Patterico's Pontifications

1/12/2008

Soros Funded Half of the Lancet Study

Filed under: Politics,War — DRJ @ 5:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

According to the UK Sunday Times Online, George Soros funded half of the questionable Lancet study of Iraqi war deaths:

“A study that claimed 650,000 people were killed as a result of the invasion of Iraq was partly funded by the antiwar billionaire George Soros. Soros, 77, provided almost half the £50,000 cost of the research, which appeared in The Lancet, the medical journal. Its claim was 10 times higher than consensus estimates of the number of war dead.

The study, published in 2006, was hailed by antiwar campaigners as evidence of the scale of the disaster caused by the invasion, but Downing Street and President George Bush challenged its methodology. New research published by The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that 151,000 people – less than a quarter of The Lancet estimate – have died since the invasion in 2003.

“The authors should have disclosed the [Soros] donation and for many people that would have been a disqualifying factor in terms of publishing the research,” said Michael Spagat, economics professor at Royal Holloway, University of London.

The Lancet study was commissioned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and led by Les Roberts, an associate professor and epidemiologist at Columbia University. He reportedly opposed the war from the outset. His team surveyed 1,849 homes at 47 sites across Iraq, asking people about births, deaths and migration in their households.

Professor John Tirman of MIT said this weekend that $46,000 (£23,000) of the approximate £50,000 cost of the study had come from Soros’s Open Society Institute.

Roberts said this weekend: “In retrospect, it was probably unwise to have taken money that could have looked like it would result in a political slant. I am adamant this could not have affected the outcome of the research.”

The Lancet did not break any rules by failing to disclose Soros’s sponsorship.”

This doesn’t reflect well on the Lancet, where they apparently need new rules about disclosing sponsorship. This doesn’t reflect well on MIT, either.

— DRJ

229 Responses to “Soros Funded Half of the Lancet Study”

  1. Can’t say I’m surprised, though…

    Did hey release all of their data and methods with this study?

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  2. And frankly, 1,849 at 47 sites (it could be read as 1847 47 times, or 1847 spread over 47 sites) is a REALLY small number, and at it’s face suggests that the method is faulty. I’d LOVE to see their math for this.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  3. I quite lost any respect for The Lancet after watching Richard Horton rant on YouTube like a anti-American fanatic and conspiracy theorist.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  4. Just as in Global Warming, the source of funding doesn’t automatically taint the study.

    However, the fact that the study used bad statistics, bad data, on top of hiding the source of funding…well, that behavior indicates a pattern.

    Steverino (af57bc)

  5. Dear Steverino:

    I see what you mean, but….

    Well, taking money from corporate interests is almost universally seen as negating the fair mindedness of any article, book, or journal publication. Why are partisan prejudices and sources of funding not equally reprehensible?

    I suggest that we pick one attitude: either we rely on the researchers to be honest regardless of funding source (and then check the data when we can), or we object to any “prejudicial” source of funding.

    It’s strange to me. Many of the people with whom I speak attack any climate researcher who takes oil money, but they don’t think taking money from Soros is in any way suspect.

    Again, let’s pick one paradigm. I agree that data is data…but as you can see from the Lancet article (or some of the gun studies), research is no longer “result” blind.

    Quick story. Where I used to teach, the institution received a large grant from a fairly partisan/progressive source to study “…the value of diversity in the classroom…” The president of the university was crowing about this grant to me, and I congratulated him. I then remarked that it wasn’t research, but advocacy.

    He looked confused and asked me what I meant.

    Well, I told him, you already are starting the study with the idea that diversity is valuable to student outcomes.

    He still looked confused.

    Okay, I continued, what if you found that a diverse classroom harmed student outcomes. Would he report that?

    But diversity doesn’t damage student outcomes, he insisted, not getting it at all.

    This is the sort of danger that we all face in academia now. We are very much a “what experts think” kind of culture. But what if people want the results to be a particular way?

    You may think this is fine for polls (!) or for sociology. But how will you feel about FDA studies?

    Sorry for the sermon.

    Eric Blair (31f4be)

  6. Eric – A lot of the AGW hysterics make claims that skeptics have taken oil money without any proof whatever as a kneejerk reaction. Al Gore did that in reaction to the 400 scientists signing a letter saying AGW was a flawed theory in December. After the accusations get leveled, no one usually listens for the facts.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  7. My problem, Eric, is that for a country the size of Iraq, where the regions have had vasty dfferent levels of violence, to use less than 2000 homes as your sample is foolish.

    It would be like poling in NYC, and using that data to predict a defeat for, say Reagan back in the day.

    I highly suspect their data. If someone could point me to it, I would LOVE to see it.

    Their money had to come from somewhere, so I don’t actually degrude their funding from Soros. I’d like to know where the rest came from though. If it came from people/groups that are similarly anti-war, then you should really start to wonder.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  8. Oh, I agree with you about the data being suspect. But I am much more concerned about the agenda-driven nature of not just the research, but how the agenda drove the data analysis and release of the study.

    Remember that one of the authors wanted the report released, specifically, so it would influence elections.

    “In 2004, Roberts conceded that he opposed the Iraq invasion from the outset, and — in a much more troubling admission — said that he had e-mailed the first study to The Lancet on September 30, 2004, “under the condition that it come out before the election.” Burnham admitted that he set the same condition for Lancet II. “We wanted to get the survey out before the election, if at all possible,” he said.”

    http://news.nationaljournal.com/articles/databomb/index.htm

    The more that this sort of thing goes on, the less confidence reasonable people can have regarding “experts.”

    My previous example of “diversity in education” studies comes to mind. It’s a problem.

    Eric Blair (31f4be)

  9. The Lancet lost most of their credibility when they published that “study” of a connection between thimerosol and autism. That was the beginning of the hysteria about vaccines. It turned out, aside from the sample size, it was funded by trial lawyers who were involved in litigation over autism. The result has been a significant rise in serious childhood diseases like whooping cough and measles. Lancet will never recover from two fraudulent studies like this. It’s a shame because it was a respected journal and published Lister’s paper describing the first successful treatment of infection in 1867.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  10. GEORGE SOROS the biggist backer of our enemies besides RED TED TURNER

    krazy kagu (e22b83)

  11. Dear Dr. K.:

    Your post reminds me of why I dislike John Edwards the way I do. I mean no disrespect to the legal profession, but the ambulance chasers you cite remind me too much of Mr. Edwards. Oh well.

    Eric Blair (31f4be)

  12. Another Soros-Murdoch 15-rounder. Oh, goody.

    Professor John Tirman of MIT said this weekend that $46,000 (£23,000) of the approximate £50,000 cost of the study had come from Soros’s Open Society Institute.

    Tirman rebuts:

    I commissioned L2. It was commissioned in Oct 2005, with internal funds from the Center for International Studies at MIT, of which I am executive director. The funds for public education (not the survey itself) came from the Open Society Institute in the following spring, long after things had started. [Lead author Gilbert] Burnham did not know this (Roberts was not much involved at this point.) MIT was providing funds, that’s all he knew or needed to know. There were other small donors involved too. I told this to [National Journal author Neil] Munro on the telephone and in an email. He nonetheless implied that Soros money had funded the survey from the start, possibly at Soros’ behest. That is a disgraceful lie, and Munro knows it.

    Lancet team’s letter to National Journal – January 7, 2008:

    The researchers knew nothing of funding origins. MIT played no role in the study design, implementation, analysis or writing of the Lancet report.

    ….

    The overwhelming confirmatory evidence of the Lancet study findings, the conventional nature of our survey procedures, and the abundance of internal consistencies in the data of which Mr. Munro was informed and chose not to report, suggests that National Journal’s critique of our work should itself be examined for political motivations.

    Gilbert Burnham, MD, PhD
    Professor and Director, Center for Refugee and Disaster Response
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

    Les Roberts, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

    http://www.jhsph.edu/refugee/research/iraq/national_journal.html

    steve (976cda)

  13. Shorter Steve:

    How dare they not believe our bullshit. We’re doctors, damnit!

    nk (dda711)

  14. Shorter nk:

    Motives and funding only matter on one side of the spectrum.

    steve (976cda)

  15. Another Soros-Murdoch 15-rounder. Oh, goody.

    Another ad hominem attack on those who critique the Lancet study while ignoring the fraudulent methodology, lack of statitical robustness, and political timing to influence an election bought and paid by a known political hack. Oh goody.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  16. Once again steve, who told the truth and who is lying?

    Paul (dd77a9)

  17. Once again, steve, who told the truth and who is lying?

    You can tell that in a two-sided agenda war?

    steve (976cda)

  18. You can tell that in a two-sided agenda war?

    All right steve, put up or shut up: show us how the Lancet study came up with 650,000 people killed if study is accurate. Prove it beyond a doubt with links.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  19. You can tell that in a two-sided agenda war?

    Yes.

    Are you saying you can’t? Because that’s what I’m hearing.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  20. I was waiting for someone to continue with this. But I figured you’d use the new study, which I guess you’re ignoring.

    VIOLENCE IN IRAQ….An interesting new study about post-invasion death rates in Iraq was released by the World Health Organization today. I had to extrapolate a bit from the raw data, but if I did that correctly then the WHO’s results differ from last year’s Lancet study in two ways:

    It estimates total excess deaths (through June 2006) at about 393,000. The Lancet study pegged it at 655,000.

    It estimates total post-invasion violent deaths at 151,000. The Lancet study said the number was 601,000.

    (Note: As reported in Table 3, the study calculated 1.09 violent deaths per 1,000 person years after the invasion, from which the authors estimate a post-invasion total of 151,000 violent deaths. They didn’t provide an estimate for total deaths, but the reported increase in all deaths (post-invasion vs. pre-invasion) is 2.84 per 1,000 person years. Applying the same multiplier therefore provides an estimate of 393,000 excess deaths from all causes.)

    More discussion here as well including some fun with David Kane.

    blah (d5c037)

  21. Yeah, I’ll get right on that.

    You show me how the NEJM study is more accurate since its team failed to enter the more dangerous parts of Iraq.

    steve (976cda)

  22. You show me how the NEJM study is more accurate since its team failed to enter the more dangerous parts of Iraq.

    As soon as you get cracking on that defense of the Soros study.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  23. Yeah, I’ll get right on that.

    In other words, you can’t.

    You show me how the NEJM study is more accurate since its team failed to enter the more dangerous parts of Iraq.

    What for? The Lancet study is the issue here.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  24. Professor John Tirman of MIT said this weekend that $46,000 (£23,000) of the approximate £50,000 cost of the study had come from Soros’s Open Society Institute.

