- Bush: "I don't consider it a credible report."
- Blair's lackeys: (Foreign Sec. Beckett - "...there is nobody who comes up with figures on this scale" and Blair spokesperson - "...it is not one we believe to be anywhere near accurate."
So you might think Lourdes Garcia-Navarro would be a little bit embarrassed this morning when David Green asks her, "How many Iraqi civilians have died, do we have a sense?" and she answers:
"The short answer, David, is no, we don't know. Let me go through the numbers. The gold standard really is Iraq Body Count - according to their website which we use...it's the most credible one out there for now....There was one very controversial and well known report published in 2006 by the Lancet..."Zounds! This is about as sloppy and dishonest as it gets. As the UK officials secretly noted above, the Lancet report was anything but controversial in its methodology. Others have noted that identical studies are used to cite authoritative death estimates in places like the Congo and Darfur with no hint of "controversy." The only thing controversial about the Lancet report and the ORB report (which Garcia-Navarro doesn't even mention) was the disturbing truth that so many hundreds of thousands (now over a million) of innocent people have perished in the Bush-Blair Iraq war. Any dispassionate look at Iraq Body Count (IBC) would find it anything but a "gold standard." Media Lens has an extensive look at its shortcomings and the BBC in its coverage of the challenges to IBC from Media Lens lists many endorsements of the Lancet's findings from actual experts in epidemiological studies.
Lastly, NPR's Iraq report today (and Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson's dismal piece last week) was somehow supposed to balance the deluge of generally prowar "Impact of War" reports that NPR has run. It was supposed to address the concern of a listener who challenged NPR,
"I would be further moved if NPR could consider any of the millions of Iraqis affected - the million dead, and the millions wounded or displaced. What effect would a story of a victim of an American bombing have."Neither report offers a shred of intense, personal stories about innocents killed by the US. But if you are a big fan of Bush, Blair and their wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, then you'd have to agree that for spin and distortion, these reports are the gold standard after all.