Thursday, April 30, 2009
Of course, Blair was far too concerned about the situation. A complaisant media ignored the findings of the Lancet while relying upon the much lower, less credible figures developed by Iraq Body Count. And, even more, the people behind Iraq Body Count, the same people who estimated the number of dead Iraqis by primarily reading the foreign language media, enthusiastically stepped forward to malign the statistical methodology of the Lancet, even as Blair's science advisor found it all too credible. If you can't prevent the evidence from being released to the public, sound the alarm for assistance from your allies in the NGO world. Or, maybe, they come to the rescue without being asked.
Government uncertainty about how to reply to a medical journal's article on the numbers killed in Iraq has been revealed in official documents.
In October 2004 the Lancet published estimates that 98,000 people died in the conflict's first 18 months.
Then-Prime Minister Tony Blair rejected the figure, but one official warned the government would be "ripped apart" if it questioned the Lancet's methodology.
The government tried to stop publication, but was over-ruled.
A subsequent Lancet article claimed that the number of deaths caused by the conflict up to 2006 was more than 650,000.