    In 2004 the year the study was concluded, a British Pound was worth about $1.80. So £23,000 in 2004 equaled approximately $41,400, not $46,000 – and they wonder why we question their math and their conclusions.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  25. MIT’s John Tirman commends the MEJM article – as he blasts the National Journal’s Neil Munro:

    Munro’s behavior–screaming at me on the telephone, demanding to know if any donors were Muslims, etc.—signaled his intentions from the start. This is a bad actor and is a disgrace to the newsletter where the diatribe appeared.

    The NEJM article is far more important and interesting. This is where debate should be focused, not a blatant hatchet job by a guilty malcontent and one “source.”

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/

    steve (976cda)

  26. Allow me to quote Carl Sagan from The Demon-Haunted World, on making claims without evidence to back them up:

    A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage.’

    Suppose I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you’d want to check it out, see for yourself. There have been innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!

    “Show me,” you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, some empty paint cans, an old tricycle, but no dragon.

    “Where’s the dragon?” you ask.

    “Oh, she’s right here,” I reply, waving vaguely. “I neglected to mention that she’s an invisible dragon.”

    You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon’s footprints.

    “Good idea,” I say, “but this dragon floats in the air.”

    Then you’ll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.

    “Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless.”

    You’ll spray paint the dragon to make her visible.

    “Good idea, except she’s an incorporeal dragon and the paint won’t stick.”

    And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won’t work.

    Now, what’s the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire, and no dragon at all? If there’s no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring our sense of wonder. What I’m asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so.

    Replication is the backbone of science establishing fact from fiction. That a)The Lancet hasn’t to my knowledge released how the arrived at those numbers and b)no one else can even come close to those numbers means that the study’s credibility comes down to the authors “say-so, so it must be true!”

    Paul (dd77a9)

  27. MIT’s John Tirman commends the MEJM article – as he blasts the National Journal’s Neil Munro:

    So, are you going to defend The Lancet study with facts, or continue to with ad hominem attacks instead of admitting you can’t?

    Paul (dd77a9)

  28. “It estimates total excess deaths (through June 2006) at about 393,000. The Lancet study pegged it at 655,000.”

    Steve, You’re not the one I’m arguing with. And 400,000 isn’t outside the range of the Lancet study. Andrew Cockburn has a piece you might like though.

    blah (d5c037)

  29. Munro’s behavior–screaming at me on the telephone, demanding to know if any donors were Muslims, etc.—signaled his intentions from the start. This is a bad actor and is a disgrace to the newsletter where the diatribe appeared.

    Can MIT’s John Tirman back up those charges? Or is this more fiction?

    Paul (dd77a9)

  30. Paul, read some of the links we’ve supplied.

    blah (d5c037)

  31. The Lancet hasn’t to my knowledge released how the arrived at those numbers

    Sure they have. It’s called “peer review,” which Neil Munro claims was short-circuited. Scientists read the published science. If they think there has been an error, they test the methodology and publish their own findings.

    The British Ministry of Defense’s chief scientific adviser said the survey’s methods were “close to best practice” and the study design was “robust”.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6495753.stm

    steve (976cda)

  32. Paul, read some of the links we’ve supplied.

    I did. Why do you think I asked, “Can MIT’s John Tirman back up those charges? Or is this more fiction?” for instance.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  33. The British Ministry of Defense’s chief scientific adviser said the survey’s methods were “close to best practice” and the study design was “robust”.

    More say-so, no proof.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  34. And 400,000 isn’t outside the range of the Lancet study. Andrew Cockburn has a piece you might like though.

    I’ll look it up right now, thanks.

    steve (976cda)

  35. Now, Soros likes to give money to organizations that get liberal results. What exactly did Soros expect this study to produce? Where the people running it so obviously biased that Soros knew they would inflate the results as obnoxiously as they did?

    Do these people realize that this propaganda is wrong? Very sad to see Steve’s bizarre defense. It’s very normal to question such an extreme study with such scandalous funding. Imagine if Bush himself paid for half a study that said there were only 80k deaths, a surprisingly lowball number. Then, the same folks who would attack the OLAncet’s critics would consider it too obvious to even debate that Bush’s study was biased. The appearance of imporpriety exists. the numbers are obviously wrong. The scientists are assholes about opening up their research methods.

    It’s a lie. Period.

    Jem (9e390b)

  36. Sure they have. It’s called “peer review,” which Neil Munro claims was short-circuited. Scientists read the published science. If they think there has been an error, they test the methodology and publish their own findings.

    Sounds like David Kane!

    Oh right…he’s a partisan hack.

    And since the science was published, then you should be able to prove to us how the Lancet study came up with 650,000 people killed if study is accurate.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  37. It’s Pat”s funhouse, where the freaks come out to play.
    This is idiocy.
    I’m out.

    blah (d5c037)

  38. Oh right…[Kane’s] a partisan hack.

    I don’t regard Kane a partisan hack. His review of the Lancet study was called “shoddy” and “unacceptable” and removed from the website of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard where he is a fellow.

    If you can show proof Soros manipulated the study, lay it out. MIT’s Tirman says the researchers knew nothing of funding origins.

    Science (real science) isn’t political. It’s either good or bad, valid or invalid, but it isn’t left or right.

    steve (976cda)

  39. His review of the Lancet study was called “shoddy” and “unacceptable” and removed from the website of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard where he is a fellow.

    Maybe because he dared stray from the party line?

    Harvard is a bastion of liberalism.

    If you can show proof Soros manipulated the study, lay it out. MIT’s Tirman says the researchers knew nothing of funding origins.

    This is the same guy who wrote: “Munro’s behavior–screaming at me on the telephone, demanding to know if any donors were Muslims, etc.—signaled his intentions from the start. This is a bad actor and is a disgrace to the newsletter where the diatribe appeared,” without any evidence to back it up.

    As for proof that Soros manipulted the study, the researchers themselves could blow that out of the water by releasing ALL releveant data pertaining to the study. They won’t. Why? What are they hiding, if the numbers are accurate?

    Science (real science) isn’t political. It’s either good or bad, valid or invalid, but it isn’t left or right.

    Real science doesn’t hide the methods used to draw conclusion, either.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  40. Yes, I know my last comment is filled with spelling errors. I’ve got to get a new keyboard…

    Paul (dd77a9)

  41. Steve you’re using old news to defend the study. The most up-to-date information is that the study’s methods strain disbelief (the 15,000 Iraqi deaths by American vehicles running them over extrapolation, for example).

    chaos (9c54c6)

  42. Considering that the study was so laughable, it doesn’t reflect well on Soros, either.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  43. The most up-to-date information is that the study’s methods strain disbelief (the 15,000 Iraqi deaths by American vehicles running them over extrapolation, for example).

    Can the source for that be shared?

    steve (976cda)

  44. http://news.nationaljournal.com/articles/databomb/index.htm

    “Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths, and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths,” the report said. According to subsequent explanations by the authors, the total included 57,600 dead from violence, 24,000 dead from wartime accidents, and 13,600 dead from disease. The accidental deaths included 15,000 Iraqis killed by U.S. vehicles in road incidents — extrapolated from five death reports.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  45. There is nothing new about Lancet and dodgy research. As I recall the were a prime mover in the Thimerosol/mercury autism debate.

    davod (5bdbd3)

  46. And their lame attempts, during the Clinton impeachment, to show that the descendants of Sally Hemmings were also the direct descendants of Thomas Jefferson.

    nk (dda711)

  47. Chaos, quoting Neil Munro is not going to convince steve. He’s spent the last two threads on this subject attacking his credibility.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  48. Maybe because he dared stray from the party line? Harvard is a bastion of liberalism.

    I’m not totally convinced Harvard, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Lancet and Columbia can be conjointly corrupted by $41,000.

    Reality is not self-evident. Had L2 been released days after the off-year election instead of just before, its authors might have appeared to have been pressured to delay it.

    David Kane (January 11, 2008):

    I agree with John Tirman that the section about Soros in the NJ article was weak. I am also happy to believe that he did not seek to influence the 2006 elections.

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/01/flypaper_for_innumerates_natio.php

    steve (976cda)

  49. Ah yes, The Evil George Soros is behind it all! Who will rid us of this monster?

    I’m sure any number of Pattericoistas have the wherewithall to contract a hit.

    David Ehrenstein (3e4fb8)

  50. Yes, just like the reliable rising of the morning sun. I just hope it isn’t followed by more internet fisticuffs. Too early.

    Lurker (31f4be)

  51. How come now one has mentioned that Les Roberts ran for Congress as an anti-war anti-Bush Democrat (NY 24th District) in the months before the study was published?

    Techie (ed20d9)

  52. The Soros angle might be significant if there were any doubt about the Lancet study’s credibility. There is none: The study is already known as a fraud from start to finish.

    The author’s phony claim not to have political motives, Lancet editor Richard Horton using the study as a propaganda tool to attack the “axis of Anglo-American imperialism”, as he called it, are quite enough to conclude these are not academic researchers, innocent, non-political “disaster people” as lead author Gilbert Burnham lied.

    They are flagrant anti-war partisans. Author Les Roberts ran for Congress as an anti-war Democrat, and the study would have been a timely prop had he won the Democratic nomination. Not that there’s anything wrong with being anti-Iraq war — I am — but their attempts to conceal their political views is totally unprofessional and means they can’t be trusted on anything else.

    Soros’s hidden role was merely the cherry on top of a cake of falsehoods. That should be obvious to anyone who values integrity in academia, whatever their political views.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  53. Techie,

    Our posts just crossed. Here is my own blog’s mention of Les Robert’s political role, with details from a newspaper article quoting him as a candidate:

    Roberts said, “Republican control of the Congress and White House in recent years has given us the most destructive governance since the Vietnam War.”

    The pre-emptive war against Iraq and record deficits fueled by “tax gifts for the richest few” have left the United States greatly weakened, he said.

    Yup, a totally apolitical “disaster person”, that Roberts is.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  54. Now, Soros likes to give money to organizations that get liberal results.

    And has no problems with donating heavily to organizations run by self-confessed liars for hire (cough cough Media Matters cough cough). Why oh why would we be suspicious of an organization he funds?

    M. Scott Eiland (b66190)

  55. Unlike the eminently honest and trustworthy Richard Mellon Scaife.

    David Ehrenstein (3e4fb8)

  56. Trollery by David Ehrenstein

    Look, it’s a troll! Not very rare these days, but still something to behold.

    So David, how does it feel to act like a four year old just because you can?

    Chaos, quoting Neil Munro is not going to convince steve. He’s spent the last two threads on this subject attacking his credibility.

