insurgent mortar, not a coalition airstrike. The impact on the extrapolated number is huge.

To give you another example, that well known cause of violent death known as “ unknown causes” provided 2 violent deaths, making it only 1/3 the size of the number of bombing deaths, which is supposed to be the number one cause of death.

As another example, 37% of the excess deaths that make up the 100,000 ex-Falluja estimate were heart attacks and deaths by misadventure (civilian accidents). The heart attack number in particular seems prone to dramatic shifting if a repeat study were performed (no heart attack deaths among children and men before regime change, but 7 after).

As I see it, the 100,000 estimate has been widely held up by anti-war activists as an accurate number. Given the volatility created by the tiny numbers among the key subsets, the question we have to ask ourselves is, would the 100,000 estimate hold up as accurate, if the study was repeated several times using identical methodology and sample size? I’m confident we would see dramatic variance from the original study, both higher than and lower than 100,000. Is this study methodology capable of giving us a 300,000 death estimate WITHOUT FALLUJA, if repeated? Absolutely. The question becomes, how do you continue to hold up the 100,000 original survey estimate as accurate, given that an identical study produced such an incredibly higher number (and a number that is obvioulsy wrong in the extreme).

That’s why I view the study results with much skepticism.

The other main issue I take with the study is the fact that we are measuring excess deaths, not violent deaths, and the intent is to arrive at the highest possible figure, in order to provide the best possible case for discrediting regime change. This is political and ideological motivation at work. I don’t accuse the authors of dishonesty (anymore, I did once, and I was wrong on this) concerning their methodology. However, I do find their protestations about bias and ideological motivation to ring very hollow.

To illustrate this further, it is my belief that no one from the anti-war side would be particularly interested in a Lancet style study if the Iraqi people were engaged in a civil war of their own making to attempt an overthrow of Saddam. If a death study of some kind were undertaken, the authors wouldn’t likely be trying to lump heart attack and accident victims in as a means to maximize the death figures in order to discredit the Iraqi patriots overthrowing a genocidal tyrant.

Herein lies the heart of the anti-war hard Left; it isn’t the overthrow of Saddam that it objects to, it is who brought it about. The fact that the death toll would be many times higher if the Iraqi people had been forced to do this alone (and may well have ended in failure) is completely ignored.

As a comparison, and to further prove my point, consider the Kosovo intervention. The hard Left uniformly opposed Kosovo, just as they did Iraq. A primary argument after intervention in Kosovo was the fact that the dead Kosovars were found to be several thousand in number, not several tens of thousands, as was cited by those making the case for war. Imagine then,if the proponents for war had said afterward, “ well, yes far fewer died than we thought from Serbian bullets and bombs, but what about the fact that at least as many died from an increase in heart attacks, lack of access to health care, accidents, collapse of infrastructure, etc?” I think you’ll agree, the cries of “ bullshit” from the Left would have been deafening.

It seems that how we count deaths isn’t consistent, but instead depends on which side of the argument we’re trying to use to discredit the Americans.

Posted by: Mike at January 31, 2005 05:13 PM

Mike - I could go over everything you just wrote, but if I merely commented that Cluster Sampling isn't linear extrapolation, and left it at that, would you understand why a 100% death rate in population A and a 1% death rate in population B means a 1% death rate in the sample if population A represents one guy and population B represents everyone else?

Probably not, but that's the thread of error that runs through your post above. Cluster sampling samples people who represent populations of different sizes. Each death is not equally weighted.

More errors - you forgot to exclude pre-invasion Fallujah deaths from your calculation. I don't know pre-invasion Fallujah deaths, but I know the study authors did, and excluded them.

I never saw a claim about 60,000 excess deaths being violent. Could you source that?

I never saw a claim of 30,000 excess deaths being bombing related. Could you source that?

Your extrapolation is in error, based on the cluster/linear error, detailed above.

Cluster sampling does not estimate subset causes and sum them. It estimates total death, which is what the authors estimated. It could also estimate death due to X, but that calculation is not repeated for each X to get to total. As such, your statement about subset sums is not accurate.

