Archive for October, 2004
The Lancet, blunted
Yesterday The Gantelope wrote about The Lancet’s Iraqi casualty estimate of “8,000 more people and 194,000 more people may have died because of the war”. Lots of room for error there. Hardly surprising sinceAlthough the teams relied primarily on interviews with local residents, they also asked to see at least two death certificates at the end of interviews in each area. That means that in 30 areas with 30 interviews each, a total of 900 interviews (30 x 30), they only asked to see 60 death certificates (30 clusters x 2) — and, did they actually see those? Fred Kaplan in Slate points out,
It means that the authors are 95 percent confident that the war-caused deaths totaled some number between 8,000 and 194,000. (The number cited in plain language—98,000—is roughly at the halfway point in this absurdly vast range.)
This isn’t an estimate. It’s a dart board.
“The study purports to show civilian casualties 5 to 6 times higher than any other reputable source”, states Shannon Love and she explains why the methodology is off. She explains cluster samples, faulty assumptions (such as “violent deaths were widespread”), self-reporting, and the study’s statement, “Two-thirds of all violent deaths were reported in one cluster in the city of Falluja”, among other things. One of her commenters asked,
The lead author was an opponent of the war.
The lead author submitted it to the Lancet on the express condition that it be published before the election.
Do you suppose the guy might have a bit of bias of his own?
Tim Worstall takes The Lancet to task in his article The Lancet: A Casualty of Politics
. What is being said is that we don’t have enough information to be able to say anything meaningful about it. “Statistically insignificant” means “we don’t know”.
In effect, what has been found in this paper is nothing. Nada. Zip.
Except of course that one of the two leading medical journals in the world has published a piece of shoddy research four days before the US elections with the obvious motive of influencing them. Sad, that, and my apologies as an Englishman that it should be one of my countrymen who did such a thing.
It wasn’t just a Brit. The team included researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for International Emergency, Disaster and Refugee Studies as well as doctors from Al Mustansiriya University Medical School in Baghdad. Does that mean that Johns Hopkins and The Lancet now join the Guardian and CBS?
The internals must be looking really bad
Last evening on Fox News, Geraldine Ferraro, when asked about recent poll results, stated,
I don’t believe in polls
Watch FarenHYPE 9/11 this weekend, updated
I purchased a copy of FarenHYPE 9/11 through Overstock.com and received it yesterday afternoon. Apparently the DVD is also sold at Wal-Mart. You can rent it at Netflix, but that would take some waiting.
I urge every person reading this blog to watch this movie. If you’re interested in fairness, something I assure you Michael Moore doesn’t care for, you can download Farenheit 9/11 on line ( did that several weeks ago) and then watch FarenHYPE 9/11. Either way, watch FarenHYPE 9/11.
And I plead to Dick Morris, please release FarenHYPE 9/11 on line for free this weekend. Everyone should see this film.
Update Great minds think alike
So the Qaqaa’s dying on the vine, so to speak, and by now so much stuff has crossed the airwaves people won’t be surprised by much – even when the NJ Dems are trying to resurrect the Haliburton meme. Then last evening “Osama” turns up, and he’s channelling Michael Moore, no less, after obviously having processed and digested the lessons of Farenheit 9/11.
ObL: “I am telling you security is an important pillar of human life. And free people don’t let go of their security, contrary to Bush’s claims that we hate freedom.” MM: “They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen”.
ObL: “Bush is still practicing distortion and misleading on you” MM: Bush lied. “There’s a gullible side to the American people. They can be easily misled. Religion is the best device used to mislead them.”
ObL: “and obscuring the main reasons and, therefore, the reasons are still existing to repeat what happened before. I will tell you the reasons behind these incidents” MM: “DO YOU FEEL like you live in a nation of idiots?
ObL: “Here he [Bush Sr.] is being influenced by these regimes, royal and military” MM: The Bush family’s in cahoots with the Saudis (Farenheit 9/11)
ObL: “So he [Bush Sr.] transferred the oppression of freedom and tyranny to his son, and they call it the Patriot Law to fight terrorism”. MM: “The Patriot Act is the first step. “Mein Kampf” — “Mein Kampf” was written long before Hitler came to power. And if the people of Germany had done something early on to stop these early signs, when the right-wing, when the extremists such as yourself (Bob Novak), decide that this is the way to go, if people don’t speak up against this, you end up with something like they had in Germany. I don’t want to get to that point.”
ObL: “He was bright in putting his sons as governors in states, and he didn’t forget to transfer his experience from the rulers of our region to Florida to falsify elections to benefit from it in critical times.” MM: W stole the election, and “Unfortunately, Bush and Co. are not through yet. This invasion and conquest will encourage them to do it again elsewhere. The real purpose of this war was to say to the rest of the world, “Don’t Mess with Texas – If You Got What We Want, We’re Coming to Get It!”
ObL: “it seemed to distract his attention from listening to the girl telling him about her goat butting was more important than paying attention to airplanes” MM: My pet goat section of Farenheit 9/11
ObL: “Each state that doesn’t mess with our security has automatically secured their security.” MM: “There is no terrorist threat in this country.”
Osama couldn’t miss the opportunity to remind us that it’s American support of Israel that got him angry:
When the U.S. permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon with the assistance of the 6th fleet. In these hard moments, it occurred to me so many meanings I can’t explain, but it resulted in a general feeling of rejecting oppression and gave me a hard determination to punish the oppressors
and also stated he wants the US to be the next Sweden, or something like that.