    I don’t care if he’s been attacking Munro, that wasn’t Munro. That was Munro quoting the Lancet report. So I don’t care if he doesn’t like Munro, if he says that what I quoted is wrong, he’s attacking the report (which he’s supposed to be defending), not Munro.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  57. One of the early criticisms of the study was the testimony of Iraqi doctors and hospitals that they had seen nothing like these numbers and of cemeteries that had not buried that many. This is a classic error from sampling bias and extrapolation from too small a sample. The political motivation was just to show the intent. Science is full of these types of errors but this time it goes beyond error. That’s why the thimerosol study is significant. There is no way that should have gotten into a major journal. They have just lost it. This is politics disguised as science. The anti-gun studies of CDC and Johns Hopkins are similarly flawed. The public health people are far to the left politically and schools of public health are not reliable on politically charged topics.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  58. None of you have responded to the new study which gives lower numbers but which nonetheless fit within the parameters of the earlier ones. The new estimates of all excess deaths fall within L2’s confidence intervals, and confirm L1’s death rate.
    400,000 excess deaths instead of 650,000.
    When are you going get around to trashing the new reports?
    And of course, they’re are possibly still undercounts.
    Corrupt? George Soros? Liberal bias? As if everyone were as shallow and anti-intellectual as you.

    blah (d5c037)

  59. Anti-intellectual now = requiring people to base claims in reality.

    Glad to know.

    Techie (ed20d9)

  60. It’s Pat”s funhouse, where the freaks come out to play.
    This is idiocy.
    I’m out.

    Comment by blah — 1/12/2008 @ 10:04 pm

    blah blah blah blah blah
    Comment by blah — 1/13/2008 @ 11:44 am

    One of these days a troll will mean it when they say they’re leaving.

    Pablo (99243e)

  61. Science guys reacting badly to aggressive war. Ergo, everything they say is false.

    The household survey might have exaggerated results from some unusually violent Iraqi areas. But the NEJM study – which still found a doubling of mortality after invasion – relies on shattered families *wanting* to report deaths to government officials. The real number may be somewhere between, given the fear factor.

    Les Roberts did another household interview study using the same methodology, which estimated 1.7 million deaths due to the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It met with widespread acceptance – and a State Department pledge of $10 million in aid. He conducted a similar survey to estimate the number of Rwandan refugees.

    His critics now conclude he only manipulated Iraq casualty numbers, though he stayed in Iraq, Rwanda and Congo during the data collection and maintained the same survey protocols.

    steve (1c6152)

  62. I am also happy to believe that he (Soros) did not seek to influence the 2006 elections.

    “I am also happy to believe that on Big Rock Candy Mountain, you never change your socks, and little streams of alcohol come trickling down the rocks. The brakemen have to tip their hats and the railroad bulls are blind. There’s a lake of stew and of whiskey too. You can paddle all around ’em in a big canoe.”

    Pablo (99243e)

  63. My all-time favorite movie!

    Gracias, Pablo.

    steve (1c6152)

  64. Science guys reacting badly to aggressive war won’t release their data, and their conclusions are patently ridiculous. Ergo, everything they say is false.

    There. Fixed that for you, steve.

    Pablo (99243e)

  65. Data WAS released to David Kane, as you would know if you looked. He’s the guy you trashed for reversing his position on Soros influencing the survey leader.

    steve (1c6152)

  66. “The authors refuse to provide anyone with the underlying data,” said David Kane, a statistician and a fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Statistics at Harvard University.

    Kane doesn’t seem to think so, steve.

    Pablo (99243e)

  67. “So David, how does it feel to act like a four year old just because you can?”

    So “chaos” how does it feel to act like an anal-retentive Hall Monitor just because you can?

    David Ehrenstein (3e4fb8)

  68. Oh, and did you see who’s chiming in at you scienceblogs link?

    Luna,

    That is almost certainly the source of your confusion. Age was collected for the 629 deaths, but not for anyone else. Feel free to apologize to me for all your nastiness above. For an overview of what data is there and what is not, see my pdf. A new version should be out next week. And, if you are looking for conversation topics with your friend on the Lancet team, you might ask them why they refuse to supply similar data (to anyone) about L1. Surely, any open-minded scientist would like to compare the demographic data from IFHS with that from L1 . . .

    Posted by: David Kane | January 13, 2008 2:51 PM

    Pablo (99243e)

  69. I’m guessing that acting 4 years old is a lot more fun. Is that right, boogerhead?

    Pablo (99243e)

  70. “The authors refuse to provide anyone with the underlying data,” said David Kane, a statistician and a fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Statistics [sic] at Harvard University.”

    Kane was given data sets and models he asked about and later complained it lacked “underlying” data on demographics of respondents. There is an obvious problem collecting data in a war zone. Quibblers should travel to Falluja (circa 2005), and do their own study.

    And Munro needs to be reminded it’s the Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences, not “Quantitative Social Statistics.” Harvard’s bio of Kane includes no reference to his being a statistician.

    steve (1c6152)

  71. Steve posts: “Kane was given data sets and models he asked about and later complained it lacked “underlying” data on demographics of respondents. There is an obvious problem collecting data in a war zone. Quibblers should travel to Falluja (circa 2005), and do their own study.”

    Steve, are you saying that the research data is flawed because of a lack of basic information about the respondents???

    Also, your request for a quote from above was given, and you have not responded to that either. It was back in #43/44, where you were shown that 15,000 deaths were credited in the L1, based upon statistics from ONLY FIVE REPORTS. It would seem to me that to figure that 15,000 people died from a specific cause could be determined from only 5 reports of that type of cause of death would be a red flag in any statistical analysis.

    Is it remotely possible that if there were 15,000 deaths based upon being run over by an American vehicle according to a GUESS, that it is just as possible that there were only FIVE for the same reason???

    reff (99666d)

  72. There is an obvious problem collecting data in a war zone. Quibblers should travel to Falluja (circa 2005), and do their own study.

    With a tardis, presumably.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  73. Kane was given data sets and models he asked about and later complained it lacked “underlying” data on demographics of respondents. There is an obvious problem collecting data in a war zone. Quibblers should travel to Falluja (circa 2005), and do their own study.

    So, peer review should go out the window because, you know, war zone. Why not release the data? Not just the models, but the data.

    Did you notice how we’ve gone from “He got the data!” to “Well, he didn’t get the data, but here’s a flimsy excuse for why he didn’t and he should just go collect his own data.” in the span of 31 minutes? I did.

    Pablo (99243e)

  74. It would seem to me that to figure that 15,000 people died from a specific cause could be determined from only 5 reports of that type of cause of death would be a red flag in any statistical analysis.

    It would seem so to me, too. I can’t find any specific refutation of that 15,000 number anywhere.

    steve (1c6152)

  75. Pablo #68,

    Your link was very interesting. Do you know anything about the website and the people discussing this topic?

    DRJ (517d26)

  76. DRJ, that was originally steve’s link in #25. I just visited it for the first time myself via the link in that comment.

    Pablo (99243e)

  77. Steve’s attempts to defend the shoddy work and the subsequent dishonest concealment of the flaw has been hilarious through all the threads in which he’s attempted it. That this study fails basic protocols of validation has been obvious to all who have looked at it, it is the political motives that keep some like steve from admitting their own knowledge.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  78. Thanks, Pablo – sometimes it’s hard to keep score in these discussions. And thanks to Steve for the interesting link. Do you know anything about that website?

    DRJ (517d26)

  79. I just looked at the link and it is obviously a radical lefty site, at least on this topic. This is politics, not science. I keep trying to call attention to the indefensible thimerosol study they published in 1998 and which has been demolished. That was a different sort of politics but still politics. Lancet has no credibility left and trying to muddy the waters with “pro-war billionaire” accusations doesn’t matter. It’s crap and thats that.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  80. However, some of the commenters appear to have access to the actual Lancet/MIT researchers. I think that’s interesting and I wonder why.

    DRJ (517d26)

  81. Steve #74…
    What the hell are you saying???

    Are you saying that taking FIVE documented cases of a single cause of death would be a reasonable way of then saying that one could determine 15,000 deaths occurred the same way???

    Of course, you avoid the points of the questions I posed in the initial discussion between us.

    As for disputing the 15,000 number, if the authors of the L1 study would release all their infomation so that the study could be reviewed…

    But, they won’t….so your response to that is to tell others to go get their own info….

    Real scientific investigations and study there, isn’t it???

    reff (99666d)

  82. I think I mentioned this possiblitity earlier?

    Now, when will we find out how the Soros hedge-funds are driving the price of oil sky-high, the Dollar down, and Gold up? This is what this slime of a man does!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  83. Plus Romanian gold mine adventures which adversely affect villages but line his pockets.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  84. Lancet has no credibility left and trying to muddy the waters with “pro-war billionaire” accusations doesn’t matter. It’s crap and thats that.

    Now that’s speaking truth to power!

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  85. Interesting debate. I’m sorry I am coming late.

    One thing to remember, the Lancet study was claiming EXCESS deaths, that is folks who would be alive except for the war. Therefore, they are taking as true & accurate morbidity & mortality figures from a totalitarian government (Saddam era Iraq). The figures from such nations must be looked at with a VERY skeptical eye. Even if the figures are from a non-governmental group (WHO, NGO, etc.), a totalitarian government can & will influence the data to meet their propaganda agenda. The points about the political agenda of the researchers are well taken. The fact that they have been coy about sharing with 3rd parties is disturbing. As far as the Soros money, I do not care who funded a study (Soros, “big oil”, etc) as long as the data & analysis is correct & honest. However, I doubt that Soros would fund any project or study unless he was sure that it would reinforce his political agenda.

    Mr Chips (6c1f3f)

  86. Again, the authors of the new study don’t accuse the Lancet of fraud, and even use some of their microdata. But they come up with a lower number, though within the Lancet’s parameters.
    Why not respond to the new report?
    400,000 excess deaths.
    Respected scientists have criticized the Lancet’s numbers, but that’s a dispute among scientists and disputes are how we learn. Only hacks have attacked the Lancet’s honesty, and hacks are all you have left making arguments here.

    blah (d5c037)

  87. Why not respond to the new report?
    400,000 excess deaths.

    See #85, blah. So, are you back or are you leaving?

    Pablo (99243e)

  88. So “chaos” how does it feel to act like an anal-retentive Hall Monitor just because you can?

    Awww the little boy doesn’t like his behavior being called to account.

    It’s okay little boy, someday you’ll grow up and have children of your own and then you’ll be the one being “anal-retentive” about their ability to be jackasses.

    Oh wait you like boys don’t you? And by boys I mean males, not little kids, before you get your shit-for-brains churning about that one.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  89. blah,

    Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly link in your comment #20 extrapolates there have been a total of 393,000 Iraqi deaths. He based this on the WHO report that there have been 151,000 post-invasion Iraqi violent deaths. His extrapolation apparently focuses on what he says is the difference between the Lancet report’s percentage of deaths attributed to violence (92%) and the WHO report’s percentage (38%). (EDIT: I have not verified these percentages and have taken his word for them.)