Deaths due to mortars and deaths due to bombs would both contribute to the total excess death numbers the same way, and thus, if some of the bomb deaths were mortar deaths, this would not change the estimate at all.

When commneting on heart attack/stroke, please realize that the elderly person category includes both men and women over 59, and includes the vast majority of all pre-invasion heart attacks/strokes. It is rare to find a heart attack/stroke in a person under 59, in the absence of environmental stress, like say, dehydration.

I will not be drawn into a debate about morality except to offer you a chance to join a very very small and select group, that of critics of the Lancet study who were big enough to admit that they stuffed up their criticism. Twice.

Posted by: FactCheck at February 1, 2005 07:06 AM

FactCheck:

Here is the source for the 60,000 violent death count included in the 100,000 estimate.

Garfield interview

Richard Garfield, as you will recall, is one of the study authors. This 60,000 figure was agreed upon and accepted by those arguing the study at Deltoid (Tim Lambert included) as the figure the authors were using for excess violent deaths.

Of course, the number also makes sense because the key assertion from the study itself (the one I quoted in my original post)claims that a majority (ie in excess of 50,000) of the deaths were from violence. Garfield just spells it out as 57,600.

It also stands to reason that if the authors say that most of the violent deaths were caused by coalition bombings, then we have to be looking at 30,000 bombing deaths or more.

Sorry, you are in error over the quesion of pre-invasion Falluja deaths. There was only 1 death in Falluja during the pre-invasion period, and no non-violent deaths in Falluja in the post-invasion phase. I subtracted this lone death from the excess death toll post-invasion for the non-Falluja clusters' raw number of excess deaths.

I understand how cluster sampling works (now), and that the authors assigned cause-specific death extrapolations based on what they perceived to be the varying risks of death from cause to cause.

The problem with such a method (and your argument) is the fact that there were no grounds for the authors to extrapolate various causes of violent death at higher percentages than others, because the pre-invasion data portrays Iraq as almost completely violent. We only have 1 violent death in the pre-invasion survey, and we don't know what category it falls into (criminal homicide, Saddam regime agents doing the killing, or unknown cause).

On the other hand, we have 21 violent deaths recorded post-invasion. How do you weight bombing deaths more heavily than criminal homicides, for purposes of extrapolation, if your pre-invasion survey registered zeros for both?

FactCheck, I asked several times for explanations for this at Deltoid, as well as the obvious discrepancies over the bombing death extrapolations. No one could explain it away.

I'm not claiming that cluster samples are the result of sums of subsets. My point was that each subset in a study of this nature has varying degrees of importance to the outcome, based on the frequency of their occurrence. The example I used concerning the 6 bombing deaths ex-Falluja is a prime example. Because the number is small, it is volatile. There simply is no way around this. As I pointed out in my previous post, an insurgent mortar being responsible for 2 of these 6 deaths, in effect a single bomb, wipes 33% of the bombing figure used for extrapolation away.

Lets look at this from another perspective, the over-estimate one. Another problem I have with the survey conclusions, as they relate to bombing deaths, is the fact that none of the clusters outside Falluja revealed the type of bombing consistent with the mass, indiscriminate bombing needed to achieve a 30,000 death toll ex-Falluja. We had 3 isolated bombs killing 6 people.

If defenders of the study are correct when claiming that there is evidence of widespread indiscriminate bombings of civilian neighbourhoods (the defence necessary to validate a 30,000 bombing toll), then there must be neighbourhoods out there with 15, 20, even more killed from a single bombing strike that obliterated many homes. This is, after all, a cluster study, sampling homes that are clumped together.

Say a subsequent study, using identical methodology, found 2 such neighbourhoods ex-Falluja. One had 10 killed, the other 15, all from bombing. If the authors were willing to extrapolate a death toll of 30,000 from bombing alone, from only 6 deaths, how high would they go for a total extrapolated from 25? Would this result in an extrapolated death toll they would be willing to defend? I don't think so.

Could a subsequent identical study record data revealing no deaths from bombing ex-Falluja? If the lancet study recorded only 6, of course this is possible. How do you decide which study is more accurate, if they employed identical methodology and sample size?