I have thought ObL‘s dead, and until someone out there with credible credentials on biometrics does some serious research on this video — as was done with the Afghan lady‘s photos — I won’t believe ObL’s alive. If he’s alive, he’s obviously in a location where he can get to watch movies. Be that as it may, Belmont Club examines the situation with clarity
It is important to notice what he has stopped saying in this speech. He has stopped talking about the restoration of the Global Caliphate. There is no more mention of the return of Andalusia. There is no more anticipation that Islam will sweep the world. He is no longer boasting that Americans run at the slightest wounds; that they are more cowardly than the Russians. He is not talking about future operations to swathe the world in fire but dwelling on past glories. He is basically sayingif you leave us alone we will leave you alone. Though it is couched in his customary orbicular phraseology he is basically asking for time out.
The American answer to Osama’s proposal will be given on Election Day. One response is to agree that the United States of America will henceforth act like Sweden, which is on track to become majority Islamic sometime after the middle of this century. The electorate best knows which candidate will serve this end; which candidate most promises to be European-like in attitude and they can choose that path with both eyes open. The electorate can strike that bargain and Osama may keep his word. The other course is [my bold print] to reject Osama’s terms utterly; to recognize the pleading in his outwardly belligerent manner and reply that his fugitive existence; the loss of his sanctuaries; the annihilation of his men are but the merest foretaste of what is yet to come: to say that to enemies such as he, the initials ‘US’ will always mean Unconditional Surrender.
Osama has stated his terms. He awaits America’s answer.
Which, in plain English means, we’re winning the war on terror.
Awash in Hitchens’s irony
As a long-time Hitchens reader, I thought his Kerry endorsement was devastating, particularly this phrase, “ Kerry should be put in the pillory for his inability to hold up on principle under any kind of pressure“. Several others were puzzled, in view of his (slight) endorsement of Bush.
Harry was among the confused, so he wrote his nephew, who’s “in the third year of an Ironic Degree at Oxford”.
I didn’t know one could get an Ironic Degree. Questions arise as to whether there’s extra credit for sarcasm, or for puns (Iron Men majoring in Irony), or whether points are deducted for bad jokes (iron supplements for the Irony crowd, a new Geritol market?) but I digress. Back to Harry’s nephew.
The Irony major came to the conclusion that Hitchens’s “endorsement of Bush a few days ago is best interpreted as some kind of sophisticated double-bluff irony feinting manoeuvre, rendering today’s support for Kerry even wittier than it already would have been.”
If you can’t blind them with brilliance, baffle them with . . .
ABC News Report: Video Suggests Explosives Disappeared After US Took Control: Evidence Indicates US Military Opened Al-Qaqaa Bunkers, Left Them Unguarded, a report that came right after the same network’s Discrepancy Found in Explosives Amounts: Documents Show Iraqis May Be Overstating Amount of Missing Material. Jim Geraghty explains,
at first glance, it appears to make the case that when the 101st Airborne Division arrived on April 18, 2003, there was still a large supply of explosive materials in the facility.
But there are still a few problems with this story.
. . . Specifically there are 79 other substances and types of explosive material and supporting equipment that would get the 1.1 D label, including gunpowder, flexible detonating cord, photo-flash bombs, mines, nitroglycerin, rocket warheads, grenades, fuzes, torpedoes and charges. And few of them require any liquid dilution.
Is what’s on this news report video HMX, RDX, or PETN? Possibly, if the material inside is some sort of diluting liquid that we didn’t see on the tape, or if the Iraqis were storing these high-grade explosives in an unsafe manner. Or it could be one of the 79 other substances. Or some containers could have the big three, and some could have others.
As usual, it is foolish for folks to jump in and conclude that they know what was in the containers without gathering all of the facts. How many Kerry-backing writers who will cite this video as a smoking gun are familiar with what materials are classified 1.1D?
Problem two: This doesn’t quite explain the internal IAEA documents ABC reported that suggested that significant amounts were gone before the invasion began.
Problem three: This doesn’t quite explain the Pentagon’s satellite photos of large numbers of trucks leaving the facilities before the war.
Problem four: This doesn’t quite explain how all this could be taken down a road full of heavily armed U.S. forces, under skies full of coalition warplanes.
Problem five: This doesn’t quite explain why none of this explosive has to date shown up in any Iraqi insurgent attack
Belmont Club points out that the IAEA “had not actually looked inside the bunkers and seen the actual RDX during its last mission in March, 2003 but had had simply relied upon the existence of the seals for verification.”
while it is possible for about 350 tons of RDX to be lurking unremarked in the bunker outside the field of view visited by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, it is not likely. So the journalist’s pictures are it or nothing. If the boxes in the videos are not identified as containers of dual-use or IAEA controlled explosives, and are in fact merely ordinary munitions behind UN seal it will be devastating for Baradei.
. . .
A variety of scenarios are possible from this data. First, 350 tons of RDX were in the warehouse when 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS visited but no one recognized it and it was subsequently stolen, either carried off on foot by looters or loaded into dozens of flatbeds with no one the wiser. The second is that it was taken in the time between the departure of the IAEA staff and the arrival of US forces. The third was that it was already gone behind the flimsy seal even during the last UN inspection.
Yasser’s in Paris
No word as to whether he packed his Smurf hat.