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  • Delayed Vindication

    Posted by James R. Rummel on May 1st, 2009 (All posts by )

    Shannon Love was taken to task by the anti-war left way back in 2004. The reason why he drew their ire was because he dared to question the wisdom of a suspicious study that appeared in the Lancet. The study claimed that about 100,000 civilians died in Iraq during the first year after US forces invaded.

    Why was this suspicious? Mainly because the authors of the study laid the blame for the deaths at the feet of the Coalition, the number of deaths were ten times higher than any other credible estimate, and because it was released just in time to effect the 2004 US elections.

    (If you are interested in the back and forth, this post is a roundup of all essays discussing the study.)

    Strategypage reports that the Iraq government has just released the findings of a study of their own.

    “The government has released data showing that 110,000 Iraqis have died, mostly from sectarian and terrorist violence, since 2003.”

    So the 100K figure is finally correct, only five years after it was first reported. And the Coalition forces didn’t cause the majority of the deaths but terrorists, criminals, and blood feuds are to blame.

    Does this matter now, five years after the fact?

    It does because it is yet another example of how the Left gets the major issues of the day wrong. By any reasonable measure, a great deal of their credibility should have been flushed away by the vitriolic partisanship they exhibited through their attacks on Shannon. Their desperate grasp of anything that might have justified opposing the invasion of Iraq were acts of emotion, not reason. The fact that they were willing to allow emotion to color their perceptions of reality so completely, and how they were willing to defend their position even when the facts were arrayed against them, is nothing less than insane. The real world doesn’t matter, only what they want the real world to be matters.

    Unfortunately, I doubt the evidence that they were hopelessly off base will make any impact. They will still make the same tired arguments, still stroke themselves as being morally superior, and still insist that black and white are reversed.

    That, too, is a sign of insanity.

     

    7 Responses to “Delayed Vindication”

    1. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Well, taking a few shreds of comfort where I find them in this… doesn’t this kind of media partisanship have some costs to the outlet pushing that particular ‘party line’? For me, 60 Minutes trashed the last of whatever reputation they had for high journalistic standards after Rathergate, and now the Lancet doesn’t say ‘serious and high-minded medical research’ to me, it says ‘bogus research with political agenda’. Katie Couric and the Today Show, Oprah and her output – I don’t accept them as credible any more; I automatically assume bias. I think over the last eight years or so, more and more old-line media establishments have been revealed to not have any clothes on at all. Fewer and fewer of us moderate to conservatives are willing to give them any slack now – and I think this might be proved by the death spiral of formerly broad-based publications and broadcast programs. I used to have a Newsweek subscription, I don’t any more. I used to listen and support NPR – don’t any more. Used to subscribe to my local paper – don’t any more. I am sure other readers have similar litanies.
      These print and broadcast outlets sold out what reputation they had for moderation and detachment for a mess of pottage.

    2. Ginny Says:

      Sgt Mom (and James), Yes – true generally and personally. As those doubts grew, my positions moved farther right than they might have been if I didn’t feel, well, gulled. They have managed, I suspect, to be divisive. (Perhaps Fox & talk radio have had an opposite effect on some people in a different culture as well. Their pretensions, however, are so much less that I’m not sure they will – or at least should – produce the same buyer’s remorse.)

    3. karrde Says:

      Wasn’t there a follow-up article in Lancet from the same research team, a couple of years later, giving a total number of deaths at over 600,000 by that point?

      How long will it take the official government records to reach that number? Will they include deaths by naturally-occurring disease?

    4. renminbi Says:

      Our intellectual authorities have done a wonderful of trashing our culture and institutions because of the tenure they had. With the waning of the MSM monopoly they now have to earn their authority. Anything stupid said “can or may be held against you”. If one makes an ass of oneself, it gets out and can’t be suppressed.
      Fake atrocities may play well in Europe,but it won’t work here. Authority and respect will have to earned now.

    5. renminbi Says:

      “wonderful job”.My bad. An edit button would be nice.

    6. Shannon Love Says:

      The basic problem here is that leftist arises from the desire of articulate intellectuals to further their standing within society. This means that articulate intellectuals, the people who create the narratives, the stories we tell ourselves, are the creating the stories to serve their own self interest. They get to fabricate any story they wish and there is little to nothing any the rest of use can do about it.

      It’s nice to be proven correct on a personal level but I understand that we lost the debate that the report was fabricated as a weapon for. They can lie, lie, lie and we can do nothing.

    7. LotharBot Says:

      Part of the problem is that so few people have a good “number gut” (I recall several of Shannon’s posts touched on this.) I recall at one point someone posting a stat of how many tons of explosives the US had dropped on Iraq, and complaining about what a waste it was. I did the math and found that, even using the Lancet’s bogus 100k casualty numbers and assuming every casualty was due to bombing, that they were assuming something like 500 tons of explosives per death.

      I pointed this out to the original poster… and he got really upset with me for questioning his stat! Instead of saying “gee, maybe this number is wrong and I shouldn’t use it to make my point” he insisted on standing by his narrative of the wasteful Iraq war and using a clearly bogus stat to support that narrative.

      This was not the only instance of bogus-number-sense getting tied in with anti-Iraq-war-narrative, but it was the one that stuck with me the strongest simply because the numbers were so clearly wrong and the guy was so insistent on staying with them.