There were 2 big Iraq stories last week. One was the General Dannat speaking out about the failure of our occupation and the need to withdraw. The second was the publication by a US medical think tank of studies (The Lancet).
The latter was completed on a very odd set of rules about what to use as evidence. In fact even the BBC has allowed a story which is implicitly critical of the numbers.
I have done some thinking about this and have looked into UK deaths. Did you know that since 2003 there have been 1,50,000 people die in the UK (see here for NAO Stats). What has President Bush done to stop this? Or Tony Blair, is he doing enough to stop 500,000 deaths of UK citizens per year?
How many of these are due to terrorism or violence? We don't know for sure but using the Lancet's methodology of just asking people and believing what they say it could number hundreds of thousands. It does not take a great leap of imagination to come up with a few ideas of why Iraqi people would want to blame US/UK actions for their sad losses.
In fact, Iraq has a population of 26 million people. That is 43% of the population of England, so they could have had 43% of our deaths in the last 3 years. That would be 649,000 deaths in Iraq. Odd, eh?
Now I am not trying to deny that there have been thousands of deaths casued by war and violence in Iraq; only that the Lancets use of statisistics is about as convincing as mine above.