Josh Dougherty gets an Instalanche

In my comments Iraq Body Count’s Josh Dougherty throws a tantrum:

Tim, you’re a bald-faced liar … do you really need to be such a monumental fraud and liar to puff up this Lancet study?

Glenn Reynolds has studiously ignored the actual Iraq Body Count they’ve compiled. This however has him cheering Dougherty on. Reynolds is a law professor at the University of Tennessee. I wonder if he cheers law students who behave like Dougherty?

Oh the folks at this site, got a spray from Dougherty for their sins in citing the Lancet estimate. They seem to have figured him out:

But dear stranger, I doubt that your misunderstanding was sincere. I do hope I’ve misjudged you, but between your letter’s casual, repeated insults and your misleading statements you’ve set off my scoundrel alarm, so I’ve only skimmed the remainder of your remarks.

I wonder — Do the deaths in Iraq matter to you, or are you only concerned about defending Iraq Body Count’s death numbers? I’m much, much more concerned about the deaths, than the numbers. My husband and I have no assistant researchers to handle correspondence, we each work full-time jobs to support our website, and in our time left over we’re activists working to stop the bloodshed. I don’t mind saying, I’m absolutely certain that our tally of casualties is wrong, but we’re making the best estimate we can, with no intent to deceive.


  1. #1 Paul
    October 25, 2006

    ooh…I’m guilty of being part of that instalanche.

    I’m afraid too that after Googling Josh Dougherty I’ve seen attacks running in a similar vein against other IBC critics, and, further, a similar disnterest in the actual deaths occuring in Iraq compared to defending IBC’s figures. I was particularly unimpressed with the sarky mock email to the Baghdad morgue.

    Here you go:


    Why aren’t you calling for more studies and empiricism to prove or disprove your assertions?

  2. #2 josh
    October 25, 2006

    What an incisive and informative posting Tim. Your blog has really taken a step up. Sheesh.

    I guess when you can’t argue the facts (except to put forward bogus ones distorted to fit your agenda), it’s time to turn to empty ad hominem smears.

    Distort, divert, evade, smear. You should write a handbook for propagandists Tim.

    I can only second the harshest statements in my previous posting.

  3. #3 Abe G
    October 25, 2006

    Wow, josh, that was an “incisive and informative” post. I must have missed the part where you proved the “monumental fraud.”

    No matter.

    As for “cheering” from the sidelines, wth? I, for one, would love to see this study discredited. Not to push any right wing fantasy, but because it would mean a lot more Iraqis are alive.

    But, alas, and sadly, reality interjects.

  4. #4 Shinobi
    October 25, 2006

    I guess when you can’t argue the facts (except to put forward bogus ones distorted to fit your agenda)

    So what facts are presented in your critique of the Lancet survey, apart from the suggestion that some of its conclusions are implausible?

    For me, the idea that English-speaking media reports will continue to remain a reasonable basis to judge deaths in Iraq, as the country slides into a civil war, is less plausible. Especially considering the lack of attention the English-speaking press has given to, for example, the continuing US airstrikes in Iraq (see crooked timber’s piece at

  5. #5 frankis
    October 25, 2006

    “Distort, divert, evade, smear”. Coming after the sweetness of yesterday …. how old are you Josh? “Make your words today sweet for tomorrow you may need to eat ’em” but enough of me channelling my mum already.

    I’ve asked you Josh what at the moment seems to be the one thing I think that almost everyone would like to hear from you – what’s your own best guess at the most probable number of excess deaths in Iraq?

  6. #6 John Quiggin
    October 26, 2006

    Tim, i think the quote should continue for another para.

  7. #7 Harald Korneliussen
    October 26, 2006

    That last paragraph is a little confusing – do you have a husband, Tim, or has some quote indicator fallen off somewhere?

  8. #8 Tim Lambert
    October 26, 2006

    Oops, the last paragraph was supposed to be quoted. Fixed now.

  9. #9 Adam
    October 26, 2006

    If anyone wants to get an idea of the possible/probable/definite underreporting of western media, they should watch the latest “This World” from the BBC:
    (the “latest” will change next week with the new episode).

    More here:

    I’m sure many people will be able to cherry-pick quotes from it support their particular world view, but as a whole, it shows a pretty horrible life at the moment.

    The other episodes are worth watching if they’re available, too.

  10. #10 Jeff Harvey
    October 26, 2006

    Josh Dougherty needs to take some advice. Instead of lashing out at Tim Lambert, the Lancet, the authors of the Lancet, and anyone who suggests that the US-UK invasion has resulted in carnage in Iraq far beyond IBC estimates, why don’t you save your wrath for the criminal gangs in Washington and London who launched an illegal, unprovoked attack against a country that posed not threat to us and which was effectively defenseless?

    What I find reprehensible is that IBC said nothing when Bush suggested last December that his best estimate of Iraqi civilians killed since the invasion was ‘around 30,000’. Basically, Bush was (ab)using IBC figures to downplay other much higher estimates of the death toll in Iraq (including the earlier JHU research). Where the hell were Josh and IBC then? What was their response? Silence. Deafening silence.

    IBC has expended a lot of effort downplaying any idea that the invasion has resulted in much more blood spilt than their estimation, which appears to be a massive underestimate of the actual total (IBC has it currently standing at between 44,000 and 49,000). Heck, as Tom Engelhardt points out in ZNet, an Iraqi political group suggested that there were 37,000 excess deaths between the March 2003 invasion and October of 2003 alone:

    More discussion from ZN

    So why are IBC so miffed at the JHU research? Methinks they are embarrassed at producing a figure that clearly is many factors smaller than the actual death toll, and are pretty humiliated about it. I also think they are upset, as several other pundits have suggested, at having their thunder stolen by the JHU group.

    IBC – and this includes you, Josh – ought to spend more time attacking the motives of the Bush-Blair regimes, and of the resulting carnage caused by their illegal adventure in Iraq, than giving tantrums every time a study or group provides an estimate of the death toll that is much higher than IBC’s. Until IBC does this, then I will doubt its stated aim of trying to provide evidence of the extent of coalition crimes against the people of Iraq.

  11. #11 JB
    February 13, 2007

    Joshd said: “I guess when you can’t argue the facts (except to put forward bogus ones distorted to fit your agenda), it’s time to turn to empty ad hominem smears.”

    That after making the comment “Tim, you’re a bald-faced liar … do you really need to be such a monumental fraud and liar to puff up this Lancet study?”

    Oh, the irony.

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