The WikiLeaks Iraq archive, while incomplete, reveals many more previously unreported violent deaths in the Iraq war -- Iraq Body Count say that the archive reveals 15,000 people shot, blown up, had the heads cut off or killed in some other way that they had not recorded. So Tim Blair, who claimed that the Iraq Body Count was way way too high (and predicted that the coalition would suffer "below 50" casualties) has posted a correction. Ha ha, just kidding. Blair has a post claiming that the WikiLeaks archive, which is, as I have already noted, incomplete, proves that the Lancet study on war-related deaths in Iraq is wrong. This does not follow. Since the WikiLeaks archive is incomplete, the number of deaths recorded is just a lower bound. That's because the archive is incomplete. This is just the latest in Blair's innumerate criticisms of the Lancet study.
However, the WikiLeaks documents add further doubts to a controversial report in a 2006 issue of the medical journal the Lancet, claiming that, even that early in the war, 655,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed, most of them by U.S. air and artillery strikes.
In fact, the study attributed 31% of the roughly 600,000 violent deaths to the coalition , and just 13% to air strikes. I guess checking what the study actually found is too much trouble if you are a journalist.
And it's not just Blair and Kaplan. Thers on Glenn Reynolds:
In the world where things like human beings dying and being tortured in the course of senseless wars matters, the recent Wikileaks documents release is accompanied by headlines like "A Grim Portrait of Civilian Deaths in Iraq."
In Glenn Reynold's squalid little world, however, what the documents show is that the war was even more glorious than one he'd always masturbated to, and will be good news for Republicans!
One thing that always drove home to me how dishonest and/or ignorant Glenn Reynolds and his ilk are, was how none of them seemed to have ever found any fault with how the war was being conducted except possibly for those who thought we should have killed al-Sadr when we first got there. Why were so many tankers and artillerymen killed fighting as infantry? Why were so many soldiers complaining about their rifles jamming? Who fed the wildly inaccurate Jessica Lynch story to the press and why? These are question separate from whether or not you supported to war, but they'd never ask them in a million years because it would burst their ideological bubble that everything about the U.S. military is perfect and wonderful and anyone who critizes any aspect of it is either a commie-lib or an isolationist paleo-con.
And, of course, Andrew Bolt has to fall into line as well, as I've noted at my blog.
We all agree that the "the archive is incomplete." But is it incomplete by more than a factor of 5?
Unless you think that the US military was lying to itself, this new data should cause you to believe the Lancet less and folks like IBC and Spagat more.
Tim: It might be handy to update your chart of credible estimates, dropping the ORB (now thoroughly debunked) and adding Wikileaks.
David, did you even bother to read the post.
The IBC always was a lower bound rather than an estimate as you were want to claim. The new data is also a lower bound which is much higher than the IBC.
The reasonable response would be "Oh, so the IBC was way to low."
Don't worry, I am not holding my breath.
Don't you find this argument pointless, how many civilian deaths were too many? How many innocent people need to die before someone says, 'Ooh, thats bad'?
I'm also disgusted how much of the mainstream commentary is concerned with the potential fallout, showing more concern for that than the dead innocents.
When a country is illegally invaded, 1 death is a murder and those responsible should be held accountable, and i don't just mean the soldiers who have taken unlawful action (like those who have already been shown enjoying blowing innocent civilians away in the 'apache incidents).
At least with Wikileaks this is getting some coverage, how central america envies this modern phenomena.
Dicksonator @ 5,
There is a reasonable argument that Saddam was already killing civilians (notably Kurds, also political opponents, etc) in large numbers, not to mention the deaths caused by wars he initiated (yes, I know that he often had US support).
If (counterfactually) there had been only a few thousand civilians killed followed by peace (unlikely, but bear with me) I think there would have been a reasonable argument that the lives saved exceeded the lives lost in the long run. Which is the line that Bush et al tried to run. Studies and accounts of civilian deaths give the lie to this argument, which is why it's important to count them.
Bear in mind this is Tim "as in too innumerate and stupid to be David Kane being innumerate and stupid" Blair.
It takes David Kane to be David Kane being stupid and innumerate, Tim Blair!
I was going to leave a comment on Blair's blog until I read through the other comments and realised the average intelligence level I'd have to be pitching it at.
Talking to 3 year old minds is fine, but it can be hard work dumbing down the message into a format they can understand.
Given the IBC and Wikileaks counts of deaths from specific, recorded incidents the Lancet estimates for total excess deaths subsequent to the CoW invasion must be in the right ballpark - mustn't they?
Frankis, to understand that, you would have to be [smarter than a six year old](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/04/pinata_whacking_not_outsourced…).
James, I think a 'bit of an argument' is surely a red herring in this case and hardly relevant. There were and are ways to deal with Sadaam in the case of any such violation.
I actually rather think though, that considering Iraq was under continual patrol and attack ever since GW1, this is rather unlikely unless we turned a blind eye to it for later propaganda use.
However, even this is a terrible reason, as Sadaam gassed most of the Kurds whenever we were his bosom buddies, actually just shortly before he invaded Kuwait where he probably thought we'd ignore the situation since we were his friends. Woe betide anyone who interferes in the sphere of global influence of the US/UK and of course, controlling oil is paramount in this regard.
Also, we seem to be quite happy to let Turkey persecute this Kurdish.
In short, i don't buy that argument.
Great posts. You have nailed it directly. The war was illegal according to just about every national and international law - the UN Charter, the Nuremberg Code, and the US Constitution for starters. By that reckoning, the US is responsible for every death that occurred as a result of the invasion. And now Iraq is utterly devastated. One of the region's experts, Nir Rosen, said in 2008 that "Iraq has been destroyed, never to rise again". Pretty much the entire political and social infrastructure of Iraq was blown to smithereens by invaders who were pursuing their own agenda that had nix to do with WMD, promoting freedom or democracy. Yet this myth has repeatedly been rammed down our throats by the corporate and state MSM.
And also note the media's non-coverage of the recent study which showed that cancer cases in Falluja within 2 years of the US bombardment of that city in November of 2004 well exceeded the rate in Hiroshima after the atom bomb was dropped there. Falluja was once a teeming city with 600,000 inhabitants; now it is a burned out shell with the latest census reporting 300,000 residents, meaning that half of the population fled and has not returned or were killed in the US assault.
I find it takes remarkable hubris for anyone to try and downplay the horrific death and destruction inflicted on Iraq, first by the 'sanctions of mass destruction', and then by the illegal invasion. The utter hypocrisy of western foreign policy, part of which Dicksonator has alluded to (e.g. 'worthy' Kurds in Iraq, 'unworthy' Kurds in Turkey) as well as the support of monstrous regimes elsewhere under US control or influence (e.g. Montt, Marcos, Somosza, Pinochet, Mbutu, Suharto) speaks volumes. And those countries who do not play according to the rules set out in the "Washington Consensus" - Venezuela and Bolivia being prime examples - are forever vilified in the media. The fact that outright expansionism, nullification of alternative systems, and subjegation of other country's assets drive western foreign policy should be brazenly obvious by now, even if the body count as a result of such actions is enormous. Yet to many it isn't. We in the rich world prefer to think of ourselves as 'noble victims', and the media cultivate that image well. We trust our politicians, who usually hide their agendas behind a veil of lies and deceit. If one wants to really understand what drives western policies, its easy to do so: read declassified planning documents which are available in most large libraries. They could not be clearer.
> We all agree that the "the archive is incomplete." But is it incomplete by more than a factor of 5?
a) from TFA: "In fact, the study attributed 31% of the roughly 600,000 violent deaths to the coalition , and just 13% to air strikes." Therefore it's 1/0.44 times smaller than that discrepancy. Taking it down to 2.2 times.
b) it is only the figure of UNREPORTED deaths, you have to add that number on to the death toll in the post heading. This brings it down to what?
> There is a reasonable argument that Saddam was already killing civilians (notably Kurds, also political opponents, etc) in large numbers
Why wasn't he tried for these many crimes?
Would that be because he had western aid and backing for these crimes?
They had to look REAL hard to find something both bad enough to warrant execution yet nothing they were involved in.
This is one reason why the trial waited so long.
