This paper considers the second Lancet survey of mortality in Iraq published in October 2006. It presents some evidence suggesting ethical violations to the survey’s respondents including endangerment, privacy breaches and violations in obtaining informed consent. Breaches of minimal disclosure standards examined include non-disclosure of the survey’s questionnaire, data-entry form, data matching anonymised interviewer identifications with households and sample design. The paper also presents some evidence relating to data fabrication and falsification, which falls into nine broad categories. This evidence suggests that this survey cannot be considered a reliable or valid contribution towards knowledge about the extent of mortality in Iraq since 2003.
Via the Corner (and probably Hot Air, soon). For those who don’t remember, the Lancet 2 study was the one that claimed that 601K people had been killed in Iraq between its liberation in 2003 and 2006. This would have worked out to about 2% of the population dying in three years: to put this in perspective, this is the rough equivalent of the USA losing the population of Los Angeles and Chicago in three years without anybody noticing. For that matter, the death rate in Iraq has been decreasing since 2000, if this survey is to be believed*. My point? It’s nice to see the scientific community start to catch up on a position that anybody who wasn’t a natural-born damned fool to begin with knew already: you can’t remove even single-digit percentages of a population from the population without people noticing the sudden influx of bodies. At this rate, they should be caught up on the necessity and general appropriateness of the Second Gulf War by, oh, 2025 or so…
*Depends on whether you believe the CIA World Factbook, I guess.