    Drum quotes the Lancet researcher, MIT’s Les Roberts, who explains the difference in percentages as follows: “My gut feeling is that most of the difference between the two studies is a reluctance to report to the government a death due to violence,” he said. “If your son is fighting the government and died, that may not be something you’d want to admit to the government.”

    I don’t know if this WHO report and/or Kevin Drum’s extrapolations are correct. I’m willing to keep an open mind on the WHO report but I could care less about Les Roberts’ gut feelings.

    DRJ (517d26)

  90. “The Lancet study pegged it at 655,000.”

    And 400,000 isn’t outside the range of the Lancet study.

    Then they had a REALLY crappy margin of error.

    Plus or Minus almost HALF their projection? Hell, I could GUESSS better than that.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  91. “His extrapolation apparently focuses on the difference between the Lancet report’s percentage of deaths attributed to violence (92%) and the WHO report’s percentage (38%).”

    No.

    Drum: “They didn’t provide an estimate for total deaths, but the reported increase in all deaths (post-invasion vs. pre-invasion) is 2.84 per 1,000 person years.”

    He did the math, as others have, from this report. And read the Deltoid links as well. You idiots are everything you claim the looney left to be. Only you don’t even pay attention to the real left. To you the corporate run DNC is the goddam Comintern. Amazing.

    “Then they had a REALLY crappy margin of error.”
    Studies use arcs of probability you dimwit. The press simplifies things and people like you get confused.

    blah (d5c037)

  92. blah,

    Drum increased the number of deaths from 151,000 to 393,000 to add in his estimate of non-violent war-related deaths. The amount of the increase was based on the varying percentages in the two reports attributable to violent deaths. I think that’s how he arrived at the 2.84/1,000 factor.

    DRJ (517d26)

  93. blah, what is clear is that you don’t understand the statistical issues. Instead, you keep copying posts from others without any ability of your own to understand what they are saying, and the limits of their mathematical competencies. This is how you keep embarrassing yourself as a link spammer.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  94. DRJ,
    Drum does the math: with… their… numbers.

    blah (d5c037)

  95. I know that, blah, but I still think the crucial issue is whether the violent death percentages are correct. In addition, these are basically polls and, like any poll, they can be right or wrong depending on the validity of the underlying data. These numbers may or may not be wrong but the figure of 151,000 is more supportable than the 393,000 number.

    DRJ (517d26)

  96. There were reports of increase in both violent and non-violent deaths in both the Lancet and IFHS reports.
    The new survey did not do the extrapolation to get the final total number for non violent deaths. Others have done the math with the IFHS data.

    blah (d5c037)

  97. As I understand it, Kevin Drum used the WHO report to extrapolate (i.e., estimate) non-violent war-related deaths. He added that number to the report of 151,000 violent war-related deaths to yield 393,000 total post-invasion war-related deaths.

    There are many valid questions about reports like these but it seems to me that in evaluating the WHO report and Kevin Drum’s analysis of it, the biggest question is how were the percentages for violent/non-violent war-related deaths estimated. I don’t know the answer. Kevin Drum’s assumptions and math may be correct but without knowing the methodology behind the percentages, it seems to me that the 151,000 number is far more defensible than the 393,000 number.

    DRJ (517d26)

  98. Drum does do the math using the WHO multiplier factor. The new study did not publish a total excess death figure along the lines of the Lancet studies for whatever reasons. Maybe they are not an apples to apples comparison.

    Using the two studies and Drum’s extrapolation, the figures break out as follows:

    Violent deaths WHO 151,00 versus 601,000 Lancet
    Excess nonviolent deaths WHO 242,000 versus 54,000 Lancet

    The disparities stand out more starkly in the disaggregated data, which is why a more transparent disclosure of the data and methodology from the Lancet study would be useful. What are they hiding?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  99. It’s my understanding that the Lancet report said 92% of war-related deaths were violent deaths (601,000). The remaining 8% (54,000) were non-violent deaths. On the other hand, the WHO report listed 151,000 war-related violent deaths and, as I understand it, estimated that violent deaths were 38% of all war-related deaths. Based on that, Kevin Drum extrapolated non-violent war-related deaths (62% or 242,000) for a total of 393,000 post-invasion war-related deaths.

    Drum offered Les Roberts’ explanation of the different percentages — that Iraqis are now reluctant to admit to violent deaths fighting against the government. That may be true but it adds a layer of ambiguity to the process.

    [EDIT: I broke down and did the math on this according to my theory. (It’s fairly simple but I don’t like math.) If 38% of Iraqi deaths equals 151,000, then 62% of the deaths would be 246,368 and total deaths would be 397,368. However he calculated them, these numbers are similar to Kevin Drum’s numbers.]

    DRJ (517d26)

  100. DRJ – The disparity between the excess nonviolent deaths is also pretty damned wide.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  101. daleyrocks,

    Isn’t that due to the varying percentages or am I missing something?

    By the way, if the violent death was due to fighting as an insurgent and/or fighting the government, wasn’t it a combatant death? I thought the point of the Lancet study was to identify civilian deaths.

    DRJ (517d26)

  102. From the NEJM paper:

    “The rates and time trends of violent deaths differed considerably among the three sources (Table 4). On the basis of population estimates shown in Table 2 of the Supplementary Appendix, the IFHS data indicate that every day 128 persons died from violence from March 2003 through April 2004, 115 from May 2004 through May 2005, and 126 from June 2005 through June 2006. The Iraq Body Count numbers were 43, 32, and 55 civilian deaths per day for the same periods.”

    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMsa0707782

    steve (7782f4)

  103. steve – What does the Lancet study show?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  104. daleyrocks,

    Thanks to Steve, here’s a link to Table 4 that compares the results from the Iraq Body Count, the Lancet Study (described as Burnham et al), and the WHO-IFHS report.

    DRJ (517d26)

  105. I’m not totally convinced Harvard, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Lancet and Columbia can be conjointly corrupted by $41,000.

    They don’t have to be. They al already lean left, which is why I wrote “Harvasrd is a bastion of liberalism.”

    If you are going to attack Neil Munro and David Kane for supposed partisan hackery, then you must include all of the above.

    Reality is not self-evident.

    Then how do you know anything is real?

    Had L2 been released days after the off-year election instead of just before, its authors might have appeared to have been pressured to delay it.

    If the authors would release their data and methodology, we’d know if they are telling the truth. The fact that they are hiding how they arrived at those numbers while releasing the conclusion of the study shows bad science at the very least.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  106. Here’s a question that hasn’t occured to anyone on these threads to ask:

    Where are the bodies?

    Paul (dd77a9)

  107. Questions not asked about the Lancet Study

    There is a lot to question about the Lancet study, like how much time per interview? Was there any documentation of the dead? Were people multiply counted because there was no cross reference of death claims?

    I need not go on because those who think millions were slaughtered will never be convinced otherwise.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  108. If that is Statistical Best Pracrices, I would hate to see their worst…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  109. Separate studies support different numbers because they were conducted in different ways, some with co-mingled data sets. We’re chasing our tails ascribing sinister motives without better evidence than a $41,000 gift. The “underlying data” David Kane complains about is missing age, not the gender or other household demographics which he was provided, and has commented on, ad nauseam. Even he begins to question the Soros-2006 election nexus.

    From the methods section of the Lancet paper:

    The survey was explained to the head of household or spouse, and their consent to participate was obtained. For ethical reasons, no names were written down, and no incentives were provided to participate. The survey listed current household members by sex, asked about births, deaths, and migrations into and out of the household since 1 January 2002.

    Implications that *age* wasn’t collected in order to facilitate fraud are what’s left of Kane’s critique. He can scream that “underlying data” was withheld and book more flights to statistical forums.

    A study is controlled for demographic bias by comparing the sample with a known instrument. But that would overestimate the accuracy and usefulness of the only other instrument available to researchers, the 1997 Iraq Census.

    Fraud potential by those in the field doing the interviews under minimal supervision is a valid Lancet criticism.

    The Science Blog discussion (and these are invitation-only posters) drills down into arcane and incomprehensible methodologies, and I’m more inclined to look for a consensus there, than here. But soldier on.

    steve (f374d8)

  110. You’ll note that several have been very careful to NOT ascribe their issues with the study to the money.

    I, specifically, having taken more Stats than I would have preffered (my prefered amount being “none”) would like to see everything.

    That names weren’t taken is rationally explained, but does lend itself to data being duplicated without the data-taker’s knowledge.

    And again, the number of households surveyed just strikes me as VERY low for a country-wide statistical analysis. It’s like using 200 houses to gets an idea of what’s going on in Chicago.

    And really, when you say “within the Lancet study” for a number that’s about 62% (or so) of the Lancet study tells me that you either don’t understand margin of error, that the Lancet study had a plus/minus of 30% (as an example, most Stats books use 5% as the generic Margin), or something just isn’t adding up period.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  111. Steve,

    Is science determined by consensus?

    DRJ (8b9d41)

  112. Thank you, DRJ. I do science for a living (well, I teach and do research), and that is the toughest nut to crack for students: the cult of authority.

    I sure hope science isn’t about consensus. I hope it is about predictiveness and rigor. And I pray it isn’t about politics.

    I can get students to either end of the equation—trusting nothing or believing everything. But I can’t seem to get much critical reasoning in. If I ever manage to score tenure, even at my advanced age, I will push for a freshman course on exactly that topic: how to evaluate science for the average non-scientific person.

    Eric Blair (ef2392)

  113. No, science is not determined by consensus.

    And again, the number of households surveyed just strikes me as VERY low for a country-wide statistical analysis. It’s like using 200 houses to gets an idea of what’s going on in Chicago.

    The relationship between confidence intervals and sample [cluster] size is discernable, though esoteric:

    The number of clusters relative to the size of the population is less relevant than whether the sample of clusters is representative of the population.

    Research biostatistician Steve Simon (by way of Science Blogs) explains the principle:

    “‘Every cook knows that it only takes a single sip from a well-stirred soup to determine the taste.’ It’s a nice analogy because you can visualize what happens when the soup is poorly stirred.

    With regards to why a sample size characterizes a population of 10 million and a population of 10 thousand equally well, use the soup analogy again. A single sip is sufficient both for a small pot and a large pot.”

    http://www.stats.org/stories/did_wsj_flaw_iraq_oct18_06.htm

    steve (f374d8)

  114. I once heard a story about a man who drowned in a river that had an average depth of six inches. The pool he walked into, though, was eight feet deep. Too bad that river was not properly stirred.

    nk (dda711)

  115. This is what it comes down to when all else fails: a defense of innumeracy.

    blah (d5c037)

  116. Dear blah, you are more right than you know. I teach college students, and you would not believe what they accept as “fact” when it is anything but. The media is partly to blame, since they really like to trumpet bad news as much as possible, and don’t care quite as much about accuracy than you might think.

    I believe a “critical thinking” course would be much more useful to them than any number of “Dead White Men Are Awful” courses currently on the books.