Iraq was a punishment beating done in public because Iraq was going to do all international trade in Euros, with North Korea, Iran and Venezuela also looking likely to follow suit.
Those four names are the "Axis of Evil" the USA put out.
I never understood Venezuela being in the list until I watched Robert Newmann's "A History of Oil" and found that little fact.
David Kane, of course the military sometimes lies to itself: have you not heard e.g. of Pat Tillman? As you well know Spagat is not exactly the most credible figure.
The bottom line is that reported deaths in a conflict zone like Iraq are a lower bound for actual deaths and for obvious reasons can be very far from being a tight lower bound. That lower bound has just been raised (indeed it looks like IBC's new lower bound will be above their previous "upper bound") and your reaction is to pretend that this reduces confidence in the higher estimate of total excess deaths?
As I have said before, the main objective of the war party in this case was to try and make any estimate of civilian deaths in Iraq during the invasion (as well as because of the sanctions and also in Afghanistan) open to conjecture. The logic behind this is that, without hard data, the death toll is impossible to determine, and might therefore be very low. Finally, discussion of the toll caused by the invasion will melt away and disappear down the memory hole, along with huge range of other western crimes and atrocities over the past 100 years. The strategy was used to downplay the carnage inflicted by U.S. forces when invading the Phillipines in 1901-02 as well as in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Chile, Korea, Viet Nam and Cambodia. But of course, the corporate media will continue to focus laser-like on crimes committed by 'officially designated enemies', irrespective as to when they occurred.
The other theme I see repeatedly raised by those who supported the illegal invasion of Iraq is in presupposing that Britain and the United States possessed the 'moral authority' to do so. This is quite honestly absurd, given the appalling history of foreign (and domestic) policy abuses by both nations. But the very fact that many people think the west possesses any kind of moral authority shows how successful the state propaganda system has been in indoctrinating people. The past 200 years of US foreign policy has, IMO, been characterized to a large extent by senseless butchery and democracy deterred.
>"Iraq was a punishment beating done in public because Iraq was going to do all international trade in Euros, with North Korea, Iran and Venezuela also looking likely to follow suit."
Hang on, if that's the reason, then why not attack Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain? All countries in the Eurozone carry out their international trade in euros...
MFS, I'd guess it's because of Europe's relative lack of oil wells and the absence of convenient excuses to do so.
>*Hang on, if that's the reason, then why not attack Austria....*
Iraq, Iran and Veneszuela are differentiated from the Euro countries that you identify under the term and the theory of the [Petrodollar](http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&safe=off&&sa=X&ei=n3PHTLPPBoy6vQO…).
I guess that leaves North Korea as the odd one out. How fitting!
Maybe this is old news to some here, but if you haven't seen the documentary movie, "No End In Sight" take a look.
The reason for so many civilian deaths is that the U.S. never established civil order in Iraq. No martial law, disbanded the army etc. Only place that was protected was the oil mininstry and the "Green Zone", which is also a good movie, related to the first one.
Starring Matt Damon
I believe the reason for so many deaths in Iraq is that the U.S., quite frankly, didn't care. It wasn't that the Bush II deliberately set out to kill civilians, but that his neocon regime knew this was a distinct possibility but factored that against the benefits of controlling 'the greatest material prize in history' and a 'source of stupendous strategic power' as a 1950 U.S. State Department described the region. Their main concern with respect to high civilian death tolls was not the effect it would have on public opinion in Iraq, but in the United States. This explains why there have been such mendacious denials of high death tolls as a result of the invasion, with the Lancet and its authors being subjected to continual attacks by the corporate msm.
The trouble is that the U.S. is loathed in most of the Middle East, and most Iraqis who were at the receiving end of the the U.S. club know full well why the U.S. invaded their country. They aren't dumb - even if our own media aims to dumb down our own populations through the mass production of ignorance. The main concern has always been public opinion at home, most importantly with respect to the death toll of our own soldiers, and, secondarily, of civilians. And, as I said above, the concern is that civilian deaths will not be tolerated by public opinion at home, hence why casualties are always downplayed or ignored.
> It wasn't that the Bush II deliberately set out to kill civilians
Plenty of this.
But Amorality is, when coupled with extreme power, worse than explicit evil.
I believe the reason for so many deaths in Iraq is that the U.S., quite frankly, didn't care.
I read a while ago that the US attitude to Iraqis was that they were Untermenchen, i.e. lesser humans, which was a term used by the Nazis.
The [BBC talked to Les Roberts](http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11613349) about the implications of the Wikileaks documents, and [Robert Shone replied](http://dissident93.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/bbc-les-roberts/).
Iraq was invaded to terminate the cost of patrolling the no fly zones 24/7/365 which was costing ca 25-30 billion per year. The aircraft for this have a finite service lifetime after which they must be replaced espescially those used in flight operation from aircraft carriers.
Saddam and his family could potentially be in power for quite sometime--like forever. He played the cat-and-mouse game with WMD because he need the Coalition Forces for protection. Otherwse he would be fighting wars with Kurds in the north and Shia in the south. He probably would have
lost these since his army was all but destoyed in the war with the US.
Since the first gulf war never really ended, there is a distinct possibilties that the Iranians might invaded Iraq as the first phase of regional and world conquest. I have heard on radio talk shows that their plan is capture all mideast oil, invade Saudi Arabia and expel the infidels from the holy cities.
They are then ready to start the Battle of Armagedden with Israel. When the battles starts, the 12th or lost iman, who fell down a well in 942 AD, will rise up, take command of the army of Islam, defeat the infidels and go on to establish a world caliphate. Here is the really scary part: They believe that they can not lose the battle with the infidels.
RE: Chemical and Biologial Weapons
No modern military maintains "stock piles" of these weapons. The US began decommioning nerve agents in the early 1970's. The US just flat out lied about this. They also lied about Saddam's nuclear facilities that could make bombs. These were totally destroyed and no attempt was to made repair them
There is the possibily that Saddam could still make nerve agents. These are the most acutely and deadly poisonous man made chemicals. One kg of Sarin or VX has the potential to kill 1 million adults in 30-45 sec and as many as 10 million childern. These nerve agents kill all animals including worms in the soil.
I would not be surprised that the Israelis told the US to get boots on the ground because we really don't want to nuke the Iranians. Even today there is still the possiblilty that the Iranians might invaded Irag. Recent surveys have indicated that Irag's oil reserves might a possible 200 billion barrels.
> Iraq was invaded to terminate the cost of patrolling the no fly zones 24/7/365 which was costing ca 25-30 billion per year.
1) Stop air patrolling the no-fly zones.
1) Spend $1 trillion on a war and kill thousands of servicemen
Iran would only have invaded Iraq because Iraq was secular. The US has now done it for them.
"Iranians might invaded Iraq as the first phase of regional and world conquest. I have heard on radio talk shows that their plan is capture all mideast oil, invade Saudi Arabia and expel the infidels from the holy cities. "
Only the best of sources from our always-reliable Harold Pierce.
"Spend $1 trillion on a war and kill thousands of servicemen"
Not to mention somewhere between a half million and one million dead Iraqis, and upwards of 1/5 of all Iraqis as either internal or external refugees at peak.
Although I don't agree with #26 and Chris' statement about the humanity in Iraq and how the US percieves it, but the US military don't have the same sort of fall out when foreigners die than when their own people die.
Even if it's only because the bereaved families of USians who die vote in US elections and those of dead Iraqis don't.
This isn't a case of believing the Iraqis non- or sub-human but that their own people are more important to them.
Just because you lift someone up doesn't mean you drag someone down, though this is by far the easiest way to get people to lift themselves up (holding off from godwinning this thread even more).
The soldiers themselves are TRAINED to feel like the opposing forces are not human. Humans aren't very good at killing other people so you have to train them not to think of others as people.
It doesn't always work but it works sometimes.
Which *may* be where Chris got his info from. If so, that isn't a reflection on how the US people think of others but in how effective the training of armed forces is.
[Robert Fisk appeared on the ABC](http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2010/s3051340.htm) this evening.
He is sure to attract the fiskers, given his less-than-subtle statements about US government/military behaviour in Iraq.
