Friday, October 29, 2004

# Posted 1:10 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

THE NEW MASS-MURDER IN IRAQ: A study just published in the Lancet, a prestigious journal of medicine, uses statistical methods to demonstrate that the United States is guilty of mass murder in Iraq. The article estimates that 100,000 Iraqis have been killed since the beginning of the war and that upwards of 80,000 died as a result of US airstrikes.

No, those aren't typos. The numbers are 100,000 and 80,000 respectively. Gilbert Burnham, one of the authors of the study, has provided some detailed comments about his methodology in an interview with Spencer Ackerman of The New Republic. (Hat tip: WAB)

Burnham's methods seem logical enough, although I have to admit that I am deeply, deeply skeptical of his results. Historically, only out-and-out carpet bombing, as in WWII or Vietnam, tends to have this kind of result. And one has to wonder how Western journalists failed to notice this alleged scale of destruction in Iraq. (NB: If you follow that link, make sure to read the comment by TM, which the second one down from the top.)

Rough estimates of bombing casualties from the first Gulf War, Kosovo war, and Afghan invasion are on the order of 3,000, 500 and 1,200 respectively. Of course, if this new study has any merit to it, we should probably revise those figures upwards by an order of magnitude.

That's all I have to say in the meantime. I guess we'll only know for sure that this story is bogus when Michael Moore starts to tell it.
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