    But what the heck do I know, being a (living) white man? Oh well.

    Eric Blair (ef2392)

  117. Yikes. Why are we still arguing about this?

    From what I saw of the Lancet study, it was bullshit: faulty methodology, insufficient data gathered from a selective sample population…

    …But what the fuck? Would it really have made a difference to you guys if the number had been 650,000? It’s for a good cause, right? Democracy, prosperity, capitalism. Enlightenment!

    Or, if you beg to differ… if you want to pretend that it would have made a difference, where do you draw the line? 100,000? 250,000? What’s the magic number?
    If the war is bullshit, then the casualties (whatever their number) are bullshit. I guess that’s where we differ on this one.

    Leviticus (0eace0)

  118. So what if it were 10, Levi?

    Pablo (99243e)

  119. But, Levi….with that thought, we shouldn’t be anywhere in the world so that we don’t cause any casualties…

    America is damned if they do, and if they don’t…

    I’d rather America deal with the Middle East as it has than the way it dealt with Vietnam…

    More people died after we left than when we were there….

    reff (99666d)

  120. “More people died after we left than when we were there….”

    no.

    blah (d5c037)

  121. …..It is quite interesting reading the above. I find the studies rather simple to define…the NEJM and the Lancet study are clearly not measuring the same thing.
    ….secondly, the methodology is fine and is as good as any undertaken in any similar situation regardless of funding.
    …. the sample size is adequate, and the ranges are defined in the Lancet Study.

    …and to the fellow who added “what if G. W. Bush had funded this study and came up with a much lower number?”

    …GW should have had the moral decency to fund such a study , but that would measure the deaths of a lesser people,…and thus he had no intention of doing so.

    …much of the critique is position support. If CNN and Glen Beck are shocked by the report numbers , let them replicate the study and then critique.

    miles (09fa9a)

  122. “So what if it were 10, Levi?”

    -Pablo

    So what if it were, Pablo? The question’s still valid: if there’s no justification for the war, then there’s no justification for the casualties, whatever their number.

    I see your point, and you’re right, in a way: the world is too harsh a place to suffer absolute ideologies, (i.e. “one death is one death too many”); things ought to be taken in context and considered on a case by case basis. Certainly, there are justifiable wars that demand necessary sacrifices. I just don’t think this was one of those wars.

    If this post is more about expressing disgust at the disingenuous tactics of the Lancet Study (i.e. skewing a civilian body count to push a political agenda), that’s fine. If, on the other hand, this post is out to claim that 650,000 is (for some reason) an unacceptable number of casualties, a number that, were it accurate, would precipitate outrage and dismay on the part of the war’s advocates, then I say “Bah!”

    But I don’t think I need to say “Bah!”, in this case. I think this thread is more or less the brainchild of people sick and tired of being jerked around in such a flagrant and clumsy manner.

    Leviticus (feabb4)

  123. The question’s still valid: if there’s no justification for the war, then there’s no justification for the casualties, whatever their number.

    That’s a mighty big “if”, Leviticus. Regime change was the goal, it has been accomplished, and many, many people have been spared the lethal mercies of the Saddam regime.

    Pablo (a49fbf)

  124. The Lancet study was authored by people who said they had no political motivation, when in fact they did. The authors shamelessly lied through their teeth.

    Since you can’t trust the people who did the study, you can’t trust the study. It amazes me that there’s even a controversy about this. Or do those who still support the study think lying is OK if it’s for a good cause?

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  125. Blah #120:

    “More people died after we left than when we were there….”

    no.

    blah, ever heard of Pol Pot?

    Paul (dd77a9)

  126. Do you think it’s possible to do anything without political motivation, Bradley?

    David Ehrenstein (3e4fb8)

  127. David E.
    Do you think it’s possible to do anything without political motivation, Bradley?

    Lying, not political motivation, is what I objected to. You have your political motivation, as an anarcho-syndicalist. I have mine, as a Cato/Reason variety Libertarian. We are both clear and open about our motivations.

    The Lancet authors blatantly lied about their motivations, pretending to be naive “disaster people” caught in a political maelstrom not of their own making (despite one of the authors running for Congress as an anti-war Democrat, and another author contributing to his campaign).

    Their dishonesty was shameless and their pretense an insult to the intelligence, as much as anything Dick Cheney or Dubya ever said.

    I don’t trust liars, whatever their political motivation. And I am skeptical of all ideologies, including my own.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  128. Well said, Bradley, well said indeed.

    David and blah continue to show their unerring ability to be not only wrong, but brain poundingly stupid wrong, with a frequency that is alarming, and clearly outside of the standard margin of error.

    JD (3cdc37)

  129. Bradley Fikes wrote:

    “Or do those who still support the study think lying is OK if it’s for a good cause?”

    I’m afraid many, many people think precisely that. After all, they are Correct and their opponents are Evil. Or so it seems to go, from the postings I read.

    Me, I have what could be called the Judgement of Clinton: if person “X” is willing to lie in a self-serving and callow fashion about “Y,” what else are they willing to lie about? Saying that everybody lies is thin gruel indeed.

    Saying that we are quibbling about the overall numbers is beside the point. The authors of the study cannot be trusted, and it is up to them to earn trust again…as supposed scientists.

    Yeah, I’m too wound up about it.

    Eric Blair (2708f4)

  130. “Their dishonesty was shameless and their pretense an insult to the intelligence, as much as anything Dick Cheney or Dubya ever said.”

    Shameless dishonesty yes, but Cheney and Dubya had buckets of blood on their hands.

    Though that subject is clearly outide of “JD’s” margin for error.

    David Ehrenstein (3e4fb8)

  131. Shameless dishonesty yes, but Cheney and Dubya had buckets of blood on their hands.

    So you’ve agreed to the Lancet authors’ “shameless dishonesty.” Now the conversation can move on, so to speak.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  132. And I am skeptical of all ideologies, including my own.

    How refreshing.

    Thanks for pointing us to a blogger who mentions researcher Les Roberts opposed the war as a failed political candidate, but that, in the blogger’s opinion, “criticisms of the author’s conduct does not necessarily mean the Lancet study is wrong.”

    I suppose criticisms of the Lancet critics’ conduct likewise does not necessarily mean their criticisms are wrong.

    In the end, whatever the lowest mortality estimate – that’s the one we need to believe. Its authors are presumed to be fair-minded war supporters, not scientists who loathe aggression.

    steve (fabe13)

  133. Paul. Ever heard of Cambodia?

    And if you knew your history, you’d know that the Khmer Rouge were minor players before the US bombing of Cambodia. Our actions helped destabilize Sihanouk’s government. The killing ended when Vietnam invaded.
    Look it up. And while you’re at it look up the dead in Vietnam as well.

    blah (d5c037)

  134. The killing would not have started if we had not surrendered.

    nk (dda711)

  135. “Shameless dishonesty yes,”

    David will you stop trying to argue about what you pay no attention to! The authors of the new report argue numbers with the authors of the Lancet study but they also use some of their figures and do not, repeat: DO NOT accuse them of dishonesty in any way. Only hacks have done so. As if everyone were as purblind as the dimwits here.

    blah (d5c037)

  136. nk – Don’t go getting all fact-y on blah. He/she/it prefers to just make shit up, assert it, and then call people names for not believing it.

    JD (3cdc37)

  137. And if you knew your history, you’d know that the Khmer Rouge were minor players before the US bombing of Cambodia. Our actions helped destabilize Sihanouk’s government. The killing ended when Vietnam invaded.
    Look it up. And while you’re at it look up the dead in Vietnam as well.

    And if you knew your history, you wouldn’t embarrass yourself by displaying such laughable ingnorance.

    C’mon, call me a passive fence-sitter again so I have the motivation to wipe the floor of the thread with your “historical knowledge.”

    Let me give you an example of what is waiting for you if you do:

    Ever heard the term “boat people?”

    Vietnam War boat people

    Events resulting from the Vietnam War led many people in Cambodia, Laos, and especially Vietnam to become refugees in the late 1970s and 1980s, after the fall of Saigon.

    In Vietnam, the new communist government sent many people who supported the old government in the South to “re-education camps”, and others to “new economic zones.” An estimated 1 million people were imprisoned without formal charges or trials.[1] 165,000 people died in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s re-education camps, according to published academic studies in the United States and Europe.[1] Thousands were abused or tortured: their hands and legs shackled in painful positions for months, their skin slashed by bamboo canes studded with thorns, their veins injected with poisonous chemicals, their spirits broken with stories about relatives being killed.[1] These factors, coupled with poverty, caused millions of Vietnamese to flee the country.

    In 1979, Vietnam was at war (Sino-Vietnamese War) with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and many ethnic Chinese living in Vietnam, who felt that the government’s policies directly targeted them also became “boat people.” On the open seas, the boat people had to confront forces of nature, and elude pirates.

    In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge regime murdered millions of people in the “Killing Fields” massacres, and many attempted to escape.

    Wipe! Wipe! Squeak! Squeak!

    Paul (dd77a9)

  138. In basketbal speak, blah just got “posterized.”

    Paul (dd77a9)

  139. *basketball*

    Paul (dd77a9)

  140. What the fuck are you talking about? The question is the number of people killed during the war and after. Do you think I’m all cheery about the North Vietnamese government?
    Vietnam War casualties

    And I love your peanut gallery paul. All as swift as you are.

    blah (d5c037)

  141. Re-read your own comment, blah:

    The killing ended when Vietnam invaded.
    Look it up.

    Posterized!

    Paul (dd77a9)

  142. Paul – Well done, but you must remember that blah is impervious to facts.

    JD (3cdc37)

  143. Well done, but you must remember that blah is impervious to facts.

    Oh, I do, JD. That’s what makes such exchanges so fun.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  144. ..according to published academic studies in the United States and Europe.

    And we have NO issue with ‘academic studies.’

    Financing sources?

    Any suspected role by MIT, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Lancet or Columbia?

    Is the Orange County Register a Republican paper and why did they not name a source?

    steve (5c0858)

  145. “Our actions helped destabilize Sihanouk’s government. The killing ended when Vietnam invaded.”
    That’s a reference to Cambodia son. I’m sorry if I only refer to specifics.
    So what’s the number for civilians dead in Iraq now, boychik?
    That’s how this began right? Then maybe I’ll ask for numbers of Iraqi children dead from the pre-war sanctions. Hint: it’s larger than the number killed in post-war vietnam.

    fucking morons

    blah (d5c037)

  146. Find a study that fits your paradigm:

    Jacqueline Desbarats and Karl Jackson (“Vietnam 1975-1982: The Cruel Peace”, in The Washington Quarterly, Fall 1985) estimated that there had been around 65,000 executions. This number is repeated in the Sept. 1985 Dept. of State Bulletin article on Vietnam.

    http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat3.htm

    steve (5c0858)

  147. Steve,
    The OC Register was originally a Libertarian paper; nowadays that philosophy is confined to the editorial pages.