There is no escaping the problem that arises from the volatility from study to study of the small subset numbers. Inescapably, this study is a snapshot. In and of itself, it cannot be used to defend a hard and fast excess death toll of 100,000.

While I realize that this particular study's confidence interval implies that 100,000 (or 98,000) is the most likely true value, the true value could be 40,000, or it could be 140,000. The fact that these numbers are less likely than the 98,000 figure isn't a basis for accepting the 98,000 figure. There IS a true value, and the Lancet estimate should not be passed off as the true value, but that is what we are seeing all too often, even from learned defenders of the study, because they really like the propaganda value of the number. They know better, but can't help themselves.

Cluster sampling seems much more suited to estimating causes of death from natural causes than from aerial bombing, which saw vast areas of Iraq not bombed, or bombed sporadically and in highly targeted, individual ordnance strikes. Perhaps that's why a research team is currently engaged in an actual count of dead from the Bosnian civil war, to ensure the most accurate figure. Of course, in very non-Lancet fashion, they've made it clear they're only counting deaths from hostile fire and acts.

Your explanation concerning insurgent mortars versus coalition airstrikes may be valid concerning the overall excess death raw data (a death is a death, no matter how it is caused), but it does have a huge effect on the credibility of the study, because the subset totals have to be plausible.

For example, the study recorded two violent deaths as insurgent caused. If 2 of the bombing deaths were the result of an insurgent mortar shell, now you've got 4 dead from bombing, 4 dead from insurgents. Does this accurately reflect what we know about the situation on the ground? Whether it does or not is secondary to the devastating effect it has on the authors' concluson that bombing deaths caused by the coalition were the number one cause of excess death.

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make concerning heart attacks. Deaths pre-invasion ve post-invasion for the elderly from heart attack stayed relatively consistent (8 versus 10). As I said in my original post, we're dealing with small numbers here. If we're to believe that the increase in heart attacks from zero to 7 among adult males and children is perfectly logical for purposes of extrapolation, how do we explain the fact that women heart attacks decreased from 3 to 1 AFTER invasion?

Forgive me for passing on your offer concerning my " stuffed up criticism." I think you've got some work on your hands to spin the numbers I've now clarified for you.

Posted by: Mike at February 1, 2005 11:58 AM

Sorry,

paragraph 6 should read " ... portrays Iraq as almost completely NON-violent," not "violent."

Posted by: Mike at February 1, 2005 12:01 PM

You write
"I understand how cluster sampling works (now), and that the authors assigned cause-specific death extrapolations based on what they perceived to be the varying risks of death from cause to cause."

Clearly, you do not understand in the least. The authors assigned POPULATION SPECIFIC death extrapolations on what they knew to be the POPULATIONS of the areas they surveyed via cluster. This is an eggregious misunderstanding on your part, and it completly explains why you still don't get it. If you continue to have issues after you completly grasp this concept, feel free to reask them, but all of your objections now are dismissed via this massive misunderstanding on your part.

When you asked for clarifications at Deltoid, no one could understand what your problem was. Now I do. There's your explanation - the death rates are determined in the cluster, and that cluster is extrapolated over the population. The researchers do not impose death rates by fiat at any point (with an important caveat that they did, in fact, do so for infant mortality due to recall effects. Dispute that if you want, but it's adequately covered elsewhere. Also, it adjusts the figure down.)

Accuse me of spinning again, and I'll stop educating you.

Posted by: FactCheck at February 1, 2005 12:36 PM

PS: That the decrease in heart attacks in middle-aged females is statistically insignificant in no way makes the total amount of death statistically insignificant.

Posted by: FactCheck at February 1, 2005 12:51 PM

Fact Check:

Thanks for providing me with my daily minimum dose of condescension.

I really liked the " stop educating " me line. Feel free, especially your " educating " me on the supposed exclusion of the Falluja pre-invasion "deaths." Sure got that wrong, didn't you?

Seems I'm the one educating you, in relation to the 30,000 and 60,000 figures. Not only did you acknowledge being unaware of them, it appears you don't like what they do to your argument one bit.

