January 4, 2008

"the most important public health response -- is ending the war."

Remember the Lancet study that claimed that more than 600,000 Iraqis had died since the US invasion? It was not even close to any other mortality estimates, and was widely condemned as bad science motivated by politics. Now National Journal has an article suggesting that actual scientific fraud may have been involved!

I found this part on the politics of those involved very interesting. My guess, from watching such people closely since 2001, is that that they are deranged enough that they could jigger the figures and then sincerely believe that they were telling the "real truth," and not committing fraud.

...In fact, the funding came from the Open Society Institute created by Soros, a top Democratic donor, and from three other foundations, according to Tirman. The money was channeled through Tirman's Persian Gulf Initiative. Soros's group gave $46,000, and the Samuel Rubin Foundation gave $5,000. An anonymous donor, and another donor whose identity he does not know, provided the balance, Tirman said. The Lancet II study cost about $100,000, according to Tirman, including about $45,000 for publicity and travel. That means that nearly half of the study's funding came from an outspoken billionaire who has repeatedly criticized the Iraq campaign and who spent $30 million trying to defeat Bush in 2004.

Partisan considerations. Soros is not the only person associated with the Lancet studies who had one eye on the data and the other on the U.S. political calendar. In 2004, Roberts conceded that he opposed the Iraq invasion from the outset, and -- in a much more troubling admission -- said that he had e-mailed the first study to The Lancet on September 30, 2004, "under the condition that it come out before the election." Burnham admitted that he set the same condition for Lancet II. "We wanted to get the survey out before the election, if at all possible," he said.

"Les and Gil put themselves in position to be criticized on the basis of their views," Garfield concedes, before adding, "But you can have an opinion and still do good science." Perhaps, but the Lancet editor who agreed to rush their study into print, with an expedited peer-review process and without seeing the surveyors' original data, also makes no secret of his leftist politics. At a September 2006 rally in Manchester, England, Horton declared, "This axis of Anglo-American imperialism extends its influence through war and conflict, gathering power and wealth as it goes, so millions of people are left to die in poverty and disease." His speech can be viewed on YouTube.

Mr. Roberts tries to go to Washington. Roberts, who opposed removing Saddam from power, is the most politically outspoken of the authors. He initiated the first Lancet study and repeatedly used its conclusions to criticize Bush. "I consider myself an advocate," Roberts told an interviewer in early 2007. "When you start working documenting events in war, the public health response -- the most important public health response -- is ending the war."..

When he says "ending the war," he is telling a lie. He really means ending American involvement in the war. If the US pulled out of Iraq, and a million people died subsequently, that would not be "war." That would be "peace," and these animals would be preening themselves on "ending the war." (And you can bet your last nickel that there would never be any "Lancet studies" of those deaths!)

Posted by John Weidner at January 4, 2008 7:53 AM
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