Here is the original article (in pdf)
Here is how one newspaper headlined it—
Survey says 600,000 have died in Iraq war
By Clive Cookson, Science Editor, and Steve Negus, Iraq Correspondent
Published: October 11 2006 17:37 | Last updated: October 11 2006 17:37
Disputed study claims 655,000 Iraqi deaths
POSTED: 2:57 a.m. EDT, October 11, 2006 CNN
Enormous death toll of Iraq invasion revealed
11 October 2006, NewScientist.com news service, Debora MacKenzie
One in 40 Iraqis ‘killed since invasion’
US and Britain reject journal’s finding that death toll has topped 650,000
Sarah Boseley, health editor, Thursday October 12, 2006, The Guardian
Iraq casualty figures open up new battleground
By Dan Murphy | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
“The possibility of introducing bias in any kind of survey is real, and you spend more time designing the survey to eliminate the sources of bias then actually carrying it out,” he says. “One of the real risks in this is that people report deaths that don’t occur, so we did ask for death certificates. And in 92 percent of cases, they were provided.”
To be sure, the researchers of the Lancet study says possible errors leave a range between a low of 392,979 additional deaths and a high of 942,636. The 601,000 figure is the median.
The commonly accepted numbers until now have been much lower than Lancet surveys. The Iraq Body Count, a website that tracks civilian deaths in the war by compiling data from news reports, estimates 48,000 deaths have been reported in the media, while the Iraq Index sponsored by the Brookings Institution in Washington has counted 61,000 civilian deaths. President Bush estimated 30,000 civilian deaths late last year.
- The Lancet paper on the Iraq War toll – http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasure/2006/10/ the_lancet_paper_on_the_iraq_w.php
presents some the background to the current study.
The purpose in presenting this here is to examine the science, the evidence.
What about the science? It doesn’t take much reflection to see that estimating mortality from an invasion with a disastrous and chaotic aftermath is no simple matter.
The Reveres are pretty good at asking the questions you should be asking of medical or health studies. What else could account for the results? If the alternatives are not feasible, then the study has greater validity, whether or not we “like” the results.
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