You couldn't be more incorrect when you state that no one at Deltoid could understand the point I was making concerning the extrapolated numbers:

Here's a comment from Daniel Davies to me in the December 15th 2004 Lancet post at Deltoid, responding to the same argument I put to you:

"I think you have a point about the extrapolated numbers and the causes; I would say that this is an intrinsic problem of the technique used rather than a mistake made by the survey authors, but I'd agree that the numbers are not really worth much. This is why I suggested that the correct presentation of the figures would be to say that the evidence suggests the invasion lowered the death rate in the Kurdish North, increased it by a factor of 1.5x (CI 1.1-2.9) in the bulk of Iraq, and caused a very significant number of deaths in a small number of high-violence areas. This avoids the headline number, brings the Fallujah information back in and avoids the attribution problems."

I made it clear that I don't have a statistical background in my first post. While you seem to be trying to take advantage of that by throwing up alot of bluster, my lack of said statistical knowledge does not prevent me from seeing through your antics.

Here's a quote from the paper, concerning their methodology:

" The numbers of excess deaths (attributable rates) were estimated by the same method, using linear rather than log-linear regression. Because the numbers of deaths from specific causes were generally very small, EpiInfo (version 3.2.2, April 14, 2004) was used to estimate the increased risk of cause-specific mortality without regard to the design effect associated with the cluster data."

Clearly, the authors were assigning varying cause-specific death rates for extrapolation purposes for the 100,000 figure. How can you reject that? Now (emphasis on "now") that you know there were only 6 bombing deaths outside of Falluja, how can you argue that an estimate by the authors of 30,000 bombing deaths has to be arrived at by giving the bombing deaths more weight for extrapolation purposes than other causes of death?

You've made no attempt to address my primary concern; On what basis are the authors attributing a greater frequency for bombing deaths versus other causes of violent death, when we're working from a pre-invasion rate of violent death that is as close to zero as you can get, without it being zero? Under such circumstances, ALL causes of violent death are increasing in a linearly equal proportion, whether they be insurgent killings, criminal homicides, coalition bombings, coalition shootings, etc.

I'm not arguing with your statement that the authors assigned population specific death extrapolations. That doesn't account for the discrepancy in the bombing death figures from a linear extrapolation (17,000), as compared to the 30,000 estimate from the authors.

Each of the clusters is representative of 730,000 people, or 3% of the population of Iraq. One of the clusters suffering bombing deaths outside of Falluja had 1 such death, with the others recording 2 and 3 respectively. How can you extrapolate with any accuracy 1 death from bombing as a subset for a cluster-specific death rate?

By the way, I did enjoy the escape hatch you attempted to create for yourself:

"..... all of your objections now are dismissed via this massive misunderstanding on your part."

Nice. Arrogant, but nice........

Posted by: Mike at February 1, 2005 04:00 PM

By the way, I forgot to mention your avoidance of the question of volatilty among the key subsets of violent death from study to study. No statistical degrees necessary to understand that concept, just a little common sense.

Posted by: Mike at February 1, 2005 04:05 PM

Daniel Davies just came up with a perfect way to deal with arguments from nitpickery like the ones you're presenting (You didn't know this! You asked me to source this! Explain THIS! DEVISTATING!)

If there was not a very material rise in the death rate in Iraq due to the war, how likely would it be that you would get a sample of 7000 Iraqis which reported such a large rise in the death rate?

Posted by: FactCheck at February 1, 2005 07:41 PM

Fact Check:

If my arguments were "nitpickery," then you wouldn't have needed much time or energy to post a rebuttal for them, would you?

But you didn't. Look, you're not fooling me or anyone else who might be reading this.

Let's get one thing out of the way right now. I don't dispute that there has been a " material rise " in the death rate in Iraq. The question becomes how much of a material rise has there been, and does the Lancet study, in and of itself, provide us with the answer?

If you read what I've posted at Deltoid in the past, you'll see that I agree there has been a material rise in the death rate (I don't think we needed the Lancet study to establish that, but that's another topic for discussion).