I heard this on "Coast to Coast AM" on a number of occasions. I also read recently in Newsweek that a muslim cleric said, "We will not rest until the black flag of Islam flies from the Tower of London."
I am a US citizen. I would like to see all US forces come home. If this happens, the Chinese would walk over all you guys and grab all your minerals, BEER and Wine. And turn OZ into a resort.
We kept the Russians from capturing all of Europe until communism collasped. Did they say "Thank You" Nope. They just spit in our face at every opportunity. They can go to Hell.
It seems that Harold Jnr. believes that a world that bestows 24% of its global resources onto the 5% of its global population that happens to have a controlling interest in global trade and finance, 1000+ of their military bases in 63 different countries, and a permanent state of war for the past 70 years, isn't grateful enough.
Harold Jnr. wonders where we would all be without all that, and doesn't doubt for a millisecond that the answer is 'worse off'.
Being a part of the 5%, Harold Jnr. likes to think that.
>"Harold Jnr. wonders where we would all be without all that, and doesn't doubt for a millisecond that the answer is 'worse off'. Being a part of the 5%, Harold Jnr. likes to think that."
Were it not because I have seen many other equally odd posts, I'd have to say Harold Jnr. is [a poe](http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Poe%27s_Law).
Most Americans are isolationist we could care less about the rest of the world.
All this mil stuff we have round the world is a hangover from the cold war and is corporate welfare for the millitary-industial complex. However the Iranians are trouble makers and the Chinese are gettin to be a pain in the butt. However they hold about 800 billion of our markers so we actually own them..
Hate to break it to you but the US doesn't actually have any troops in Australia (discounting the odd visiting warship). Or in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia, all of whom China would have to go through to get to get to us. I believe the last time the Chinese won a war with Vietnam was 1407, but you never know, they may want to have another go.
In a broader sense we benefit from US hegemony in the Pacific. But unless you propose that the US abandon Hawaii and its own access to the middle east, I don't see the US giving up that role any time soon.
PS: Australia is already a resort for the Chinese. What do you think they spend all those US dollars on? Holidays, university educations, and investments here.
It was probably before your time on Deltoid, but there were several threads here where HPJ waxed lyrical about the countless numbers of t-tests he performed to disprove global warming. No matter how much I tried, I could not make him understand why his approach was bogus.
Strangley, I can't find any of the threads with a search - perhaps someone with a memory for the relevant thread could remind us all so that we can revisit the hilarity...
Can't be bothered to go through everything, but he mentions t-test here
Harold Pierce Jr. writes this utter crap:
*I am a US citizen. I would like to see all US forces come home. If this happens, the Chinese would walk over all you guys and grab all your minerals, BEER and Wine. And turn OZ into a resort.
We kept the Russians from capturing all of Europe until communism collasped. Did they say "Thank You" Nope. They just spit in our face at every opportunity. They can go to Hell*.
This is a comic level book understanding of the world. US forces are stationed in forward operating military bases in over 140 countries - if we include lesser operating bases, the total exceeds 160. And none of this has been done to protect other countries, but to ensure that the US retains control of vital markets and resources. Hence the reason for the existence of 'Africom' and 'Southcom'. All one needs to do is to read declassified planning documents from influential people like George Kennan, Paul Nitze, Henry Kissinger, Zbignieuw Brezonski and others that are available if one looks beyond the end of their noses. They shred Harold's frankly puerile comments and consign them to the asheap where they belong. Read State Department memos as well. Same notation. Read the 'Grand Area Strategy' from the Council on Foreign Relations. Or Brezinski's 'Grand Chessboard'. Or 'Project For a New American Century'. Or Paul Wolfowitz's 'Defense Planning Guidance'. Its all there in black and white. And these have been discussed widely in the literature by academics like Chalmers Johnson, Andrew Bacevich, Greg Grandin and many others.
Nothing more needs to be said. Harold's view of the world is an illusion. Hardly surprising when you've been drip fed the same mendacious propaganda since birth.
It's also interesting that Harold Pierce refers to the Iranians as 'trouble makers' but would never apply the same term to the United States, which has been a global rogue state for some time. When was the last time Iran invaded and occupied a foreign country? Further, I would like to know if he would consider Iran to be a 'trouble maker' after 1953, when the democratically elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh was overthrown in a joint British-US coup and was replaced by the Shah, who ruled the country quite brutally for the next 26 years. Why was Mossadegh overthrown? Because he was a nationalist who dared argue that profits from the country's oil, which largely flowed out of the country to the British based Anglo-Iranian Oil Co., should be used for the benefit of his country's own people.
Of course this theme has been repeated over and over again throughout the course of recent history. The fear of US planners was not the spread of communism but of indigenous nationalism. That countries, particularly in Latin America, will pursue economic systems in which the prime recipients of their resources are aimed at internal development and are not the property of US investors. Greg Grandin describes this in quite graphic detail in 'Empire's Workshop'. And the threat of nationalism is still is a major concern to US planners.
Afterthought BJ: since very little came up in a Google search, I wonder whether he was largely deleted. Mind you, I couldn't find your replies either, which is strange. Perhaps someone else will have better "luck".
Yep, that was one.
These are a few of the other hilarious thread I found:
but frustratingly I can't find the one where I tried to drum the concept of repeated measures into HPJ's head.
Still, I note that he went quiet on the matter of his one-man basement project. Perhaps he figured it out himself in the end...
> We kept the Russians from capturing all of Europe until communism collasped.
By capturing all of Europe.
The difference was SO visible...
"Strange" is certainly the word, because I know I needled HPJ several times about the matter of repeated measures, and I couldn't find the posts on first pass either. Perhaps Tim Lambert might have a clue?
[Wow](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/10/lancet_post_number_200.php#comm…) re HPH's tale on mid 20th century Europe - they say that history is written by the victors... It is patently apparent that HPJ believes the preponderant version of history that he reads, and which agrees with his ideology.
ATTN: Deltoid Dingo Dogs!
If I didn't come here and pull your tails, you dogs would get bored, lazy and fat!
The Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. (now BP) duped the naive Americans who were paraniod with respect to the Russians and communism. Mohammed Mossadegh was foolish. The British (and other Europeans) were never nice about colonizing quite a number of countries, raping these counties for cheap raw materials and brutely putting down any uprising of the natives.
What did he expect? Suppose he had said had that a modest royality would be be placed on oil, and the funds would be used for purchasing new arms from British companies as well as goods and services from them for upgrading the country's infrastructure. Once he had built up over time a strong military, he then could have kicked the British out of the country. That is what I would have done.
I also recall that British told the Americans that Russians had visions of incorporating Iran into their empire so they could have access to warm water ports and control the shipment of oil out of the Persian Gulf. Or something like that.
If the Americans had completely withdrawn from Europe, what do you think would have happened?
We Americans are the new kids on the block in a very old neighbood. We have no proper breeding, never went to finishing school, ain't got manners and culture, really don't know much of or care about the ways of the Old World, are idealistic and sometimes are easily fooled. So don't scold us since your ancestors have many centuries of blood on their hands as well as that of the First Nation Peoples in your country.
So what! All major countries of the Old World have be doing this kind of stuff for centuries.
> We Americans are the new kids on the block in a very old neighbood. We have no proper breeding, never went to finishing school, ain't got manners and culture, really don't know much of or care
You can only speak for yourself.
But the first step on the way to self improvement is to recognise the problem.
You still have to fix it, mind.
> All major countries of the Old World have be doing this kind of stuff for centuries.
The defence of the four-year-old: He did it first!
The method of analysis I used for some Quatsino weather data is from "Climate Change and Global Warming" by Andrew Masterman which is at:
He analyzed the CET on a month-by-month basis at 30 year intervals. By using t-tests he found that there was no significant difference in monthly mean temperature for each month for ca 300 years except for the fall months and season. I also found a fall seasonal effect in the Quatsino data.
Note after the "/" there should be:
...climate change global warming...
with a "_" between the words.
Anybody know why the url does not display properly?
Go check this out, and stop bugging me.
I speak for most of us down home folks except for the card-carrying members of the Eastern Liberal Establishment and the silk-stocking enviros and limosine liberals in NYC.
