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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Lancet Study: An Exercise In Revision

The recently released Lancet Study supposedly makes the allegation that more than 2.5% of all Iraqis have been killed in the last three years because of our invasion and war there. The media is hyping the ever-living snot out of this report as if it were the Gospel truth handed down by God to Moses in the form of Michael Moore burning a bush. What the media refuses to admit is that this is the same group who conducted the much-ballyhooed report that stated our invasion killed over 100,000 Iraqis. The moonbats quickly snatcherd up that report without doing any checking as to where they got their numbers from.

Today, Allah Pundit @ Hot Air notes that the report is now up on the Web for everyone to see. He has invited the "number-crunchers" to have at it. Not my specialty. However, I would like to point out a couple of things that Rick Moran @ Right-Wing Nuthouse observed about the report. He notes that their figures for tallying the dead tend to overblow the statistics in the report:

In addition, the study includes deaths that the researchers have arbitrarily determined were caused by the invasion but not caused by violence. If they are using the same criteria as the 2004 study, some of these causes of death include:

--Malnourishment due to bad economic conditions as a result of the invasion.

--Illness due to degraded health care infrastructure.

--Deaths due to domestic violence.

--Deaths due to criminal activity unrelated to the insurgency.

--And "... civilian deaths resulting from the breakdown in law and order, and deaths due to inadequate health care or sanitation.”

None of these deaths can be directly attributed to our invasion. The malnourishment argument alone seems farcical to include as many people were starving in that country by Hussein's hands long before we invaded. As a matter of fact, the Oil-For-Food program, which was designed to ease the suffering of the Iraqi population by allowing Saddam to sell his oil so he could attend to those needs, has been schown to be a ponzi scheme from the word go. Caludia Rossett's outstanding investigative journalism has shown that little of the money he received for his oil went to ease the suffering of the people.

And in citing the "health care" and "sanitation" argument, these people completely ignore a Human Rights Watch report where it is stated that these were in sad disarray before we showed up. The report's copyright is 2001, and here is the key paragraph in relation to that assessment:

The overall humanitarian situation in Iraq remained dire despite the expanded "oil-for-food" program. In his March 10 report to the Security Council on the operation of the program, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan noted that "an excessive number of holds" continued to impede the relief program. These included holds on contracts in the water and sanitation and electric power sectors, which he stated were a major factor impeding progress in the area of public health. In his most recent report of September 8 to the Security Council, the Secretary-General noted some improvements in this area, but said that "infrastructural degradation" of the water and sanitation sector was being exacerbated by "the absence of key complementary items currently on hold and adequate maintenance, spare parts and staffing." As regards the electricity sector, the report stated that the "entire electricity grid is in a precarious state and is in imminent danger of collapsing altogether." The overall provision of health care and services was said to be in "steep decline." This assessment was supported by the findings of U.N. and other humanitarian agencies. In a report published in December 1999, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the sanctions have had a "devastating effect on the lives of civilians," and that while the "oil-for-food" program has alleviated their plight, "it has not halted the collapse of the health system and the deterioration of the water supplies, which together pose one of the gravest threats to the health and well-being of the civilian population." In a report published on September 13, the FAO said that while existing food rations, combined with market food purchases, have "halted further deterioration in the nutritional situation, they have not by themselves been able to reverse this trend." It concluded that acute malnutrition among children under five had decreased only slightly from the 12 percent recorded in 1995, and that at least 800,000 children under five were chronically malnourished.

While their report points out the surface effects of the supposed success of Oil-For-Food (effects we would later find to be little more than "window dressing" by Hussein), they acknowledge that as far back as 2001, the Iraqi people were in a health care and sanitation crisis.

Even that vaunted bastion of objective journalism, The New York Times had to admit something fishy was up with the numbers. (And y'all can get up off the floor. The comment was dripping in sarcasm and amusing, but not hilarious.)

Robert Blendon, director of the Harvard Program on Public Opinion and Health and Social Policy, said interviewing urban dwellers chosen at random was “the best of what you can expect in a war zone.”

But he said the number of deaths in the families interviewed — 547 in the post-invasion period versus 82 in a similar period before the invasion — was too few to extrapolate up to more than 600,000 deaths across the country.

Donald Berry, chairman of biostatistics at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, was even more troubled by the study, which he said had “a tone of accuracy that’s just inappropriate.”

In other words, these guys can smell the bull being shoveled over this report, and even they have to be somewhat skeptical. In addition, Rick offers this up when it comes to the numbers crunching:

As you can see from the above New York Times excerpt, these purveyors of wildly exaggerated mortality have tried the same technique this time around as well: they have “a margin of error that ranged from 426,369 to 793,663 deaths.”

Can I go to Vegas with that margin? I might actually win. Lord knows these people are trying their best to show that our invasion of that country did more damage than Saddam Hussein ever did. Interestingly enough, these people can now use this report and throw it in our faces when we remind them that the United States did not kill 300,000 Kurds after the First Gulf War. They can point to this bogus report (so worthless I would not even use it as toilet paper) and say we killed more than twice that many.

The sole purpose of this report is to slam the administration, and make everything that we have done over there look bad. Mark my words, when President Bush leaves office, a bunch of moonbats are going to get together and issue a report (probably under the guise of some psuedo-acceptable organization like Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, and point out every little detail of our invasion and war; From Abu Ghraib to the over-hyped, never-panned-out Haditha, from the "starving" people to the failed infrastructure claims).

The report is absolutely bogus, and people like Rick Moran and Allah have done a good juob of debunking the snot out of it already. By the time next week rolls around, this report will have more holes blown in it than the Iraqi Revolutionary Guard tanks had BOTH times we went into that country.



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