My posts to you have not made any claim to the contrary, which causes me to wonder why you would bring it up now. Misdirection attempt, perhaps?

I have listed some valid concerns about the conclusions derived from the data, and the manner in which these conclusions have been used and interpreted by those who opposed regime change.

Some of these concerns are shared by learned defenders of the study, such as Davies. The quote I provided from Deltoid involving Davies and I illustrates that. Your refusal to confront and respond to it illustrates something else, however in the interests of diplomacy, I'll leave it at that.

Here's another quote from Davies. It illustrates again a criticism of the study that you decided to evade and obsfucate. This deals with the volatility of the extremely small numbers of the violent death subsets.

Here's an excerpt from the Lancet debate at Crooked Timber, which I see you briefly participated in. The speakers are identified in parentheses:

(Heiko Geihauser's comment):

"Or in other words, the sample is far too small for the purpose of divining civilian casualties of coalition bombings and small arms fire with any accuracy."

Daniel Davies response:

"Correct; the sample ex-Falluja does not contain enough examples of each kind of death to be confident about the breakdown."

Davies goes on to say that this doesn't affect the aggregate death figure.

On the question of the validity of quoting the 100,000 number as gospel, based on a one-off study, here is a quote from Tim Lambert, at Deltoid:

This is from Tim Lambert's post, titled
"La la la I can’t hear you," from December 15th:

"The biggest limitation of the Lancet study is the small sample size. We can be reasonably confident that deaths have increased in Iraq since the invasion, but the 100,000 estimate is a very rough one. The sample from Falluja found an alarming number of deaths from air strikes, but since it was only one sample it is hard to guess how many others have died in similar ways. Fortunately, it is easy to address both these limitations. For the cost of running the Iraq war for about two minutes it would be possible to do a survey with four times the sample size and which oversampled in violent areas."

Let's save ourselves any further bother here FactCheck. As I said earlier, your arrogant dismissals of my arguments aren't fooling anyone. In fact, they betray your reluctance to address them.

If you'd rather not honestly debate what I've posted, then just fade away.

Posted by: Mike at February 2, 2005 05:06 PM

If you agree that the study shows a material increase in deaths in Iraq and that the 100,000 number is the most likley result from the study, then there is no disagreement here. I do not intend to debate statements made outside of the context of the study.

Posted by: FactCheck at February 3, 2005 04:49 AM

I do not intend to debate statements made outside of the context of the study.

There's nothing inconsistent with the study as published and what one of its lead authors, Richard Garfield, says at the link Mike provided above. All Garfield does is add the detail that violence was the cause in 57,600 of their estimated excess deaths (this wasn't an earth-shattering revelation, either, as others had already worked out that it must be around 60,000).

So now we know the number on which the study's authors based their claim that "most" excess deaths were due to violence. What's wrong with knowing that, and more particularly, why don't you want to discuss it?

Posted by: JoT at February 3, 2005 03:35 PM

JoT:

I think it's readily apparent why he doesn't want to discuss it;

1, He's a fanatic, and like most fanatics, he's incapable of admitting when he's wrong.

2, " FactCheck " has just been fact checked, and he's finding the experience very painful.

By the way FactCheck, I thoroughly enjoyed your hypocrisy when you made this remark:

"I do not intend to debate statements made outside of the context of the study."

Quite interesting, considering you were regularly citing statements from Lambert and Davies earlier in this thread.

Interesting, but far from surprising.

Posted by: Mike at February 3, 2005 05:54 PM

Davies and Lambert were commenting on the study, not figures outside of the study. I do not know if those figures, individually, are statistically significant, and so I do not intend to defend them. The central conclusion of the study, which remains unchallenged, stands.

I don't want to discuss the 57,600 figure because I do not know if the number 0 is within the confidence interval thereof. I expect it is.

Posted by: FactCheck at February 4, 2005 06:47 AM

Sorry, FactCheck, you're stonewalling again.

Davies' response to me from Deltoid, as well as his Crooked Timber exchange with Gerhauser, dealt with the extrapolated violent death subsets. Therefore, he has in fact commented on what you claim are " figures outside the study."