    If you wish to know more about the Register, this story is worth reading.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  148. And we have NO issue with ‘academic studies.’

    Ony ones that don’t reveal all the data and methodology while pointing fingers at their critics…like I’ve said one thousand times before.

    Financing sources?

    Only ones with a well-known history of political meddling that aren’t disclosed when the study involved doesn’t reveal all the data and methodology…like I’ve said one thousand times before.

    Any suspected role by MIT, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Lancet or Columbia?

    Obsess much? You’re bordering on trooferness here.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  149. It was all kites, puppies, and kittens after we surrendered in VietNam. The Killing Fields? Lies. My wife did not lose over 80% of her family after they were able to flee from the roof of the American embassy. Boat people? Figments of our imagination. Oh, and cake. Lots of cake.

    JD (3cdc37)

  150. Paul, what “academic studies” and what confidence does any reader endow in them?

    steve (5c0858)

  151. It frankly did not surprise me in the least to read that the Lancet study was funded by Soros, or as the Left likes to claim, Soros did not fund it, ABC Group funded it, while failing to note that ABC Group is solely or wholely funded by Soros.

    JD (3cdc37)

  152. “Our actions helped destabilize Sihanouk’s government. The killing ended when Vietnam invaded.”

    You’re still posterized.

    My quoted piece is about the period of the late 1970s into the 1980s. That would be after the war, genius.

    So what’s the number for civilians dead in Iraq now, boychik?

    What are you asking me for? I’ll bet it’s lower than the extrapolated guesses you guys are defending.

    Then maybe I’ll ask for numbers of Iraqi children dead from the pre-war sanctions. Hint: it’s larger than the number killed in post-war vietnam.

    Ask Saddam.

    fucking morons

    Ah yes. Terms of endearment. :)

    Paul (dd77a9)

  153. “The OC Register was originally a Libertarian paper; nowadays that philosophy is confined to the editorial pages.”

    Pages that are so Libertarian, that they are a virtual PR shop for Ron Paul.
    Unfortunately, they promote the positive points of libertarianism (small government, etc.), but also the disasterous negatives (isolationist foreign policy & drug legalization).

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  154. fucking morons

    blah, you want to be next on the banning list?

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  155. Just asking:
    Is blah now doing a “Christoph”?

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  156. I’ve just got to get my fingers on “speed”!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  157. Is blah now doing a “Christoph”?

    Pretty much. I’ve warned blah/AF about this sort of repeated language in the past. It adds nothing.

    blah, if that’s what you think of us, perhaps your time would be better spent elsewhere. I’m not banning you right this second, but if you keep that sort of thing up, I will.

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  158. Pages that are so Libertarian, that they are a virtual PR shop for Ron Paul.
    Unfortunately, they promote the positive points of libertarianism (small government, etc.), but also the disasterous negatives (isolationist foreign policy & drug legalization).

    All that “positive” and “negative” stuff is standard Libertarian policy, a la Reason/Cato. If they didn’t promote it, they wouldn’t be Libertarian.

    I am sorry El Reg is still backing Ron Paul. He’s an albatross the Libertarians don’t need.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  159. Let’s revisit this full comment:

    And if you knew your history, you’d know that the Khmer Rouge were minor players before the US bombing of Cambodia. Our actions helped destabilize Sihanouk’s government. The killing ended when Vietnam invaded.

    Blah, for your reading pleasure:

    During the nearly four years following that day – April 17, 1975 – Cambodia was radically transformed. Economic production and consumption were collectivized, as Pol Pot and his circle mobilized the entire population to launch a “super great leap forward.” The labor demanded was backbreaking, monotonous, and unceasing.

    Everyday freedoms were abolished. Buddhism and other forms of religious worship were banned. Money, markets, and media disappeared. Travel, public gatherings, and communication were restricted. Contact with the outside world vanished. And the state set out to control what people ate and did each day, whom they married, how they spoke, what they thought, and who would live and die. “To keep you is no gain,” the Khmer Rouge warned, “To destroy you is no loss.”

    In the end, more than 1.7 million of Cambodia’s 8 million inhabitants perished from disease, starvation, overwork, or outright execution in a notorious genocide.

    This iss from tht well-known conservative juggernaut, the Christian Science Monitor.

    Posterized!

    Paul (dd77a9)

  160. Paul! Please! Read and learn!

    January 7, 1979: was it “liberation” or “invasion” of Cambodia by the Vietnamese Arm Forces? This simple question has been a very divisive issue for many in Khmer community across Cambodia and overseas in the past 22 years. What is the correct answer? Was it “liberation” or was it “invasion” by Vietnam? The answer to this simple question can be very complicated.

    Depending upon which “camp” one asks, the answer can very well go either way. For many of the Khmer who survived Pol Pot’s Killing Fields regime after January 7, 1979, the answer was not at all complicated. To these people, without the Vietnamese Arm Forces entering Cambodia’s soil, they and their love ones may have been just another statistic, simply fall victim to the Khmer Rouge’s genocidal policy. In this sense, the Vietnamese were in fact “liberators” and even a “Godsend” to some.

    However, for many other Khmer who managed to escape Cambodia before and right after April 17, 1975 (or those who were living abroad at that time), their view is the complete opposite. The Vietnamese were simply “invaders” to them. Their view is based on historical perceptions that Vietnam has always been the “take over or thief of Khmer land” and/or “committing genocidal policy against the Khmer people.”

    blah (d5c037)

  161. Paul – it is like arguing with a brick wall.

    JD (3cdc37)

  162. Once again, the liberating forces of a totalitarian regime espousing the greatness of scientific socialism saves the oppressed peoples of a tool of the decadent capitalist democracies…oops…Pol Pot was just another Marxist thug who was just more efficient at killing his people than Ho was at killing his.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  163. blah, your practice of finding links you don’t understand was amusing long ago but has long ceased.

    So in your style: Go read this, and this and learn something.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  164. Hey blah, how come you left this part out?

    As the old Khmer saying goes, “to go in the water there is the alligator (Vietnam), and to go on land there is the tiger (Khmer Rouge).” The ” tiger” had already killed an estimated 1.7 million Khmer by the time Vietnam arrived in Phnom Penh on January 7, 1979. The “alligator,” on the other hand, has mostly historical record of oppression and perhaps limited genocide. The two choices are just as evil and there was no third choice for the Khmer people.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  165. patterico – blah needs you more than you need her, but comedy relief adds something to the blog.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  166. So I guess that makes you a defender of colonialism and “French Indochina.” But how can that be, since the French did not want democracy in South East Asia, and you say you do. Please explain.

    How many people were killed in the age of European Empire, in Africa and Asia and the Americas? Do you think I go around defending Cortez and Columbus? Columbus brought freedom to the Indies! And are we bringing democracy to Iraq? Is that what we’re doing?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2241367,00.html

    blah (d5c037)

  167. And, don’t forget the evil Chiquita Banana.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  168. My sincere apologies to brick walls everywhere. That was an unfair comparison.

    I love the Leftist tactic of “look over there” once they are made to look like the lightweights that they are.

    JD (3cdc37)

  169. Nice transition by blah. Were Cambodia or Vietnam colonies in 1975? Did anyone mention colonial Africa or South America? Amazing irrelevance!!!11!!1!

    daleyrocks (906622)

  170. “Were Cambodia or Vietnam colonies in 1975?”

    Wow. Just wow.
    We went into Vietnam in the first place in support of France. We supported their resumption of colonial authority after WWII. Holy shit. I can’t take this, it’s too funny.

    goodnight.

    blah (d5c037)

  171. goodnight, blah. A good night’s sleep may serve you well. And, a lobotomoy.

    JD (3cdc37)

  172. “Were Cambodia or Vietnam colonies in 1975?”

    Wow. Just wow.
    We went into Vietnam in the first place in support of France. We supported their resumption of colonial authority after WWII. Holy shit. I can’t take this, it’s too funny.

    Answer the question and learn blah. 1975 not 1945,there is a difference. Read a book.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  173. blah, no we did not go into Vietnam to support France’s resumption of colonial authority. That had been abandoned by France almost a decade before, in the ’54 agreement. Your ignorance of the history of that conflict matches your ignorance of everything else you comment upon.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  174. Some people operate in a continual state of bliss.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  175. SPQR,
    No.

    http://www.oakton.edu/user/~wittman/chronol.htm

    Chronology of U.S -Vietnam Relations
    1930
    Indochinese Communist Party, opposed to French rule, organized by Ho Chi Minh and his followers.

    1932
    Bao Dai returns from France to reign as emperor of Vietnam under the French.

    September, 1940
    Japanese troops occupy Indochina, but allow the French to continue their colonial adminstration of the area. Japan’s move into southern part of Vietnam in July 1941 sparks an oil boycott by the U.S. and Great Britain. The resulting oil shortage strengthens Japan’s desire to risk war against the U.S. and Britain.

    1945
    An OSS (Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA) team parachutes into Ho Chi Minh’s jungle camp in northern Vietnam and saves Ho Chi Minh who is ill with malaria and other tropical diseases.

    August, 1945
    Japan surrenders. Ho Chi Minh establishes the Viet Minh, a guerilla army. Bao Dai abdicates after a general uprising led by the Viet Minh.

    September, 1945
    Seven OSS officers, led by Lieutenant Colonel A. Peter Dewey, land in Saigon to liberate Allied war prisoners, search for missing Americans, and gather intelligence.

    September 2, 1945
    Ho Chi Minh reads Vietnam’s Declaration of Independence to end 80 years of colonialism under French rule and establish the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi. Vietnam is divided north and south.

    September 26, 1945
    OSS Lieutenant Dewey killed in Saigon, the first American to be killed in Vietnam. French and Vietminh spokesmen blame each other for his death.

    November, 1946
    Ho Chi Minh attempts to negotiate the end of colonial rule with the French without success. The French army shells Haiphong harbor in November, killing over 6,000 Vietnamese civilians, and, by December, open war between France and the Viet Minh begins.

    Return to Top

    1950
    The U.S., recognizing Boa Dai’s regime as legitimate, begins to subsidize the French in Vietnam; the Chinese Communists, having won their civil war in 1949, begin to supply weapons to the Viet Minh.

    August 3, 1950
    A U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) of 35 men arrives in Saigon. By the end of the year, the U.S. is bearing half of the cost of France’s war effort in Vietnam.

    May 7, 1954
    The French are defeated at Dien Bien Phu. General Vo Nguyen Giap commands the Viet Minh forces. France is forced to withdraw. The French-indochina War ends. See also:

    Dien Bien Phu: A Vietnamese Perspective
    Dien Bien Phu: A Website of the Battle

    June, 1954
    The CIA establishes a military mission in Saigon. Bao Dai selects Ngo Dinh Diem as prime minster of his government.

