The attempts by Lancet supporters to see "agreement"
between the Lancet 2006 study and the new WHO/IFHS study are slightly
comical (the two studies differ in their estimates
by 450,000 violent deaths). Aly, a poster at Medialens, mistakenly
imputes a figure of 400,000 excess deaths to the IFHS study (mistaken
for the reasons given in Will
McLean's piece, posted earlier).
Aly goes further and writes that the IFHS study "is
in reasonable agreement with L1 and L2 on the issue of total excess
By that, he means the excess deaths figure of 400,000 somehow
"agrees" with the Lancet 2004 and Lancet 2006 studies.
This is curious, since L1 and L2 don't agree with each other
at all, as you can see from Tim Lambert's recent extrapolated-to-present
Lancet 1 excess deaths: 420,000
Lancet 2 excess deaths: 1,200,000
Aly thinks that his 400,000 figure "agrees" with L2
because it falls within the range estimated by L2: 392,979 - 942,636
But by that kind of "logic" one could argue that a
study estimating zero violent deaths (and less
than 10,000 excess deaths) "agreed" with L1, since L1
estimated between 8,000 and 194,000 excess deaths).
The problem with these "agreements" between studies
is that they depend on a "dartboard" interpretation
of the massive ranges provided. And this is precisely the type
of interpretation that elicited such moral outrage from Lancet
defenders when Fred Kaplan first applied it. One shouldn't, they
argued, see the bottom figure (eg L1's 8,000 or L2's 392,979)
as representative of a likely estimate.
Lancet 2: 601,000 violent deaths
IFHS: 151,000 violent deaths
The studies disagree in a big way. But make no mistake, 151,000
is a mass slaughter, a calamity, an unimaginable scale of suffering.
It's not pro-war propaganda, as some who are addicted to quoting
bigger numbers (eg millions) seem to think.