Tuesday, December 13, 2005

"He must think we're morons"

I'm still scratching my head over Bush's estimate of Iraqi casualties. I'm surprised (a) that he took questions at all yesterday and (b) that he would even venture a 'guess' when asked about the number of Iraqis killed in the invasion & occupation. What happened to 'we don't do body counts'? Ok, technically Tommy Franks said that. Still, I wonder how W's handlers felt about this. I mean, he didn't even call the 30 000 dead 'terrorists' or anything. Did someone's heart 'grow two sizes that day'? Not so fast...

Look, I won't go so far as to give him credit--please!! It's not like he took responsibility for the dead. I just thought it was a strange departure for him to even respond to such a question. Helen Thomas (Hearst News) has made repeated attempts to ask about casualties in the WH press briefings, to no avail. And the '30 000' estimate is just one estimate: The Lancet study pegged it at ~100 thousand, over a year ago. The 100 thousand figure was dismissed by some because it included deaths from all causes over and above those that would be expected prior to the invasion (e.g. deaths due to secondary effects of the invasion like malnutrition, infectious diseases, and infant-mortality were included; not 'just' bombing, etc.). The WaPo summarized the research group's methodology in Oct 2004:
...door-to-door survey of 988 Iraqi households -- containing 7,868 people in 33 neighborhoods -- selected to provide a representative sampling. Two survey teams gathered detailed information about the date, cause and circumstances of any deaths in the 14.6 months before the invasion and the 17.8 months after it, documenting the fatalities with death certificates in most cases.
Still, it has been over a year since The Lancet study came out. I wonder what would happen if the survey was repeated today, with the same methodology and analysis. I'm not dismissing the '30 000' estimate--I just want to clarify where these estimates come from. The 30 000 estimate is gleaned from press-accounts; The Lancet estimate was the result of 'household' surveys. The latter was peer-reviewed.

Obviously both estimates are heartbreaking.

Lest we worry that Bush has really changed or something, Peter Baker provides us with some classic W:
Faeze Woodville, 44, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Iran and now living in nearby Strafford, Pa., asked why he keeps linking the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to the Iraq war despite no evidence of a direct connection. The president said "9/11 changed my look on foreign policy" and he learned "that if we see a threat we've got to deal with it."
Woodville said in an interview afterward that she felt Bush ducked her question. "He must think we're morons," she said. "There is no link, and he knows it as well as I. And I and others in the audience are insulted that he thinks we don't read, don't think, don't have any opinions."


Blogger Dylan said...

Wow! Sometimes I feel guilty in the pleasure I get from knowing that Bush's IQ stands at about that of a sock full of nickles. Let's just hope the bugger is impeached sooner than later for his lies to the people of the USA and to the international community.

12/13/2005 4:30 PM  

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