    July 20, 1954
    The Geneva Conference on Indochina declares a demilitarized zone at the 17th parallel with the North under Communist rule and the South under the leadership of Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem.

    October 24, 1954
    President Dwight D. Eisenhower pledges support to Diem’s government and military forces.

    1955
    The U.S.-backed Ngo Dinh Diem organizes the Republic of Vietnam as an independent nation; declares himself president.

    1956
    Fighting begins between the North and the South.

    blah (d5c037)

  176. http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/vietnam/index-1945.html

    “During the conference, representatives from France request the return of all French pre-war colonies in Southeast Asia (Indochina). Their request is granted. Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia will once again become French colonies following the removal of the Japanese.”

    blah (d5c037)

  177. The U.S.-backed Ngo Dinh Diem organizes the Republic of Vietnam as an independent nation; declares himself president

    Is that a colony blah?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  178. Blah, you really are completely clueless. The French resumed their colonial authority at the end of WWII without any US intervention. It was nearly a decade after the ’54 accords that the US entered Vietnam in any combat role. And that role had nothing to do with French colonial authority that was abandoned in ’54 by your own cut and paste.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  179. Cambodia gained independence from France on November 9, 1953. It became a constitutional monarchy under King Norodom Sihanouk.

    Was Cambodia a colony in 1975 blah?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  180. Again, brick walls, I apologize. Even bricks and mortar would know when to step away from the keyboard. This is classic aggressive ignorance.

    JD (3cdc37)

  181. That and brick walls actually have a utility, JD.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  182. My better half immigrated to the US from the roof of the American embassy. She thinks blah is just being intentionally provocative, because she says it is impossible to be that ignorant of history.

    JD (3cdc37)

  183. With the greatest respect to your better half, JD, blah can be that ignorant.

    We’ll next see blah slowly redefine the supposed claim in a steady retreat.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  184. JD, I regret to inform her that while it is willful, it is indeed ignorance. People like Blah actively reject as a lie anything that doesn’t make the US look bad.

    And tell your dear wife that my ‘Nam vet dad says “Glad she got out. That place when to shit fast.”

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  185. So I guess that makes you a defender of colonialism and “French Indochina.”

    Only in your projections.

    But how can that be, since the French did not want democracy in South East Asia, and you say you do.

    The French in this case are irrelevant. They were long gone by 1975. Besides, you are projecting yet again.

    Please explain.

    Your ability of projection and fact-free arguments are beyond comprehension.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  186. My better half immigrated to the US from the roof of the American embassy.

    JD, I’m glad she made it out. She was one of the lucky ones.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  187. “Cambodia gained independence from France on November 9, 1953. It became a constitutional monarchy under King Norodom Sihanouk.”

    Which brings us back to the US bombing and the destruction of Cambodia. You’re running in circles. And then there’s the US support for the Khmer Rouge helping them rearm against Hun Sen.

    “JD, I regret to inform her that while it is willful, it is indeed ignorance. People like Blah actively reject as a lie anything that doesn’t make the US look bad.”

    No, jackass it’s the other way around. You refuse to listen to anything that might make the US look bad. You’re not interested in democracy in SE Asia or in the middle east. The main theme on this site is narcissism.

    blah (d5c037)

  188. For those actually interested in the future of Iraq, go here:

    http://abuaardvark.typepad.com/abuaardvark/2008/01/visser-partitio.html

    blah (d5c037)

  189. 188, blah, I think we will ignore your wrong advice. Iraq will be better off when American Liberals get their collective noses and PC notions out of their country.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  190. SPQR, Paul, et al. – It is freaking sad that blah is so painfully unaware of the results of our surrender in VietNam. People that choose to be that ignorant should have their noses rubbed in their ignorance.

    Or, they should be forced to sit down with my in-laws and hear the stories of them losing family members following our withdrawal, or scrounging for food in the refugee camps, or being actual boat people.

    Blah’s ignorance should be painful, but sadly, no.

    JD (75f5c3)

  191. JD, a good friend of mine escaped from Vietnam in the mid 80’s in an open dinghy, under gunfire, and subsequently spent days without food or water floating in the open ocean until picked up by a US destroyer. What he’d think of something like blah is not printable on this blog but can often be found on the bottom of one’s shoe.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  192. Which brings us back to the US bombing and the destruction of Cambodia. You’re running in circles.

    That’s because you keep moving the goalposts, in an effort to try and draw our attention away from your embarrassment on this thread.

    And then there’s the US support for the Khmer Rouge helping them rearm against Hun Sen.

    We can embarrass you there too, if you like.

    No, jackass it’s the other way around. You refuse to listen to anything that might make the US look bad.

    It’s tough to be embarrassed continously, isn’t it?

    You’re not interested in democracy in SE Asia or in the middle east.

    And how would you know that, my projecting friend?

    The main theme on this site is narcissism.

    No, the main theme of this site is truth and accuracy…two concepts you are unfamiliar with.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  193. I wish I was good with photoshop, because a picture of a short, stubby, chubby guy with pizza grease drippings on his shirt running around barefoot carrying the goalposts would be perfect.

    JD (3cdc37)

  194. The main theme on this site is narcissism.

    That’s rich, coming from someone who repeatedly compliments the biggest narcissist on this blog.

    Steverino (af57bc)

  195. I wish I was good with photoshop, because a picture of a short, stubby, chubby guy with pizza grease drippings on his shirt running around barefoot carrying the goalposts would be perfect.

    That’s hilarious, JD.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  196. Paul – I just could not get that picture out of my head.

    JD (3cdc37)

  197. ” ‘And then there’s the US support for the Khmer Rouge helping them rearm against Hun Sen.’
    We can embarrass you there too, if you like.”

    Go ahead and try, son.

    blah (191069)

  198. Go ahead and try, son.

    “Son”? More wishful thinking, blah? Is there anybody out there who admits to being your child?

    nk (95162d)

  199. Go ahead and try, son.

    Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh

    First who is Hun Sen?

    Initially with the Khmer Rouge, Hun Sen defected and was selected by the Vietnamese for a leadership role in the rebel army and government they were creating for Cambodia. When the Khmer Rouge regime was overthrown, Hun Sen was appointed foreign minister of the Vietnamese-installed People’s Republic of Kampuchea in 1979.

    Keep this in mind as we go into the Khmer Rouge, in which we find this happening starting in 1979:

    Vietnam’s victory, supported by the Soviet Union, had significant ramifications for the region; the People’s Republic of China launched a punitive invasion of northern Vietnam and retreated after a claimed victory, and during the 1980s, the U.S. provided military and humanitarian support to Cambodian insurgent groups such as the republican KPNLF and royalist ANS.

    So who are the KPNLF and ANS?

    Khmer People’s National Liberation Front (KPNLF)

    The KPNLF was a republican, conservative, anti-Communist, and nationalist organization that consisted of several anti-Khmer Rouge politicians prominent in the former administrations of Prince Norodom Sihanouk and General Lon Nol. It came to be led by Son Sann, a former prime minister during the Sihanouk era. It drew most of its support from Cambodian refugees along the Thai-Cambodian border, and administered about 160,000 civilians in a camp known as “Site 2.” Its armed wing was known as the Khmer People’s National Liberation Armed Forces (KPNLAF) and was commanded by General Dien Diel.

    Armée National Sihanoukiste (ANS)

    The smaller of the two noncommunist resistance groups, the Armée National Sihanoukiste (ANS) owed allegiance to Sihanouk. It was the armed adjunct of FUNCINPEC, which rallied Sihanouk supporters clustered on the Thai border. The force was formed in June 1981, by consolidating the Movement for the National Liberation of Kampuchea and at least two other armed groups of Sihanouk supporters grouped on the Thai border.

    So, who was supporting the Khmer Rouge? The very next line in the first link:

    The Khmer Rouge, still led by Pol Pot, was the strongest of the three rebel groups, and received extensive military aid from China and intelligence from the Thai military.

    Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

    Thanks blah, for providing me with comedy gold at the expense of your embarrassment.

    AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

    Paul (dd77a9)

  200. http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/US_ThirdWorld/US_PolPot.html
    “In 1982, under pressure from the U.S., China, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Sihanouk and Son Sann joined forces with the Khmer Rouge to form the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK). ”

    http://www.chss.montclair.edu/English/furr/pol/polpotmontclarion0498.html
    “In 1981, Pres. Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, said, “I encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot. The US”, he added, “winked publicly” as China sent arms to the Khmer Rouge(KR) through Thailand.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Genocide-Democracy-Cambodia-International-Community/dp/0938692496
    “Book Description
    Proceedings of the 1992 Raphael Lemkin Symosium, co-published with the Schell Center for International Human Rights, Yale Law School. Specialists from seven disciplines examine the record of the Khmer Rouge, and the international community’s involvement with the affairs of the country. In particular the book examines the capacity, responsibility and performance of the international community under international law, and the responsibility or accountability, if any, of the Khmer Rouge for the policies and practices of the Khmer Rouge period. Preface by George Andreopoulos, Schell Center, Yale Law School. Introduction by Ben Kiernan, Department of History, Yale University.”

    blah (191069)

  201. Sometime I fuck up. There are some good quotes in and some relevant facts there but also a good deal of shit in the background.
    I’ll take the blame with the credit.

    blah (191069)

  202. Ah, now I see. We “winked publicly”. An uspoken conspiracy that only blah is smart enough to figure out.

    What a waste of grey matter, if there is any.

    JD (3cdc37)

  203. blah, you never take any blame for your own incompetence. You continually pretend that you don’t repeatedly fall face down each time you attempt – futilely – to comment upon an issue.

    It is the only entertainment in your visits.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  204. Oh, and by the way, blah, Brezinski taking credit for the Chinese arming Vietnam’s enemies in occupied Cambodia is pretty hilarious – if you actually knew anything about history. This is just one example of what a pathetic Nat Sec Adv Brezinski was.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  205. I wonder whether blah thinks all this stuff happened before or after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  206. Hey everybody, get a load of the beginning of blah’s first link in #200:

    For the last eleven years the United States government, in a covert operation born of cynicism and hypocrisy, has collaborated with the genocidal Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. More specifically, Washington has covertly aided and abetted the Pol Potists’ guerrilla war to overthrow the Vietnamese backed government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, which replaced the Khmer Rouge regime.

    Covert Action Quarterly magazine? Are you kidding me?

    The second link continues the hilarity:

    In all the hubbub about the death of Pol Pot, neither the U.S. government nor the American news media have seen fit to mention that

    * this mass murderer was supported for fifteen years by the United States.
    * the U.S. bombing of Cambodia during 1970-75 killed as many or more Cambodians as Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge ever did;
    * Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were not Communists.