"I speak for most of us down home folks except for the card-carrying members of the Eastern Liberal Establishment and the silk-stocking enviros and limosine liberals in NYC."
Like hell you do.
You don't speak for me.
You speak for the douchebags and twits
"I speak for most of us down home folks except for the card-carrying members of the Eastern Liberal Establishment and the silk-stocking enviros and limosine liberals in NYC."
It's always helpful when someone just comes right out and says "Yeah, I'm a troll." Saves time. Thanks.
I suppose that's it for this thread then. No more Iraqi casualty discussion.
"He analyzed the CET on a month-by-month basis at 30 year intervals. By using t-tests he found that there was no significant difference in monthly mean temperature for each month for ca 300 years except for the fall months and season. I also found a fall seasonal effect in the Quatsino data."
IOW, used the least powerful method he could come up with.
>"So don't scold us since your ancestors have many centuries of blood on their hands as well as that of the First Nation Peoples in your country.
That's so funny! Except your logic is somehow flawed. If I were English I'd say my ancestors remained here in the ole country happily drinking beer and minding their own business.
However YOUR ancestors, Harold, travelled to the new world, raped and pillaged the natives, and remained until your generation to enjoy the spoils. YOU are their currrent representative. Look a bit closer at your hands and you might see the blood of Native Americans murdered by your very own ancestors.
Is it really your hypothesis that Spagat gathered all that data, produced the graph that you show above and then erased the points/lines he didn't like?
-- David Kane
I dunno if that's Tim Lambert's hypothesis precisely, but it approaches mine - that Spagat looked for a plausibly deniable third-party source for a cherrypicked graph that did just exactly that.
Somebody fabricated the graph. I don't know whether or not it was Spagat. But by publishing it he has taken responsibility for the fraudulent graph.
A few updates on this topic:
Patrick Ball, the researcher who was often cited in support of the Lancet 2006 study, has apparently changed his mind, and says:
"I want to be clear that I have no interest in defending the Burnham et al. estimates. The flaws in that study are now well known." (Patrick Ball, 28/4/10)
Les Robertsâs colleague, Francesco Checchi, has stated in an interview with the BBC that he thinks the ORB figure was âimplausibleâ, that the poll had a âmajor weaknessâ and that the Iraq death count is âlikely to be between 200,000 and 500,000â³. (BBC World Service, 27 Aug 2010)
Meanwhile, Gilbert Burnham has been reduced to posting defenses of his study on the message board of a discredited "media criticism" website. I think the scientific literature is probably a better place for it.
I don't have the links to hand for the above just now, sorry, but if anyone is still interested in this stuff, contact me via my blog (click on my name below) and I'll dig them out.
> contact me via my blog
That's a bit hard, since you've disabled comments everywhere. By the way, why do you feel the need to impose a blanket ban on comments anyway?
The Patrick Ball quote that Robert Shone cites is here---
The whole thread is interesting.
The Francisco Checchi quote that Robert Shone cites is near the end of this 8 minute 45 second BBC report, which is worth listening to all the way through. (I wish there was a written transcript, but if so I didn't notice it.)
What struck me was the following--
JoshD (who was a participant here for years defending IBC) said the true number could be as much as two or three times the IBC figure, so he's willing to concede a violent death toll possibly as high as 200-300,000. 3 times IBC would have been about what the Lancet 1 paper said (excluding Fallujah). It's also consistent with the paper published in the NEJM.
Checchi's range (200-500,000) overlaps with JoshD's range at the low end and overlaps with the low end of the Lancet 2 paper at the high end. Checchi also said that estimates of "tens of thousands" were almost certainly wrong--those, of course, are the ones often cited in recent NYT reports (except when they say 100,000).
One last comment--Iraq War supporters Tony Blair and Michael O'Hanlon are also in the BBC clip linked above and make predictably repulsive comments. Blair wants everyone to be clear that it was Iraqis killing Iraqis (there's not much to say about which of those Iraqis might have been allied with us and he seems to have missed the thousands of civilians killed by the coalition even according to the IBC statistics).
O'Hanlon says the death toll is between 100 and 150,000 (he knows it couldn't be higher, somehow) and says this is much smaller than the number estimated to have been killed by Saddam in the 80's. So apparently estimates of large numbers of deaths as opposed to IBC-style counts are perfectly acceptable to him if they support his views.
That last point is always what has bothered me about this--you can just about guarantee that the press and pundits will use very high estimates (sometimes pulled out of the air) for the number of people killed by our enemies, but insist on conservative IBC-style counts for deaths that can be attributed directly or indirectly to our actions.
Donald: JoshD (who was a participant here for years defending IBC) said the true number could be as much as two or three times the IBC figure, so he's willing to concede a violent death toll possibly as high as 200-300,000.
I don't recall that he was ever willing to entertain that possibility here. I wonder have his views changed or was it just that comments about IBC riled him, prompting him to push for lowish numbers? If he happens to read this I would be interested to know his current view.
At the end of the day the fact is that the Blairs and Kaplans have won this particular argument. There's no great incentive to conduct new studies. Most history books, insofar as they attempt to quantify Iraqi deaths at all, will contain the low numbers.
I don't recall that he was ever willing to entertain that possibility here. I wonder have his views changed...
I don't think IBC's position on this has changed. For example, here's something from a February 2006 presentation they gave: "Assuming even the most pessimistic outturn for violent civilian deaths, our database must include a substantial proportion of all victims, certainly not less than 25%, probably significantly more than half."
I think that was based on their view that ILCS provided the most reliable estimate at the time. Since then IFHS was published, which seems to have confirmed their earlier-stated views. Incidentally, the first Lancet survey (2004) estimated 57,600 violent deaths - roughly three times the number that IBC counted over the same period.
That's a bit hard, since you've disabled comments everywhere. By the way, why do you feel the need to impose a blanket ban on comments anyway?
I guess you didn't spot the clearly-labelled "Comments" page, alongside the clearly-labelled "About/Contact" page.
*We Americans are the new kids on the block in a very old neighbood*
Harold, you Americans aren't as 'new' as you think. The history of mass murder at the hand of your country goes back more than 200 years - first at home (check out quotes from the likes of Washington, Jefferson and JQ Adams 'defending' the use of mass murder to extirpate native Americans) to the present day. Basically Ward Churchill summed it up when he said American history can be characterized by senseless butchery and democracy deterred. This in no way excuses mass death inflicted on the poor by European elites, but any notion that the US is 'excused' for many of the horrors it has inflicted on the unfortunates over the past centuries is absurd.
As for Robert Shone, Josh D and other IBC supporters, how 'magnanimous' of them to argue that the death toll in Iraq as a result of the invasion might 'only' be 200,000. Of course this ignores the ongoing suffering inflicted on Iraq, through destruction of the country's civilian infrastructure, ravaged first through the 'sanctions of mass destruction' which certainly left hundreds of thousands dead in their wake, followed by the illegal invasion. And what about the recent study reporting the effects of the American assault on Falluja? What about depleted uranium? Unexploded cluster bombs? Or the non-controversial figure of 2-4 million internally displaced refugees?
What irks me the most is that the people at IBC and their supporters, like Robert Shone, should be batting on the same team as the Lancet authors and Opinion Business Research in highlighting the utter devastation inflicted on Iraq since 1991. But all I see from the IBC crew are attempts to defend lower estimates of the death toll - as horrific as that would be anyway - whilst apparently ignoring the slow and indirect death toll mounting as a result of US and UK policies against Iraq going back 20 years. Where is the rage agains those who are culpable for this destruction? Why does it seem to me that it is directed mostly against three studies whose estimates do not tally with their own?
As for Robert Shone, Josh D and other IBC supporters, how 'magnanimous' of them to argue that the death toll in Iraq as a result of the invasion might 'only' be 200,000.
Jeff puts the word "only" in quotes, but it's his word, not mine or IBC's. For me, the case against war is that just one death is too high. There's no "only" about it.
Good. That's a start. Now we are getting somewhere. But I still have some questions for you:
Why did IBC not wholly condemn George Bush and Tony Blair when they quoted IBC figures in an attempt to 'downplay' the carnage? Both leaders knew that the Lancet studies had been published, and I suppose their advisers and government planners thought that the best way to 'manage the outrage' in PR terms was to (1) cite the much lower IBC figures, and (2) attribute most of the deaths to Iraqis.
