Jane Galt on the 655,000

You may have noted that the far-left British medical journal, The Lancet, speculated-as-fact last week that 655,000 Iraqis have died who would not have if Saddam Hussein had not been overthrown.

This seems to require the minimal assumption that Saddam would not have had any mental instability issues that would have caused a ramp-up in the feeding of Iraqis through his plastic shredders. Actually, The Lancet’s assumptions are far less tenable than that.

Jane Galt has three posts on the topic.

The numbers are too big

Daniel Davies throws down.

Yes, I’ve read the damn study. Have you, oh critic?

All worth reading.

You should also check Tim Blair on the methodology used in the Lancet study.

The actual number of Iraqi deaths recorded in Lancet’s latest study is just 547. Extrapolating from that figure, the study’s authors estimate:

… that as of July, 2006, there have been 654,965 excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war.

Let’s put Lancet’s number in perspective:

* It is larger than the total number of Americans killed during combat in every major conflict, from the Revolutionary War to the first Gulf War.

* It is more than double the combined number of civilians killed in the bombings of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki.

* It is a larger number than were killed in Germany during five years (and 955,044 tons) of WWII bombing.

Remember: Lancet came up with this via a survey that identified precisely 547 deaths (as reported by the New York Times). Interestingly, that information doesn’t appear here, or here, or here …

Lots more info in links in Blair’s post.