Secondly, your contention that the 30,000 and 60,000 figures are " outside the study " is simply false.

When the authors state IN THE STUDY ITSELF that violent deaths constituted the majority of the 100,000 estimate, they're providing a figure of at least 50,000 + 1 for violent deaths. When they state (again IN THE STUDY ITSELF) that coalition bombing constituted most of the violent deaths, they're providing a figure of at least 25,000 + 1.

There is no weasel room for you on this. Garfield simply firms up the numbers in the interview.

Fact Check, you remind me of a guy at Deltoid who tried to make the same argument as you, concerning the refusal to accept the 30,000/60,000 figures. Eventually, he came out with the outlandish statement that he was defending the integrity of the study itself, against.......... wait for it....... Garfield himself! That was his last post on the matter, once he realized how foolish a stand this was.

According to you, FactCheck, " the central conclusion of the study," is what, precisely? If it is that there has been a material rise in the rate of death post-invasion, I'm in agreement. If you believe it is that at least 100,000 excess deaths have occurred since regime change, then I disagree completely that this " remains unchallenged," because that is simply not the case.

Your rationale for not wanting to discuss the 57,600 figure is a complete cop-out, not to mention the second reason you've given in the same post.

Which is it? That the number is supposedly outside the study itself, or the confidence interval?

Actually, don't bother clarifying. Both excuses are bogus, so it doesn't matter.

Posted by: Mike at February 4, 2005 04:05 PM

Fine, you insist I defend the numbers? I'll go ahead and do so, against my better judgement.

Per month rates Pre/Post invasion/Difference

Total 3.13 5.06 1.93
Accident 0.27 0.73 0.46
Heart 0.75 1.01 0.26
Other Chron 0.75 0.62 -0.13
Infect 0.07 0.28 0.21
Neonat 0.41 0.56 0.15
Other 0.82 0.67 -0.14
Violent 0.07 1.18 1.11

The increase in Violent death was 1.11 per month, which is 57.6% of the total increase in deaths (1.92). Cluster effects may adjust those figures slightly.

I admit to being slightly confused by the bombing stats, and will have to do more work. Did you check the clustering correction? Do we know that that one statement in the introduction is fully explanatory? Bombing was the VAST majority of coalition attributed deaths:

Violence 0.07 1.18 1.11
Coalition Non-Bombing 0 0.17 0.18
Coalition Bombing 0 0.34 0.34
Non-Coalition 0.07 0.67 0.61

Perhaps we should ask the author of the study to clarify the bombing extrapolation. Since you've already had an email dialogue with him, why don't you do it?

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acheter vin
acheter vin
acheter vin
acheter vin
acheter vin
voyage
voyage
voyage
voyance
voyance
voyance
créer blog
créer blog
créer blog
sexe amateur
sexe amateur
sexe amateur
sexe amateur
sexe amateur
sexe amateur
sexe amateur
annonces voiture
annonces voiture
annonces voiture
annonces voiture
annonces voiture
annonces emploi
annonces emploi
annonces emploi
annonces emploi
annonces emploi
petites annonces
petites annonces
petites annonces
petites annonces
sexe amateur
sexe amateur
sexe amateur
produit high tech
produit high tech
produit high tech
produit high tech
produit high tech
produit high tech
annonce vacances
annonce vacances
annonce vacances
annonce vacances
annonce vacances
video asiatique
video asiatique
video asiatique
video asiatique
video asiatique
video asiatique
video asiatique
changement
banque en ligne
banque en ligne
banque en ligne
banque en ligne
banque en ligne
banque en ligne
banque en ligne
banque en ligne
video beurette
video beurette
video beurette
video beurette
video beurette
video beurette
video beurette
video beurette
video black
video black
video black
video black
video black
video black
video black
video black
video blonde
video blonde
video blonde
video blonde
video blonde
video blonde
video blonde
video blonde
video blonde
video blonde
video bondage
video bondage
video bondage
video bondage
video bondage
video bondage
video bondage
video bondage
video bondage
video bondage
sex shop
sex shop
sex shop
sex shop
sex shop
sex shop
sex shop
sex shop
sex shop
sex shop
video brune
video brune
video brune
video brune
video brune
video brune
video brune
video brune
video brune
cartouches encre
cartouches encre
cartouches encre
cartouches encre
cartouches encre
cartouches encre
cartouches encre
credit
credit
credit
credit
credit
credit
credit
video gay
video gay
video gay
video gay
video gay
video gay
video gay
video gros seins
video gros seins
video gros seins
video gros seins
video gros seins
video gros seins
video gros seins
video gros seins
video gros seins
video gros seins
video hentai
video hentai
video hentai
video hentai
video hentai
video hentai
video hentai
video hentai
video hentai
video hentai
video lesbienne
video lesbienne
video lesbienne
video lesbienne
video lesbienne
video lesbienne
video lesbienne
video lesbienne
video lesbienne
video lesbienne
video mature
video mature
video mature
video mature
video mature
video mature
video mature
video mature
video mature
video mature
tuning
tuning
tuning
tuning
tuning
tuning
tuning
tuning
tuning
tuning
video fellation
video fellation
video fellation
video fellation
video fellation
video fellation
video fellation
video fellation
video fellation

