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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] Here's the response to the Lancet (100,000 excess deaths) report from the Prime Minister's spokesman. Anyone want to debunk it?: *** Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned about a survey published today suggesting that 100,000 Iraqi civilians had died as a result of the war in Iraq, the PMOS said that it was important to treat the figures with caution because there were a number of concerns and doubts about the methodology that had been used. Firstly, the survey appeared to be based on an extrapolation technique rather than a detailed body count. Our worries centred on the fact that the technique in question appeared to treat Iraq as if every area was one and the same. In terms of the level of conflict, that was definitely not the case. Secondly, the survey appeared to assume that bombing had taken place throughout Iraq. Again, that was not true. It had been focussed primarily on areas such as Fallujah. Consequently, we did not believe that extrapolation was an appropriate technique to use. *** Some quick thoughts: a) "it was important to treat the figures with caution because there were a number of concerns and doubts about the methodology that had been used." But do they deny that these are the best figures we have so far. Or another angle: has the government put together better figures? If not, why don't they care about casualty figures? b) "the survey appeared to be based on an extrapolation technique rather than a detailed body count." Said as if it is a bad thing. In Iraq, where there are so many no-go areas, it would be impossible to count every casualty. Attempts to do so, like Iraq Body Count, underestimate because the areas where people are being killed are the same areas journalists don't dare go. c) "In terms of the level of conflict, that was definitely not the case." In fact, the figure of 100,000 deaths *excludes* the area where conflict was most intense, namely Fallujah. They did collect figures for Fallujah which were much higher than for the other areas sampled. So they excluded the Fallujah figures from their extrapolations. If you include them - which is what the PMOS implies the problem is - you get a figure of (if I remember correctly) 200,000 excess deaths. So Garfield et al were being extremely cautious. d) "the survey appeared to assume that bombing had taken place throughout Iraq. Again, that was not true. It had been focussed primarily on areas such as Fallujah." Given the exclusion of Fallujah mentioned above, this is completely misleading. Or is the PMOS claiming that *all* 33 areas surveyed suffered significantly higher bombing than the rest of Iraq? If so, I'd like to see some evidence. e) Consequently, we did not believe that extrapolation was an appropriate technique to use. SOURCES: 1) lancet report - http://image.thelancet.com/extras/04art10342web.pdf 2) PMOS statement - http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page6535.asp 3) some other comments on the statement - http://www.downingstreetsays.org/archives/001007.html ------------ Daniel O'Huiginn email@example.com 07745 192426 24, Priory Road, Cambridge ------------ _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk