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Erratum, albeit obvious, in blog on Wkly Std piece on Lancet Iraq studies

By Michael Fumento

In my original blog, regarding my "The Casualties of War" Weekly Standard article, I wrote that the number of Iraqi dead Lancet 2006 attributed to car bombs per day was "111 times higher" than those of the antiwar group Iraqbodycount. That would be extreme, even for The Lancet. Or maybe not. As it happens, Iraqbodycount found "111 more," not 111 times more.

January 31, 2008 11:46 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq ~ Media ~ Military

Yes, Lancet lied about Iraq war deaths (My Wkly Std article)

By Michael Fumento

When The Lancet came out with its 2004 "pre-election surprise" study claiming a massive number of war-related Iraqi deaths since the invasion, I and others immediately poked so many holes in it that it resembled a spaghetti strainer. Undaunted, two years later the same journal published another pre-election surprise study alleging a drastically-higher 655,000 excess deaths over a longer period, with 600,000 directly from violence.

Naturally, the media cheered until hoarse, featuring Lancet's numbers on 25 news shows and in 188 articles within a single week. Likewise for the leftist blogosphere like Daily Kos and Tim Lambert at Deltoid - who began a vendetta against me over it.

But now, as I discuss in my current Weekly Standard article, "The Casualties of War," complete with a plethora of hyperlinks, a new study co-conducted by the World Health Organization (hardly an Iraq war booster) and appearing in America's most prestigious medical journal, directly compares itself with Lancet 2006. It also uses as comparison numbers kept by the antiwar group IraqBodyCount. The comparisons show the real carnage is whatever was left of the Lancet's reputation and that of its editor, who screeches about "Anglo-American imperialism" at anti-war rallies.

Perhaps most importantly, for the latest comparable reporting period, the new study found Lancet's numbers to be SEVEN TIMES its own.

The WHO's Iraq Family Health Study (IFHS) "found an estimated 151,000 excess violent deaths from the U.S-led invasion in March 2003 through June 2006, when compared to violent deaths in the prewar period," I note. "This is roughly one-fourth the war-related deaths found by Lancet in 2006."

Specifically, for the last comparable year, "the IFHS daily figure was 2.3 times higher than that of IraqBodyCount, (while) the Lancet 2006 daily figure was a stunning 7.3 times higher than that of the IFHS and 17 times higher than that of IraqBodyCount."

Nonetheless, the research leader for both the Lancet studies insists the IFHS findings are consistent with Lancet 2006! He's said the same of the only "study" to find a higher number than The Lancet, a British poll last year concluding over 1.2 million Iraqis had been "murdered." Die-never defenders like Lambert likewise assert that all three studies are consistent. In short, no study can possibly find so few or so many deaths that somehow it doesn't somehow support The Lancet.

Yet one hardly need to look at outside studies to find Lancet 2006 is B.S. Consider just this.

Lancet 2006 attributed an amazing 166 deaths on average per day to car bombings alone from June 2005-June 2006. These bombings are fastidiously reported in the U.S. media and Wikipedia keeps a list of the major ones. Yet the highest single-day car bomb total Wikipedia records (114) is 42 short of Lancet's alleged average. Lancet's daily car bomb victim average is also 111 more than Iraq Body Count figure for war-related deaths from all causes. How could IraqBodyCount miss all those bodies?

Are the MSM now admitting to having been duped - assuming "dupe" is the proper word?

Get real. "WHO Says Iraq Civilian Death Toll Higher Than Cited" screamed the title of The New York Times article.

ERRATUM: In the original blog, I wrote that the number of Iraqi dead Lancet 2006 attributed to car bomb victims per day was "111 times higher" than Iraqbodycount. That would be extreme, even for The Lancet. Or maybe not. As it happens, it's "111 more," not 111 times more.

January 28, 2008 02:25 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq ~ Media ~ Military

Cal. study gets vaccines off hook again for autism

By Michael Fumento

Grant the anti-childhood vaccine fanatics this; they are dogged. As I write in The American Spectator Online, "Absolutely no amount of data and no number of studies from any array of sources will sway them from their beliefs - or claimed beliefs - that thimerosal, a mercury-containing vaccine preservative once used in many such injections, is causing the so-called "autism epidemic."

Therefore a California Department of Public Health study in the current Archives of General Psychiatry hasn't either. It shows absolutely no decrease in the rate of increased autism diagnoses, notwithstanding that thimerosal was discontinued in childhood vaccines in 2001. (I include a graph that makes the point abundantly clear.) Yet not only did the nut cases claim the California data would eventually prove their case, they even claimed it already had.

For the rest of us there are two valuable lessons. First, the lack of a thimerosal connection to the developmental disorder has once again been reaffirmed. And second, those fanatics really and truly are fanatical - as a British Medical Journal book reviewer put it, an "angry and paranoid universe."

I've already gotten a barge-load of nasty e-mail from this paranoid universe. See what's made them so incredibly angry.

January 22, 2008 05:21 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer) ~ Vaccines

I'm on ADHD medicine and it's great!

By Michael Fumento

A medical write wrote to me:

Hi Michael,

A little belatedly, I ran across your excellent article on the "hoax that is ADHD." :-)

I can't thank you enough for the excellent dissection. Five years ago, when I discovered that my scientist husband has ADHD and we both went through hell trying to coax decent care out of our very broken mental health care system - and some truly ignorant psychiatrists - I swore that others would benefit from my hard-won experience.

So, I've been volunteering almost full time - essentially a Peace Corps at Home stint - helping other people to understand this ridiculously common condition, especially in adults. At this point, after finishing a book so I can try easing out of doing so much volunteer work, I'm pretty much exhausted. But I've made my dent.

[Two paragraphs omitted.]

The idea that nutballs like Fred Baughman and overreaching egotists like Lawrence Diller (who has absolutely no clue about what happens when these children who are not treated grow up and leave the structure of "helicopter" parents) are the most prominent influences on the internet is appalling. So I really appreciate it when thinkers and writers like you put their focus on this subject.

Thank you,

I responded:

You're welcome. I started taking ADHD drugs a few months ago and it''s been wonderful. I've long known I have the problem, but I found lots of ways to cope. But it got to a point where I was simply blanking out and missing freeway ramps and stuff. That's not just frustrating; it's dangerous. And it's so nice not to be constantly mislaying things. Meanwhile my creativity hasn't been touched in the least bit. In other words, no, I am not a zombie thank you very much.

All the best,

January 20, 2008 02:45 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer) ~ Pharmaceuticals