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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Outright Lies

Of course, anyone who has a passing familiarity with the situation knew the Lancet study concerning Iraqi casualties was bogus and riddled with error. But now, it seems as if there is a possibility of outright fraud.

"The authors refuse to provide anyone with the underlying data," said David Kane, a statistician and a fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Statistics at Harvard University. Some critics have wondered whether the Iraqi researchers engaged in a practice known as "curb-stoning," sitting on a curb and filling out the forms to reach a desired result. Another possibility is that the teams went primarily into neighborhoods controlled by anti-American militias and were steered to homes that would provide information about the "crimes" committed by the Americans.

Fritz Scheuren, vice president for statistics at the National Opinion Research Center and a past president of the American Statistical Association, said, "They failed to do any of the [routine] things to prevent fabrication." The weakest part of the Lancet surveys is their reliance on an unsupervised Iraqi survey team, contended Scheuren, who has recently trained survey workers in Iraq.

This study would have been laughable, if it did not both give ammunition to the antiwar propagandists who have come within a hair's breadth of making America declare defeat and also do injustice to the actual Iraqis who have died horribly - mostly at the hands of the Enemy.


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