I waited with baited breath for a rebuttal from IBC after their figures were cited by the two war criminals in chief, and yet (correct me if I am wrong) I saw and heard nothing.
I also would like to know how many people Robert thinks died as a result of the sanctions that former chief of humanitarian aid for the UN Denis Haliday described as 'genocidal'. His replacement after he resigned, Hans von Sponeck, also later resigned for the same reason. So Robert, combine the effects of (1) the first war, which targeted the civilian infrastructure, (2) the sanctions [1991-2003], and (3) the 2003 invasion, including the ongoing suffering and deaths it has caused, as well as the displacement of millions of people, and how many Iraqi civilians do you think have died and will die because of all 3? My guuess is that it will exceed a million by a long, long way.
Most importantly, why concentrate your ire on the Lancet studies, OBR, and (for those not aware of it here) Media lens? The latter are just exposing western media hypocrisy with respect to the war and other conflicts, where atrocities that result from our policies are downplayed or ignored and those from non-alinged regimes are endlessly analysed and condemned.
"I think that was based on their view that ILCS provided the most reliable estimate at the time. Since then IFHS was published, which seems to have confirmed their earlier-stated views. Incidentally, the first Lancet survey (2004) estimated 57,600 violent deaths - roughly three times the number that IBC counted over the same period."
The IFHS estimate is in almost perfect agreement with the first Lancet survey on violent deaths (taking the version where Fallujah is excluded). They both say about 100 violent deaths per day in the first 18 months. So the opposition to Lancet1 by IBC supporters in 2005-2006 now seems misplaced.
"I don't recall that he was ever willing to entertain that possibility here."
I don't either. I think I recall that Sloboda was willing to concede up to 3 or 4 times IBC, but JoshD said he thought that was way too generous. That might have been at medialens. Maybe the IFHS study changed his mind.
"At the end of the day the fact is that the Blairs and Kaplans have won this particular argument. There's no great incentive to conduct new studies. Most history books, insofar as they attempt to quantify Iraqi deaths at all, will contain the low numbers."
Not sure about the history books, but in the American press that's how it is. You've got a choice between "tens of thousands" or 100,000 deaths for the Iraq War. But the BBC report linked above was reasonably balanced, IMO.
The IFHS estimate is in almost perfect agreement with the first Lancet survey on violent deaths (taking the version where Fallujah is excluded).
Whereas the second Lancet survey estimates 450,000 more violent deaths than IFHS for the same period surveyed. Did Les Roberts ever retract his assertion that Lancet 1 and Lancet 2 supported each other?
> I guess you didn't spot the clearly-labelled "Comments" page, alongside the clearly-labelled "About/Contact" page.
I did, but all I saw on those pages are a contact form and your claim about how receptive you are to other people's comments unlike everyone else who's closed-minded. Given how open-minded you claim to be to others' feedback, it's a bit strange that your blog doesn't show, um, other people's comments.
So, what's with your weird comments 'policy' of banning comments everywhere while crowing about how receptive you are?
"Whereas the second Lancet survey estimates 450,000 more violent deaths than IFHS for the same period surveyed. Did Les Roberts ever retract his assertion that Lancet 1 and Lancet 2 supported each other?"
I'm not going to defend Les Roberts. It seems to me that the more extreme partisans on both sides were pretty good at emphasizing some facts and ignoring or deemphasizing others.
The more partisan Lancet supporters emphasized the fact that the total excess death toll for the first 18 months was in agreement (IIRC), but deemphasized the fact that Lancet2 attributed nearly all the excess deaths to violence, while Lancet1 had it roughly 50/50. Lancet critics praise the IFHS report without ever mentioning its close agreement with Lancet1 and without mentioning that they were harsh critics of that 57,000 violent death figure back in 2005-2006. Are there any Lancet critics, any at all, who will say that they were wrong to be so skeptical of the 100 violent deaths per day figure back when L1 came out?
So, what's with your weird comments 'policy' of banning comments everywhere while crowing about how receptive you are?
Banning? I think you're confusing me with the website which you're clearly a disciple of (Medialens), since your falsehood about my not allowing comments originated with them (almost word for word). Here are some recent comments at my blog: http://dissident93.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/quotes-to-cogitate/
"e more partisan Lancet supporters emphasized the fact that the total excess death toll for the first 18 months was in agreement (IIRC), but deemphasized the fact that Lancet2 attributed nearly all the excess deaths to violence"
Actually, that came out a little harsher than I meant. If someone pointed out that the total excess death toll in L1 and L2 was in agreement while conceding that the two studies had a different breakdown for violent and nonviolent deaths and then pointed out that given the error bars, there was rough agreement, as far as I can tell that was the simple truth. But I've never seen an L2 critic say that they were wrong to come down so hard on L1, given that a completely different study supported L1's violent death toll.
So the opposition to Lancet1 by IBC supporters in 2005-2006 now seems misplaced.
As I recall, this "opposition" was not to the L1 study itself (or to its 57,600 violent deaths estimate), but mostly to ill-informed claims surrounding it - eg that it showed IBC was out by a "factor of ten or more", or that IBC was the lowest figure of "eight" studies, etc.
Some of the more extreme anti-IBC campaigners framed the debate in way that made one think IBC was in "opposition" to L1 merely by existing. (They called for IBC to be "shut down").
Also, if you look at IBC's own press release on L1 you'll see no "opposition" to it at all: http://www.iraqbodycount.org/analysis/beyond/lancet100000/
I have here
1. a snapshot of your supposed blog post on other people's comments (written by yourself) which has no comments form, and where the comments you choose to publish happen to be from people you like;
2. a snapshot of your "Comments" page where you claim you're extremely open-minded and receptive to criticism, but which contains no comments from other people as well as no comments form; and
3. a snapshot of your blog's front page, which says "comments closed" everywhere.
Should we believe you, or should we believe our lying eyes?
Thanks for the off-topic snapshots, Frank. On my comments page there's a contact email and link to contact form - either can be used. Wordpress-comments is deactivated (because it's rubbish), hence the automatic "comments closed" caption. http://dissident93.wordpress.com/comments/
Your attempts to smear me are interesting considering that your falsehood about my not allowing comments originated with Medialens (almost word for word). I recently invited Medialens (email, 18/10/10) to respond to my criticisms - even offered to include their comments in any form of their choosing. But they've chosen not to respond. See also:
> Thanks for the off-topic snapshots, Frank.
How can it be off-topic when you bring up your strawman concern trolling, Bob (short for Kate?)?
> Your attempts to smear me are interesting
and successful. This is what happens when you're a lying concern troll. You have refused to allow comments.
Of course they've not responded. You're nobody but a blowhard.
> At the end of the day the fact is that the Blairs and Kaplans have won this particular argument. There's no great incentive to conduct new studies.
Because big companies made big money from the war. If, like climate change mitigation, there had been significant potential losses at some time in the near future, you can BET there'd be plenty more studies into the war and the lies spread about it.
> I speak for most of us down home folks
Seems appropriate for you:
> You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons.
Problem here is that you assume that everyone thinks like you therefore the reprehensible cannot be true, since YOU'RE ALL AMERICANS. And they're the GOOD guys, yeah?
But you're a small clique and you're not the good guys. Just because you can find someone who is worse than you doesn't mean you're not an incarnation of evil.
For anyone interested, I've uploaded a clipping of Science journal's coverage of the Wikileaks material (it's available only by subscription elsewhere). It mentions IBC, Lancet 2006, IFHS, etc.
IBC was subtly denigrating about L1 in their 2005 two year summary--I won't look for the link. And at this blog and medialens, Joshd didn't give an inch to L1. The vitriolic response to L1 was based on the notion that there was no way that the true violent death toll could be several times higher than IBC's. IBC later upped their death toll for the period through Sept 2004 up to 19,000, I think, but when L1 was written it was around 15,000, and people compared that number to L1's 98,000 for all causes and said "no way". Where I'd acknowledge blame on the L1 side was that comment in the paper that most of the casualties came from US air strikes--which was only true if you took the Fallujah cluster as representative. That muddied the waters on all sides, because people would think that the widely cited 98,000 dead figure meant 98,000 dead mainly from US air strikes. But still, I never saw a single L1 critic who said "98,000 dead mostly from US air strikes is unbelievable, but the true violent death toll could in fact be several times greater than IBC's." JoshD spent his time here arguing that there was an unbridgeable gap between L1 and the UNDP report that gave 24,000 dead by March 2004.
