Monday, January 14, 2008

"Objective" Study of Iraq: You Get What You Pay For?

'Everybody knows,' at least in the self-defined better circles, that the war in Iraq is an unqualified disaster. And, a study published last year in "The Lancet," a medical publication, proves it.

It should. George Soros, a 77-year-old billionaire who is as anti-war as any sixties campus activist, paid for about half of that study. And, just to make sure that the Lancet study came up with the right results, Columbia University's Les Roberts was in charge. Roberts seems to have been against the war from the get-go.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (home of the The MIT Anti-War Coalition) commissioned the study.

The Soros-Roberts study 'discovered' that 10 times as many people had died as a result of the Iraq war than "consensus estimates" of fatalities. Even "The New England Journal of Medicine" couldn't dig up more that 151,000 people killed in the war. That's less than the number that "The Lancet" study came up with.

Roberts says that his study wasn't at all affected by the anti-war billionaire's bankroll. I can't say that I blame him. Admitting that he was a researcher for hire would probably have a bad effect on his credibility - and career.

This could all be a coincidence: It's (barely) possible that a study that
  • Just happened to come up with a wildly high estimate of war dead
  • Just happened to have about half its expenses paid by an anti-war billionaire
  • Just happened to be led by a researcher who didn't approve of the war
  • Just happened to keep their sugar daddy under wraps until somebody found the money trail
There are too many "just happeneds" there for my comfort.

To be fair, there's nothing in the rules that says that MIT and all the rest have to tell us who pays for results like that.

"Anti-war Soros funded Iraq study," in the Sunday, January 13, 2008 "" (UK) has more details.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.