Posted by: sgsgsggsg at December 12, 2005 07:25 AM

asc
kraob
eves
akupunktura
freesz
puz
domy opieki
mopinsite
oppin

Posted by: epart at December 23, 2005 04:08 AM

GPT1 GPT2 GPT3 GPT4 GPT5 GPT6 GPT7 GPT8 GPT9 GPT10 GPT11 GPT12 GPT13 GPT14 GPT15 GPT16 GPT17 GPT18 GPT19 GPT20 GPT21 GPT22 GPT23 GPT24 GPT25 GPT26 GPT27 GPT28 GPT29 GPT30 GPT31 GPT32 GPT33 GPT34 GPT35 GPT36 GPT37 GPT38 GPT39 GPT40 GPT41 GPT42 GPT43 GPT44 GPT45 GPT46 GPT47 GPT48 GPT49 GPT50 GPT51 GPT52 GPT53 GPT54 GPT55 GPT56 GPT57 GPT58 GPT59 GPT60 GPT61 GPT62 GPT63 GPT64 GPT65 GPT66 GPT67 GPT68 GPT69 GPT70 GPT71 GPT72 GPT73 GPT74 GPT75 GPT76 GPT77 GPT78 GPT79 GPT80 GPT81 GPT82 GPT83 GPT84 GPT85 GPT86 GPT87 GPT88 GPT89 GPT90 GPT91 GPT92 GPT93 GPT94 GPT95 GPT96 GPT97 GPT98 GPT99 GPT100

AXGT1 AXGT2 AXGT3 AXGT4 AXGT5 AXGT6 AXGT7 AXGT8 AXGT9 AXGT10 AXGT11 AXGT12 AXGT13 AXGT14 AXGT15 AXGT16 AXGT17 AXGT18 AXGT19 AXGT20 AXGT21 AXGT22 AXGT23 AXGT24 AXGT25 AXGT26 AXGT27 AXGT28 AXGT29 AXGT30 AXGT31 AXGT32 AXGT33 AXGT34 AXGT35 AXGT36 AXGT37 AXGT38 AXGT39 AXGT40 AXGT41 AXGT42 AXGT43 AXGT44 AXGT45 AXGT46 AXGT47 AXGT48 AXGT49 AXGT50 AXGT51 AXGT52 AXGT53 AXGT54 AXGT55 AXGT56 AXGT57 AXGT58 AXGT59 AXGT60 AXGT61 AXGT62 AXGT63 AXGT64 AXGT65 AXGT66 AXGT67 AXGT68 AXGT69 AXGT70 AXGT71 AXGT72 AXGT73 AXGT74 AXGT75 AXGT76 AXGT77 AXGT78 AXGT79 AXGT80 AXGT81 AXGT82 AXGT83 AXGT84 AXGT85 AXGT86 AXGT87 AXGT88 AXGT89 AXGT90 AXGT91 AXGT92 AXGT93 AXGT94 AXGT95 AXGT96 AXGT97 AXGT98 AXGT99 AXGT100

