Tuesday, March 27, 2007


When the press such as The Guardian reported the Lancet study on the number of civilian casualties in October 2006, the world was shocked by the number estimated, approximately 655,000. Yet at that time, both the U.S. and the U.K. tried to cast doubt on the validity and accuracy of the numbers, claiming that they were inflated and exaggerated. Owen Bennett-Jones writes for the BBC World Service:

"Shortly after the publication of the survey in October last year Tony Blair's official spokesperson said the Lancet's figure was not anywhere near accurate. He said the survey had used an extrapolation technique, from a relatively small sample from an area of Iraq that was not representative of the country as a whole. President Bush said: "I don't consider it a credible report." ""

Now Owen Bennett-Jones reports in the BBC World Service that the British Government at that time had cause to believe that the Lancet/John Hopkins study of the number of civilian casualties in Iraq was based on scientific methodology and rigorous statistical sampling. The BBC has secured a memorandum written by the chief scientific adviser of the U.K. Ministry of Defense in which the scientific adviser says the survey's modus operandi was "robust" and "best practice":

"The study design is robust and employs methods that are regarded as close to "best practice" in this area, given the difficulties of data collection and verification in the present circumstances in Iraq."

Another U.K. official admits at the time of the report's publication that, despite the official belittling by Blair and Bush, the study "could not be rubbished."

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