> Thanks for the off-topic snapshots, Frank.
You asked people to reply to you on your blog, and yet when I popint out that you've disabled comments everywhere on your blog, suddenly it's 'off-topic'?
> Wordpress-comments is deactivated (because it's rubbish),
Umm, do you know that
1. wordpress.com has a facility for keeping comments in moderation, and
2. it also has a facility for automatically allowing comments from previously cleared commenters, and
3. it has blacklists for flagging comments for moderation or the spam bin, and
4. on top of that, its spam detection is actually quite good?
I actually used to host my blog at wordpress.com, and I never had any problem with keeping out spam, or keeping out trolls, or letting through informative comments.
Again, what's with your blog's comments policy of 'let's ban everything with extreme prejudice except on this one page but even then'? That's a pretty weird way to express your supposed open-mindedness to negative feedback, isn't it?
Honestly, have you ever tried customizing the comments policy to anything else? You might be pleasantly surprised.
* * *
Also, you said:
> your falsehood about my not allowing comments originated with them [Medialens] (almost word for word)
And now you're saying,
> considering that your falsehood about my not allowing comments originated with Medialens (almost word for word)
Hmm. Almost word for word. Projection much?
* * *
Wow nails it:
> This is what happens when you're a lying concern troll. You have refused to allow comments.
> Of course they [Medialens]'ve not responded. You're nobody but a blowhard.
The vitriolic response to L1 was based on the notion that there was no way that the true violent death toll could be several times higher than IBC's
But that wasn't a response to L1. It was a response to the misinformed idea that L1 showed IBC was out by a factor of 5-10. Note the way in which the 2005 IBC report (which you describe as "subtly denigrating") correctly describes the violent death count of L1, which was around three times that of IBC's count for the period in question (17,687):
This produced a nation-wide estimate of 98,000 deaths between 19 March 2003 and mid-September 2004, of which 57,600 would have been due to violence and the remainder caused by accidents, infections and chronic diseases (based on the breakdown of causes seen in their reduced sample).
The 2005 IBC report continues:
A highly creditable and often overlooked aspect of the Lancet survey is that it systematically obtained information on post-invasion âexcess deathsâ from all causes, including the everyday deaths that donât make the
news. Such efforts should be joined. http://tinyurl.com/ibc-2005
I can't see anything at all in that report which remotely "denigrates" L1.
Yes, some of the debate among individuals on forums got heated, but you have to ask who started it all, and why. Where was the vitriol prior to Medialens's vitriolic accusations which began in early 2006? In fact there was no vitriol and no IBC-related accusations before Medialens started their malicious and ill-informed campaign.
I saved many of those old Medialens message-board debates to disk (the IBC-bashing ones, which went on for two months before Josh even posted a word there). IBC were accused of being "silent" for months. Silent vitriol? Those Medialens "discussions" make interesting reading. You're a regular participant in many of them, Donald - but I recall you were milder in your criticisms of IBC than the frothing-at-the-mouth Medialens horde were.
You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons.
Typical arrogant elitist city slicker. Modern farmers are not morons. If they were, they would not last long in the farming business.
You know squat about us Americans. As I have said, we don't care what the Old World people say or write about us.
Everybody bad-mouths America and the Americans until they emigrate.
Re: MediaLens, Robert says:
*But they've chosen not to respond*
Probably because they don't think that you are worth the effort. I can see their point.
As expected, you did not answer my last post at all but, as expected, laid into Media Lens. In contrast with your own arguments, I do not think in any way that you, Slobaoda or IBC have undermined the arguments they put forward. *You think* you have, but that is only your opinion. Many others would disagree.
My last point remains: IMHO you and IBC unleashed more of your apparent wrath on Media Lens and the Lancet studies than on the toll inflicted on the civilian population of Iraq by the sanctions and combined effects of two wars. Methinks this is because there were egos at stake, mostly yours and Sloboda's when the Lancet studies briefly toomk attention away from IBC. Like many others, I think David Edwards and David Cromwell at ML did a great job in their critiques of IBC and at the profound silence that ensued when the IBC results were used by the war party and its supporters to downplay the carnage in Iraq.
Like it or not, Robert, Media Lens is gaining in popularity because of its fantastic job in exposing media hypocrisy and selectivity and in the way it downplays western crimes.
>"Everybody bad-mouths America and the Americans until they emigrate."
Very true. I find Americans who have had enough of their country and emigrated to be far more likeable, sensible, and easier to get along than those who remain there...
Probably because they [Medialens] don't think that you are worth the effort.
In fact they've put more effort into responding to me (a mere nobody with a blog) than in responding to the Daily Mail (a newspaper which spews lies to millions daily). And they've put more effort into smearing IBC than in criticising the whole of the rightwing press put together.
The last time they put a lot of effort into responding to me (they wrote a long-winded 'alert' about my blog), George Monbiot wrote this to them:
I have just read the response that Robert Shone makes to your latest Media Alert. I found it rather more persuasive than the alert, but I would say that, wouldn't I? One of the things I learnt from it is that Medialens does not allow him to post messages on this board. So here is another question for the editors: is this true, and if so why? Doubtless you would like to answer this question by issuing another Media Alert or, if you prefer, by taking out a full-page advert in the Times. Alternatively you could just explain it here.
Those who might wish to read what Robert Shone has to say, rather than simply dismissing or vilifying him, can do so here:
With best wishes,
They always put effort into responding when they imagine they can win the argument. They even spend a lot of time responding to the likes of Oliver Kamm. But they are unable to respond to (for example) my ZNet article listing their errors on IBC - because they realise that no amount of rhetoric will convince people that they weren't clearly and repeatedly in error. http://tinyurl.com/medialens-errors
Wows description of you as a "Concern troll" strikes me as being accurate. You have invested a lot of energy (for some strange reason) in defending IBC and their clearly flawed estimates of civilian deaths in Iraq, responding repeatedly to Medialens, and much less effort in highlighting the fact that the death toll in Iraq has been horrendous and unneccesary, whatever it may be. What about the sanctions of mass destruction? The ongoing suffering? Why is your apparent rage so focused on those estimating higher death tolls than IBC, with its clearly flawed methodology?
You have failed, time and time again, to answer this simple question, which suggests, to me at least, that Wow`s definition of you is quite appropriate. At the same time, I commend the team at Medialens for highlighting what IMO is clear hypocrisy on the part of IBC, who seem more intent on defending their lower estimates of civilian deaths in Iraq from the higher L1, L2 and OBR estimates than on condemning the war party.
Sorry to say this Robert, but you and IBC lost credibility in the eyes of many, with the possible exception of the corporate MSM and those defending the invasion, a long time ago.
Thanks, Jeff. I refer you to the passage I quoted from George Monbiot:
Those who might wish to read what Robert Shone has to say, rather than simply dismissing or vilifying him, can do so here: http://dissident93.wordpress.com/2008/12/05/full-reply-to-medialens/ With best wishes, George
I also refer you to IBC's rationale: http://www.iraqbodycount.org/about/rationale/
> Typical arrogant elitist city slicker
Typical response of an ignorant moron.
You are a minority of Americans. You project your poisonous attitude on others based merely on perception that if they live in the bondooks like you, they MUST think like you (because then your poison is no problem: "everyone does it").
Robert, I'd have to go back and reread the 2005 report, but that's what initially made me somewhat disgusted with IBC--up to that point I'd taken them seriously when they said that their methodology would only pick up a fraction of the deaths , but they seemed excessively attached to the wonders of their methodology, almost unwilling to admit it could be flawed. It left a bad taste in my mouth.
JoshD here never acknowledged that the 57,000 number was reasonable--he tried to show it was inconsistent with the UNDP report. I remember seeing a news report where Sloboda admitted a number as high as 4 times IBC was possible. If IBC and its representatives had consistently stuck to that position, personally I wouldn't have had much of a problem with them.