Bou1 Bou2 Bou3 Bou4 Bou5 Bou6 Bou7 Bou8 Bou9 Bou10 Bou11 Bou12 Bou13 Bou14 Bou15 Bou16 Bou17 Bou18 Bou19 Bou20 Bou21 Bou22 Bou23 Bou24 Bou25 Bou26 Bou27 Bou28 Bou29 Bou30

DA1 DA2 DA3 DA4 DA5 DA6 DA7 DA8 DA9 DA10 DA11 DA12 DA13 DA14 DA15 DA16 DA17 DA18 DA19 DA20 DA21 DA22 DA23 DA24 DA25 DA26 DA27 DA28 DA29 DA30 DA31 DA32 DA33 DA34 DA35 DA36 DA37 DA38 DA39 DA40 DA41 DA42 DA43 DA44 DA45 DA46 DA47 DA48 DA49 DA50 DA51 DA52 DA53 DA54 DA55 DA56 DA57 DA58 DA59 DA60 DA61 DA62 DA63 DA64 DA65 DA66 DA67 DA68 DA69 DA70 DA71 DA72 DA73 DA74 DA75 DA76 DA77 DA78 DA79 DA80 DA81 DA82 DA83 DA84 DA85 DA86 DA87 DA88 DA89 DA90 DA91 DA92 DA93 DA94 DA95 DA96 DA97 DA98 DA99 DA100 DA101 DA102 DA103 DA104 DA105 DA106 DA107 DA108 DA109 DA110 DA111 DA112 DA113 DA114 DA115 DA116 DA117 DA118 DA119 DA120

AdRT1 AdRT2 AdRT3 AdRT4 AdRT5 AdRT6 AdRT7 AdRT8 AdRT9 AdRT10 AdRT11 AdRT12 AdRT13 AdRT14 AdRT15 AdRT16 AdRT17 AdRT18 AdRT19 AdRT20 AdRT21 AdRT22 AdRT23 AdRT24 AdRT25 AdRT26 AdRT27 AdRT28 AdRT29 AdRT30 AdRT31 AdRT32 AdRT33 AdRT34 AdRT35 AdRT36 AdRT37 AdRT38 AdRT39 AdRT40 AdRT41 AdRT42 AdRT43 AdRT44 AdRT45 AdRT46 AdRT47 AdRT48 AdRT49 AdRT50 AdRT51 AdRT52 AdRT53 AdRT54 AdRT55 AdRT56 AdRT57 AdRT58 AdRT59 AdRT60 AdRT61 AdRT62 AdRT63 AdRT64 AdRT65 AdRT66 AdRT67 AdRT68 AdRT69 AdRT70 AdRT71 AdRT72 AdRT73 AdRT74 AdRT75 AdRT76 AdRT77 AdRT78 AdRT79 AdRT80 AdRT81 AdRT82 AdRT83 AdRT84 AdRT85 AdRT86 AdRT87 AdRT88 AdRT89 AdRT90 AdRT91 AdRT92 AdRT93

Pftp1 Pftp2 Pftp3 Pftp4 Pftp5 Pftp6 Pftp7 Pftp8 Pftp9 Pftp10 Pftp11 Pftp12 Pftp13 Pftp14 Pftp15 Pftp16 Pftp17 Pftp18 Pftp19 Pftp20 Pftp21 Pftp22 Pftp23 Pftp24 Pftp25 Pftp26 Pftp27 Pftp28 Pftp29 Pftp30 Pftp31 Pftp32 Pftp33 Pftp34 Pftp35 Pftp36 Pftp37 Pftp38 Pftp39 Pftp40 Pftp41 Pftp42 Pftp43 Pftp44 Pftp45 Pftp46 Pftp47 Pftp48 Pftp49 Pftp50 Pftp51 Pftp52 Pftp53

Posted by: derrt at January 11, 2006 03:23 AM

Lets study statistics online.

Posted by: John at October 14, 2006 01:08 AM
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