I had trouble figuring out whether to put the Lancet's Iraqi casualty study under the "Foreign Affairs" category or the "Campaigns and Elections" category on this blog. I guess that means I'm questioning the timing. Well, who can blame me? Remember the last Lancet report, released in 2004?
But, timing or no, Iraqi casualties are a serious issue. It seems, however, from what I can tell from bloggers' analyses, my own bunk-meter, and the MSM's bear-hug of the story a month before an election, that the Lancet didn't exactly treat their research seriously.
The study is online now, so we can try to figure it out for ourselves. There oughtta be plenty of opinions to be had in no time at all. In the interim...
Jane Galt has a measured post on the numbers, and whethers they're too big.
Newsbusters covers news coverage.
Allah, who's not been as quick to cry foul on this than many righty bloggers, rounds up official reactions.
I'll read over this stuff more later. Civilian deaths are a serious matter. We should require the Lancet folks to report on them responsibly and we should ask ourselves to respond responsibly to their reports. That means diving into those numbers, and showing up the study's problems. Like it or not, the press will give credence to the numbers, no matter how flawed they might be. Just saying the study is "conveniently timed" is not enough to brush off the stats. Luckily, we have lots of smart people who are about to jump into those numbers, as Jane Galt already has.
I'll check back with more later.