As for the medialens people, yeah, you often get overheated arguments online. It goes with the territory. But JoshD was partly to blame there. And anyway, that's a side issue, important though it might seem to those of us who get a bit too involved in these online catfights. What was important in the bigger political picture was that people like Kaplan and others thought L1 was totally out of bounds--it certainly wasn't clear to the mainstream press (in the US at least) and rightwingers anywhere that L1's number was in fact a perfectly reasonable estimate, not falsified at all by IBC's count.
And we've got people like Michael O'Hanlon saying as though it were confirmed fact that Saddam caused far more deaths in the 80's than the Iraq War has. That's what happens when estimates (or even guesstimates) of deaths are accepted for the crimes of our enemies, but conservative bodycounts are used for our own crimes.
I'd have to go back and reread the 2005 report, but that's what initially made me somewhat disgusted with IBC
Perhaps you should go back and reread it, because some of your claims about it (eg that it "denigrates" L1) are inconsistent with what it actually says. http://tinyurl.com/ibc-2005
So Robert, when did the opinions of George Monbiot become the 'bottome line' when estimating the civilian death toll in Iraq?
Do not get me wrong, I admire many of George's views, but in this one it is my contention that he is wrong.
I think the views of Patrick Ball sum it up well as described by Medialens in one of their alerts:
*Consider that a study of deaths in Guatemala from 1960 to 1996 by Patrick Ball et al at the University of California, Berkeley (1999) found that numbers of murders reported by the media in fact decreased as violence increased. Ball described the âproblem of relying on the journalistic recordâ in evaluating numbers killed*
Bingo. And, as I have said before, what struck me was that the mainstream media and war party increasingly used IBC figures to estimate civilian deaths in Iraq only aftger the Lancet, OBR et al began suggesting that the toll was a lot higher. At the same time, I saw little evidence at the time of frustration in the IBC camp that their figures were actually being used to *downplay* the carnage by those who were either involved in the invasion (e.g. US and UK governments) or had provided support (the media). Instead, these abuses of IBC figures were, from my pewrspective, greeted with resounding silence from the IBC. Why was this? IMO it stemmed from the fact that they were being given media coverage, irrespective of the motives, and they liked it. Had they vigorously responded by condemining the abuse of their data to support the invasion, I wouyld have been more sympathetic, but as far I can tell they did not.
Bear in mind that IBC came in from the cold only after the first lancet study came out. Until then, IBC had been attacked for estimating the civilian death toll in Iraq by those who supported tyhe invasion. But after Lancet 1 was published, everythign suddenly changed and public relations became the name of the game. In PR terms, the most important aspect has always been to "manange the outrage". I am sure that government planners and advisers, in using perception management techniques, realized that death tolls above some threshold affect public opinion in the west much more than lower rates. At the time, IBC figures seemed high, but L1 and especially L2 figures suggested that the west was cuplable in crimes that were much worse than even the IBC figures suggested. This may explain why I saw IBC shift from from a pariah to a reputable NGO in the space of only a few months.
Another point I would like to make is that I always wonder why there is such debate over the death tolls occurring as a result of western crimes, but that these debates rarely crop up when the victims are those of 'offically designated enemies'. For instance, the number of victims of Saddam's regime has led to a range of estimates, with some politicians and pundits often coming up with astronomically high numbers (e.g. millions) if it suited their agenda. In spite of this, I saw little in the way of denial from the westerm media and governments when these estimates were made; heck, it was the last Labour government that publicly made some of these estimates. But when we are the perpetratoes, the carnage is generally downplayed or ignored using whatever means to do so.
> But when we are the perpetratoes, the carnage is generally downplayed or ignored using whatever means to do so.
German officers were executed for the crime of waging an aggressive war.
When the victors of that are the victors this time, no such trial.
And George still hasn't made up for his travesty with the CRU emails and the unwarranted attack on the CRU (IMO fueled by his desire for seeing the FOIA remain untarnished), so it's not like George is a darling.
However, as you point out, nothing about what George has done makes Kate's refusal to allow comments on his forum any less hypocritical in face of his continued "concern" for the lack of openness on "teh establishment".
I think my memory of the 2005 IBC report has blended with a later one where they did a direct attack on L1 (contrasting it with the UNDP report). But I was disgusted by the 2005 report because it seemed to me they took their numbers too seriously and did not sufficiently emphasize both how low they were likely to be and also how biased the breakdown of deaths was likely to be given their reliance on reporters. For instance, there's a table showing month by month who was killing civilians and except in the first two months and during the two assaults on Fallujah, the coalition is shown as killing less than one civilian per day or around 20 per month, sometimes less, sometimes more. I'm not going to look it up, but according to numbers in the Brookings Institute (and from what I remember elsewhere), the US claimed it was killing hundreds of "insurgents" per month. Now we know from some cases (Haditha) that some civilians reported killed by insurgents were killed by the US and we know that sometimes civilians killed by the US were reported as insurgent (the Wikileaks film some months back, for example) and anyway, all past experience with guerilla wars shows that the occupying armies invariably lie about both who dies and who did the killing--in Vietnam there was. There were estimates that 70-90 percent of the Iraqis in Abu Ghraib were not insurgents. It would have been nice if IBC had strongly emphasized that one of the drawbacks to relying on media reports is that often reporters (especially embedded ones) merely pass on what they are told because they're in no position to do otherwise and in some cases don't wish to (for fear of appearing unpatriotic). Here, by the way, is an article related to this about Vietnam--
I largely agree with Jeff's 8:35 post. In fact, just before the latest Wikileaks documents came out, the NYT was actually going back to numbers that were lower than IBC's--the Iraqi government had put out somewhat lower figures and one commonly read "tens of thousands" for the number of Iraqi deaths. IBC did become the go-to place for the US press after L1 came out and I expected them to come out emphasizing the fact that even their maximum number might be several times too low and that the breakdown of who killed whom was also likely to be unreliable (due in part to the fact that it would be difficult to prove that some "insurgent" the US killed was really a civilian).
I think my memory of the 2005 IBC report has blended with a later one where they did a direct attack on L1 (contrasting it with the UNDP report).
A "direct attack" or "subtly denigrating"? Make your mind up. Which report are you talking about, exactly? I don't recall any IBC report making a "direct attack" on L1.
Maybe more than one incident is being recalled, Kate...
For instance, the number of victims of Saddam's regime has led to a range of estimates, with some politicians and pundits often coming up with astronomically high numbers (e.g. millions) if it suited their agenda.
Of course, these estimates always include military victims of the Iran-Iraq war. The IBC leaves out military victims of the US-UK-Australian invasion.
Here's an attack on L1 by IBC. Most of JoshD's own posts pre L2 were attacks on L1 and he's one of the authors of the report I link here.
I don't really get what your stand is, Robert. Each time you respond to me you single out some particular point that you think is wrong and ignore the parts of my posts that I think matter, as though all that matters is who was right and who was wrong in the stupid medialens arguments. I think both sides were partly right and partly wrong. I got too heated myself sometimes. Does this mean you agree that I have legitimate points otherwise? I mean, it was obvious to anyone who paid attention in 2004-2006 that L1 was attacked by critics who said that the true death toll was much lower than what L1 claimed, citing IBC among others. IBC itself (or the members) seemed to go back and forth. JoshD in the link above is trying to show (as he did here) that the ILCS study was inconsistent with L1. People here The most important point, it seems to me, is what I've said several times without hearing you agree or disagree--there's fairly good reason to think the true death toll is a few times higher than IBC's number, but one simply doesn't see that conveyed in the American press.
IBC and the Lancet team aren't the important issue here, or they shouldn't be. The important issue is about intellectual and moral consistency--the press should fairly describe the methods used to derive all casualty estimates, and not use conservative bodycount methods for US-caused atrocities and methods that produce larger numbers for enemy atrocities. Which I've said several times now, to the point where even I'm bored with repeating myself.
I got distracted and forgot to finish the sentence. People here will be familiar with the attempt in that IBC link to establish a gap between ILCS and the L1 estimate. If I recall correctly, it later turned out that the ILCS estimate didn't include some of the most violent areas in Iraq, because they were too dangerous for the interviewers.
"I recall correctly, it later turned out that the ILCS estimate didn't include some of the most violent areas in Iraq, because they were too dangerous for the interviewers."
I didn't mean to print that--I wanted to have a link for it, but so far my googling for one hasn't succeeded.
Here's an attack on L1 by IBC.
That's not an attack on L1. It contains criticisms of things Les Roberts said outside L1, and some mentions of L1 (in similar terms to the 2005 report, which you now seem to admit wasn't "denigrating" or an "attack" - unless your memory's still playing tricks).
I don't really get what your stand is, Robert.
My "stand" is that I think you should get the facts right.
It is you who ought to get his facts straight. Here is John Sloboda speaking in 2006:
*Some critics of the Lancet study have said it's like a drunk throwing a dart at a dartboard. It's going to go somewhere, but who knows if that number is the bulls eye.
Unfortunately many many people have decided to accept that that 98,000 figure is the truth - or the best approximation to the truth that we have*
*We've always said our work is an undercount, you can't possibly expect that a media-based analysis will get all the deaths. Our best estimate is that we've got about half the deaths that are out there*
If this isn't an 'attack' on L1, I do not know what is. This was also happening before the Media Lens furore. It seems to me that Sloboda and IBC were annoyed that a study in a top, peer-reviewed journal by experts in the field produced results that greatly exceedded their own and that they were more concerned about the credibility of IBC than of uncovering the true civilian death toll.
The IBC team also took exception to the fact that they were called 'amateurs', which seems surprising to me given that it seems that none of them are trained in the way that Roberts, Burnham and others are. If the shoe fits, wear it.
Most annoyingly, and this is a point you continually ignore, IBC never appeared to respond by the use of their database by the media or the US and UK governments to downplay the death toll in Iraq. If my data was being used to support something that I was strongly against, I would say so. IBC figures became 'accepted' pretty much at face value only after the L1 and especially L2 studies were published. As I have said several times, the western media, most of which were complicit as accessories in supporting the invasion based on lies and disinformation, were anxious to manage public percpetions by downplaying the death toll or by attributing most of the violence to Iraqis. This is when the IBC figures became the rule simply because their estimates were profoundly lower than those from L1, L2 and OBR. I was waiting for IBC to bitterly denounce abuse of their data by the war party but, as far as I can see, it never happened. Correct me if I am wrong. Instead, they spent more time trying (and failing IMO) to defend their figures which it must have been apparent to many anyway seriously underestimated the carnage.
Robert has little in the way of defence against these points. As I have said before, I salute Media Lens for exposing western hypocrisy, as well as that of the IBC. They have done a great job.
Here is John Sloboda speaking in 2006:
Yes, speaking in an interview. There are no "direct attacks" on L1 in any IBC report.
This was also happening before the Media Lens furore.
Let's see how many examples you can provide to support that falsehood.
Way to avoid the point by closing your eyes, Kate...
In the interview he specifically addresses the 98,000 estimate from L1 - and then makes a dumb remark about critics saying the the figure being like throwing a dart at a dart board, which is patently false, if one knows anything about statistics and confidence intervals.
Moreover, where was your indignation over the media smears of Roberts, Burnham and others when they were desperately trying to downplay the death toll? I think IBC gets off lightly by comparison. And for the 'nth' time, please explain to me why you think IBC was silent when Bush, Blair and the corporate media were using their mortality figures to downplay the death toll, at least when juxtaposed with L1, L2 and OBR. No, instead of responding to those abusing their estimates to downplay the civilian toll, IBC were writing lengthy rebuttals of the much higher estimates measured in L1 and L2 and also in refuting criticisms from ML. Methinks their frustration was misplaced, and it was at this time that I began to be much more critical of IBC.
Given that you avoid the most important comments by myself and others here, Robert, its clear that you have nix left to say. No wonder ML refuses to respond to you. They have bigger issues to address.
Jeff Harvey, your posts here typically consist of you giving lectures to people about what they should and shouldn't feel "indignation" or "rage" over. It's very repetitive and usually not very on-topic. Meanwhile you consistently show no regard for facts. And why do you keep referring to the ORB poll as "OBR"? Can you not demonstrate at least a minimum amount of care over these matters of detail while you lecture people on what they must think?
Kate, can you stop with the sockpuppets.
> Typical arrogant elitist city slicker
Actually, born in a rural, heavily agricultural town. Raised in another rural agribusiness town.
Of course it was an attack on L1, Robert. There was a context here. L1 was under heavy attack by defenders of the Iraq War and IBC comes out with a report that tries to establish that L1's number (the 57,000 figure) was probably too high. And JoshD was arguing that case much more forcefully here and other places.
"My "stand" is that I think you should get the facts right."
That's a weirdly hostile and evasive response. I tried to see if we had some beliefs in common, but you won't say, for some reason.
Of course it was an attack on L1, Robert.
Your assertions owe more to myth than to fact. I've searched every reference in it to L1 - there are no "attacks" on L1. The closest thing I could find to a so-called "attack" was the following:
The ILCS survey is superior to the Lancetâs on sample size, geographical distribution of samples, and number of deaths recorded.
So, IBC express a preference for ILCS, but they certainly don't "attack" or dismiss L1. In fact they go out of their way to emphasise that L1's findings are important and shouldn't be dismissed (eg see abstract and page 6 - they also did this in their 2004 press release and 2005 report). As for the "57,000 figure", here are the two references to it (excluding footnotes & appendix):
But data from the Lancet study itself shows that only a third of 57,600 violent deaths were due to criminal activity, leaving 38,400 combat-related violent deaths. A later re-analysis of Lancet data by the Small Arms Survey placed this figure at 39,000.
Of the 98,000 Lancet-estimated deaths applicable to the entire country outside Falluja, 57,600 were violent. Forty-three percent of the violent deaths were caused by US forces, 67 percent of them by air strikes.
The first was made in the context of comparing L1 to ILCS; the second in a comparison of US-caused deaths between IBC and L1. Neither of these contexts contains anything remotely resembling an "attack" on L1.
There was a context here. L1 was under heavy attack by defenders of the Iraq War...
You can invoke "context" all you like, but it doesn't change what's in the report.
You said earlier that your memory had "blended" two different reports - that this explained why your assertion about the 2005 IBC report was incorrect. I conclude from the above that your memory has blended fact and myth regarding the 2006 IBC report. Mostly myth, I think.
Or perhaps, like the misinformed at Medialens, you saw some of the criticisms of misleading statements made by Les Roberts about L1, from outside L1, and formed the incorrect impression that these were "attacks" on L1.
As Josh Dougherty commented in a Deltoid thread which discussed the above IBC report at length:
You say that Lancet reports five times as many deaths as IBC. This is not true. Roberts' own comparisons (excluding deaths from accidents or disease, which are the comparisons used in our own paper) show that the real difference is closer to three times. More generally, IBC is not "taking on the Lancet study" but various misinterpretations of it. http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/04/ibc_takes_on_the_lancet_study.p…
Go jump in the lake.
My posts were aimed at highlighting the apparent hypocrisy of IBC, which appeared to be much more critical of L1 and L2 but gave the war party a free pass when their own figures were (ab)used by the said war party to downplay the civilian toll in Iraq. And, if you understood even the basics of the PR industry going back to the time of Edward Bernays (ever heard of him?), then you'd understand that the main aim of PR has always been to "manage the outrage". Propaganda with respect to the initial war, which targeted the civilian infratructure of Iraq, the subsequent sanctions, which left more than 500,000 dead in their wake, and lastly the Iraq invasion and destruction of the country, was always aimed at western public opinion, and not anyone else, certainly not public opinion in Iraq.
As for ORB/OBR mistake, here are my humblest apologies for making such a profoundly important error.
> "My "stand" is that I think you should get the facts right."
> That's a weirdly hostile and evasive response.
Also rather hypocritical from someone who continues to avoid the facts of the death toll and IBC's under-reporting bias.
One would hope that someone demanding others get the facts right would first get their facts right or say they don't know the facts.
A new and comprehensive debunking of IBC estimates of the civilian toll in Iraq has been posted on the latest Media Lens alert. Its a great read.