VOX POPLAR- 654,965 people are dead in Iraq. At least they are according to a study recently published by British Medical Journal The Lancet. To discuss this I'm going one on one with The Lancet's assistant editor for politically motivated epidemiology Doctor Hector Proctor. Welcome to my blog Dr. Proctor.
DR. PROCTOR- Nice to be here.
VOX POPLAR- Now is this latest study like the one that came out a couple years ago claiming that US forces killed over a 100,000 Iraqi civilians with the infamous 'give or take 90,000 people' caveat in the footnotes.
DR. PROCTOR- Not in the least. This study was conducted under the strictest scientific guidelines, proving our case beyond a shadow of a doubt.
VOX POPLAR- So this is not like the incident in 1995, where a letter to the editor of The Lancet by Sarah Zaidi and Mary C. Smith-Fawzi claimed over 567,000 Iraqi children died 'as a consequence' of the sanctions imposed on Saddam's government in 1990.
DR. PROCTOR- What are you getting at?
VOX POPLAR- Well from the end of the first Gulf War to the start of the Iraq War, that statistic was cited repeatedly as an excuse to end the sanction regime by the 'pro-peace' crowd. However, they quickly changed their tune when Bush offered to end the sanctions by toppling Saddam.
DR. PROCTOR- Toppling Saddam made it worse, as our study shows. Just under 600,000 people died because of the sanctions, and a further 700,000 died because of the war.
VOX POPLAR- So statistically it would have been better to leave Saddam alone.
DR. PROCTOR- Exactly.
VOX POPLAR- Even though over a million people died when he was left alone?
DR. PROCTOR- That's a questionable statistic derived from massacre reports, Saddam's archives, and counting the dead in mass graves. Hardly a truly scientific method.
VOX POPLAR- Were all these people killed by direct military action by America and it's allies?
DR. PROCTOR- By our studies, only a third of these innocent people were killed by the imperialist US forces and their international lackeys.
VOX POPLAR- What about the other two thirds?
DR. PROCTOR- 24 percent of deaths were cause by other actors, and a further 45 percent by other unknown forces.
VOX POPLAR- That's almost 70% of the dead. That's more than two thirds, that's almost three quarters.
DR. PROCTOR- Yes, but claiming that Americans killed almost a third of the innocent people sounds more ominous than a little over a quarter.
VOX POPLAR- The joy of fractions defining factions. What percentage of the people killed by the allies were terrorists?
DR. PROCTOR- What's a terrorist?
VOX POPLAR- You know, crazy guys, like to set off bombs in mosques and markets, behead aid workers, incite ethnic violence, that sort of thing?
DR. PROCTOR- We don't believe in the existence of terrorists.
VOX POPLAR- Even though they are committing acts of terrorism right in front of you?
DR. PROCTOR- That's a politically loaded term. We prefer to classify such people as 'civilians' since they don't wear the uniform of an army.
VOX POPLAR- So anywhere between zero and one hundred percent of the people killed by direct American action could be violent Jihadi terrorists, and that thousands of lives are saved because they're not acting as 'others' and 'unknowns' and killing real civilians?
DR. PROCTOR- That's not for us to decide.
VOX POPLAR- What's The Lancet's official position on accusations that the study is biased because your editor, Dr. Richard Horton, is prominent in the Stop The War coalition of leftist and Islamist groups?
DR. PROCTOR- We don't believe that a person's desire to see his nation defeated in a war by radical violent Islamists does any harm to his scientific objectivity.
VOX POPLAR- So you stand by your claim that almost 700,000 people have died 'because of the war?'
DR. PROCTOR- We stand by our assertion that 6,549,659 have died because of America's imperialist war of aggression.
VOX POPLAR- Wait a minute. Did you just bump the number up to 6 million?
DR. PROCTOR- Don't be silly.
VOX POPLAR- Okay.
DR. PROCTOR- I meant to say 7 million.
VOX POPLAR- Now you're getting crazy.
DR. PROCTOR- The deaths of 77 million people in Iraq because of America's war of aggression is crazy.
VOX POPLAR- Wait a minute. You just said 77 million, that's almost 4 times the real population of Iraq. Why should we believe anything you say?
DR. PROCTOR- Because I'm a scientist that's against Bush. That's all you need.
VOX POPLAR- This has been very enlightening. And to my readers, it goodbye for now, and see you soon.