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    They just hate America...., 2008-01-09 13:31:53 | Main | please relinquish your vote for our campaign..., 2008-01-10 15:52:45

    bring out your dead:

    Ninepence for any newspaper that reports this one accurately.

    The new WHO/IFHS study on relative Iraq mortality calculates that the Iraq mortality rate about doubled in the first 3 years of occupation, while 2006 Roberts et.al. published in the Lancet calculated that the rate about tripled. There's an upper and lower bound overlap in the confidence intervals, and the question of whether the increase is more due to degenerate material conditions or increased human violence hardly matters - and a harder matter to ascertain - so much as the fact that the studies agree that your chances of dying were 2.5 times higher in Iraq during the first three years of occupation than before it.

    Nevermind that the deterioration of all conditions accelerated into the fourth year, and are only now - by a scattering of anecdotal measures - returning to 2005 levels as we move into the fifth. Hardly something to celebrate.

    If the occupation manifested poorer material conditions there's no reason for the media to exclude the resulting excess mortality from their reporting, nor did either study ever attempt to distinguish between civilians and combatants. Virtually every media outlet is nevertheless inaccurately reporting the results as 150,000 civilian dead, and then using that figure to dispute the Lancet study or comparing it to the utterly non-comparable Iraq Body Count, in an apparent effort to prove definitively that none of them so much as bothered to read the abstracts. If they're not doing that, they're reporting it wrong some other way.

    E.g. the NYT manages to mangle the results by reporting an estimate of the numbers killed in violence as the gross number of civilian dead. According to the WHO study ballpark excess dead from all causes is well over twice as high, and the number of civilian violent deaths would be some fraction of the numbers the NYT uses.

    Other points aside, what they should be reporting is that we have another decent estimate of the change in mortality, which in the first three years of occupation was 2-3 times worse than it was under the hellish brutality of Saddam Hussein and the sanctions regime.

    If somebody wants to, in turn, argue that that's OK if most of the deaths to violence were combatants I'm happy to let them put their own moral degeneracy on public display. None of this destruction was necessary.

    For more: Tim Lambert talks to Les Roberts, and Roberts talks to the WSJ. ... And Daniel Davies.


:: posted by buermann @ 2008-01-10 14:09:54 CST | link





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