    That link also says this:

    Nowhere was there any mention of U.S. support for the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot, though this had been well documented.

    Like where? In the vivid imaginations of conspiracy theorists?

    Don’t you love that “neither the U.S. government nor the American news media have seen fit to mention” and “this had been well documented” both are near the beginning of the link?

    Are you telling me that during the Reagan Era, when the American News Media was looking for anything to take him down, they wouldn’t mention this?

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

    The third link is a book by Ben Kiernan. I found this paragraph from a review interesting:

    “Genocide and Democracy in Cambodia” illustrates how the Carter Administration chose not to accept the Vietnamese offer to reestablish relations due to its early 1978 “tilt towards China” and, accordingly, toward China’s Khmer Rouge ally, well before Vietnam invaded Cambodia. “Genocide and Democracy in Cambodia” reveals how Pol Pot proceeded to carry out the worst atrocities of his reign (concealed by the CIA in its later demographic study) presumably because of the US connection. Unlike many European countries, the US did not abstain at the UN on the “legitimate” government of Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge were expelled by the Vietnamese, but supported the Khmer Rouge along with China. The US backed China’s invasion to discipline Vietnam and turned to supporting the Thai-based coalition in which the Khmer Rouge was the major military element. US President Carter’s National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski has revealed that the US encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot.

    This is no surprise, since Jimmy Carter has coddled dictators and mass murderers for 30 years, annoying even Bill Clinton.

    Oh, by the way, check out this nugget about Kiernan:

    While Kiernan has become a fierce critic of Khmer Rouge behavior, Peter Rodman notes that “When Hanoi turned publicly against Phnom Penh, it suddenly became respectable for many on the Left to “discover” the murderous qualities of the Khmer Rouge-qualities that had been obvious to unbiased observers for years. Kiernan fits this pattern nicely. His book even displays an eagerness to absolve of genocidal responsibility those members of the Khmer Rouge who defected to Hanoi and were later reinstalled in power in Phnom Penh by the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in 1978.”

    It’s always fun to use you links against you, blah.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  207. I used to think blah and phil were neck and neck for the biggest moron commenters on this blog. Blah has certainly moved ahead with her impressive display of ignorance and willful stupidity on this thread.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  208. The only person I know of with more demonstrated stupidity is Jimmy Carter.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  209. There’s always Rosie…

    Scott Jacobs (c0db90)

  210. Paul, I don’t think blah ever reads any of the links he/she spams on us.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  211. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C01E3D9153CF934A25757C0A96E958260

    DEATH OF POL POT: THE DIPLOMACY; Pol Pot’s End Won’t Stop U.S. Pursuit of His Circle

    President Clinton indicated tonight that the United States would continue to pursue Khmer Rouge leaders and try them as war criminals, despite the death of Pol Pot.

    In a written statement issued in Santiago, Chile, where he is attending a Latin American summit meeting, Mr. Clinton said: ”Although the opportunity to hold Pol Pot accountable for his monstrous crimes appears to have passed, senior Khmer Rouge, who exercised leadership from 1975 to 1979, are still at large and share responsibility for the monstrous human rights abuses committed during this period.

    ”We must not permit the death of the most notorious of the Khmer Rouge leaders to deter us from the equally important task of bringing these others to justice.”

    The Administration’s determination, during the last days of Pol Pot’s life, to coordinate the capture and trial of the Cambodian leader was driven in part by misgivings over past American support that had helped Pol Pot remain free since 1979, when the Khmer Rouge Government was overthrown by the Vietnamese.

    In one of the cold war’s proxy battles, the United States took China’s side against the Soviet Union, which meant accepting the Khmer Rouge as the legitimate Government of Cambodia in opposition to the Vietnamese-imposed regime in Phnom Penh. Previously, the United States had sided with China to punish the Soviet Union for its 1979 invasion of Afghanistan.

    It was not until last year, long after the Vietnamese had withdrawn, that the United States gave the green light to go after the elusive Khmer Rouge leader. By then the cold war had ended, peace had been secured for Cambodia and Pol Pot had lost any value in the power politics of the region.

    ”But by not having a trial and not punishing Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge over the past two decades we have, in effect, told the Cambodians that what happened wasn’t a crime,” said Diane Orentlicher, professor of law at American University. ”If there was no punishment, there was no crime.”

    American diplomats have long called Cambodia one of the lost causes of United States foreign policy. The secret bombing of the Cambodian border region in 1969 became one of the potential articles of impeachment against former President Richard M. Nixon in 1974. The 1973 saturation bombing of the country was only ended by an order from Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.

    The 1975 Khmer Rouge victory was the first in the series of Communist triumphs against United States-supported governments in this country’s longest war.

    ”There’s certainly a major American responsibility for this whole situation,” said Stephen Heder, an American scholar on Cambodia and lecturer at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. ”A war-crimes trial could have posed a problem for the U.S. because it could have raised questions about U.S. bombing from 1969 through 1973.”

    When refugees began fleeing from Cambodia after the 1979 Vietnamese invasion, the United States accepted the bulk of the responsibility for resettling them, and more than 150,000 Cambodians came to this country.

    But while the United States gave tens of millions of dollars in aid throughout the 1980’s to Cambodian refugees, it orchestrated a complete program of sanctions against Cambodia because it was under Vietnamese occupation. And to insure that Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge would fight the Vietnamese occupiers, the Carter Administration helped arrange continued Chinese aid.

    ”I encourage the Chinese to support Pol Pot,” said Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser at the time. ”The question was how to help the Cambodian people. Pol Pot was an abomination. We could never support him, but China could.”

    At the United Nations, the United States, along with most countries of Europe and Asia, gave the Cambodia seat to the Khmer Rouge Government by itself and, after 1983, in coalition with other anti-Vietnamese Cambodian groups.

    All attempts even to describe the Khmer Rouge regime as genocidal were rejected by the United States as counterproductive to finding peace. Only in 1989, with the beginning of the Paris peace process, was the word genocide spoken in reference to a regime responsible for the deaths of more than a million people.

    After the 1991 peace plan led to Cambodian elections, Pol Pot lost the protection of his major Chinese and Thai sponsors, but by then Cambodian leaders were reluctant to call for his trial.

    Nearly every major figure in the Phnom Penh Government had been aligned with Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge at one point in his career, and they did not want to reopen questions about the regime.

    blah (191069)

  212. 211, blah, just like Clinton pursued Bin Laden?

    PCD (5c49b0)

  213. That’s it from the Patricia’s Peanut Gallery?
    No more?

    blah (191069)

  214. Why are we even talking to a dishonest, virulently anti-American propagandist? Isn’t his attempt to blame America for Pol Pot’s crimes enough of a hint as to what he is?

    nk (95162d)

  215. blah, you’ve confused yourself into irrelevancy. **yawn **

    nk, yep, chomskyites annoy me greatly.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  216. Uh, blah, isee some consistency problems…

    From the second link in #200:

    * Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were not Communists.

    From your NYT link:

    The 1975 Khmer Rouge victory was the first in the series of Communist triumphs against United States-supported governments in this country’s longest war.

    Which is it?

    I also find it very conspicuous that Ronald Regan was not blamed in any way for such Khmer Rouge “support.” Why is that?

    Paul (dd77a9)

  217. Who were the President in the 80’s Paul?
    http://www.iht.com/articles/2000/09/29/khmer.2.t.php
    Still, it wasn’t a democratic foreign policy or a republican foreign policy, it was American foreign policy. If you want some fun with Carter google the Kwangju massacre.

    “Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were not Communists.”
    Look up the thread. I said there was silliness mixed in with the links I gave. I apologized for that.

    blah (191069)

  218. blah,

    What is your objective in spreading all this misinformation?

    PCD (5c49b0)

  219. Remember blah’s disclamer for his/her links. That the links may or may not have credibility, may or may not be relevant, etc. E.g., that blah is intentionally wasting others’ time.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  220. “What is your objective in spreading all this misinformation[sic]?”
    The hope that some of the readers here aren’t as stupid as you are.

    And, I said before, I’m a man: a semi-retired carpenter.

    blah (191069)

  221. blah.

    You have claimed before to have been a retired serviceman, under your AF identity. Wadda? Won’t you please clarify?

    nk (95162d)

  222. nk,

    Think blah could be Jimmy Carter?

    PCD (5c49b0)

  223. He has also claimed that he’s Jewish. A Jewish Carpenter? 😉

    nk (95162d)

  224. It would explain the otherwise inexplicable confidence in Brezinski – something shared by only two people, Brezinski and Carter.

    The thread is really a microcosm of blah – spiraling irrelevancies.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  225. Patterico,

    How you run your site is just fine with me, and I really detested Christoph’s attacks on DRJ, but when it comes to David Ehrenstein’s foul mouth and AF/blah’s dishonesty I’ll prefer David over AF/blah any day.

    nk (95162d)

  226. 225 comments so far on this disagreement?

    Just remember, nk, be careful what you wish for (sad smile).

    Eric Blair (839cfb)

  227. “A Jewish Carpenter?”
    Yup. But I guess you think we’re all in dry goods and money lending.

    “You have claimed before to have been a retired serviceman,”
    Never said that, or anything close to it. My father and uncle were drafted and my brother signed up. I’ve never been military.

    blah (191069)

  228. Still, it wasn’t a democratic foreign policy or a republican foreign policy, it was American foreign policy.

    So blah, where did this policy come from? It didn’t just appear. Someone had to write and uphold it.

    Your links imply that Jimmy Carter (the worst president in the 20th Century, btw) initiated it. But Carter left office in January 1981. If such “support” ran for more than a decade, yhis was a prime opportunity for the NYT and IHT to pile the blame on Ronald Reagan, yet Reagan was not blamed in any way for such Khmer Rouge “support.” Not even a gratuitous cheap shot at him anywhere in either story. Why?

    Could it be that such “support” came from the Dems, who had veto-proof majorities in Congress in the 80s?

    Could it be that such “support” came from ultra-liberal unelected bureaucrats in the State Department, since such “support” was “American foreign policy?”

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    Paul (dd77a9)

  229. And yes, I question the Dems in the 80s even though the IHT story says:

    The program was opposed by the U.S. Congress because lawmakers objected to moves to aid the Khmer Rouge.

    No names, just “the US Congress.” Details?

    Then there’s this part that fuels my speculation of either the Democrat-controlled Congress or the State Department were the prime movers of such “American foreign policy”:

    The administration of President Ronald Reagan was persuaded to support the ultimately successful effort to get Vietnam to withdraw from Cambodia in September 1989 so that elections under United Nations supervision could be held for a new government.

    Who thinks the UN is the ultimate solution to conflicts between nations? Hmnn?

    That would be liberals.

    Liberals controlled Congress and still control the State Department.

    That would explain why no details on just who was deeply involved with such “support.”

    Paul (dd77a9)


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