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Thread: Debunking the Lancet Report

  1. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    First: Warning - you need to actually read posts directed at you and then respond after having done research on your own. In this case, all you need to do is to actually read the article and the reports that you are using in your own posts.
    I did. The lowest estimate are the US totals. I wondered why they are lower than all the other studies? Perhaps you have an opinion on that point?

    Also, don't develop strawmen
    I mentioned that this inability to calculate civilian deaths has transfered itself to Afghanistan There appears to be another problem in this area.
    I also wondered why this is considered a military secret.
    I illustrated the secrecy issue with a recent headline about an arrest.
    I was wondering why civilian deaths are considered sensitive.
    Perhaps another area where you could share your opinion?


    Second: Weapons have some random effects. 10 people killed out of a 100, depending on the specific weapon and terrain could have been par for the course
    Indeed. For instance a thorough investigation might reveal it would be better to wait until after the actual marriage has been concluded. That way, when they crowd around the lucky couple they present a better target.

  2. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkenny View Post
    I did. The lowest estimate are the US totals. I wondered why they are lower than all the other studies? Perhaps you have an opinion on that point?
    Roberts et al (Lancet) estimated excess deaths from March 2003-July 2006.
    Burnham et al (NEJM) estimated excess deaths from March 2003-June 2006.
    The US military estimates of civilian deaths are from January 2006-December 2007.

    Comparing Roberts et al and Burnham et al to the US military estimates is comparing apples to oranges prima faccia from dates (I don't know the exact methodology for the US military estimates, although they tracked closely to the Ministry of Health numbers from what I recall, at times being slightly greater in number). However, just like IBC, these numbers capture a slightly different statistic than Roberts et al and Burnham et al, which capture "excess" deaths due to not only violence, but also to different mortality rates from disease, birthing, etc. Thus, even if the dates were the same, you can't compare the two statistics without first stripping out non-violent deaths from the Roberts et al and Burnham et al studies.

    In terms of my own confidence intervals, as Herodotus will attest to since we've been kicking around this subject for almost four years now between here but mostly at another board, the Lancet studies grossly overestimate deaths from OIF. Although I'm sure there are some false deaths captured in IBC due to insurgent propaganda, I'm pretty confident that even with all the scrubbing of news reports that many deaths go unreported, and so I consider the IBC to provide a floor in terms of the lower bound of the number. The Burnham study comports very well with the range of excess deaths I had felt was likely based on the floor provided by IBC and how IBC didn't capture deaths due to disruption of health services and sanitation services, etc. (notice, I'm not attaching casuality here, just stating that these services ebbed and flowed based on the security situation).

    The Burnham study, while conducted past the peak violence months in Iraq, didn't capture the peak months of violence, and so I wouldn't be surprised if a study were conducted today that the total wouldn't have increased by 50-100K in the intervening time. However, we're at a point now where violent deaths are probably at or below pre-war levels and services are close as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by mkenney
    I mentioned that this inability to calculate civilian deaths has transfered itself to Afghanistan There appears to be another problem in this area.
    I also wondered why this is considered a military secret.
    I illustrated the secrecy issue with a recent headline about an arrest.
    I was wondering why civilian deaths are considered sensitive.
    Perhaps another area where you could share your opinion?
    Any investigation into civilian deaths is probably going to detail targeting and ordnance information as well as other operational details, most if not all of which should be classified. Any report takes on the classification level of the highest classification piece within it (at least within the US military), so if there's only one piece of information (say a single phrase within one sentence) in a 1000 page report and it's classified "super duper extra sensitive secret," then the entire report has to be classified "super duper extra sensitive secret."

    I don't know if the UK MoD has a different policy with regards to the classification of material, but going with the assumption that it's not different, then even if all the information regarding #s of non-combatant deaths/injuries isn't classified, if it's contained within a report that's classified, then it's a crime to pass on the report or any portion of the report unless you have the information screened by someone with the authority to declassify or authorize its release.

    Quote Originally Posted by mkenny
    Indeed. For instance a thorough investigation might reveal it would be better to wait until after the actual marriage has been concluded. That way, when they crowd around the lucky couple they present a better target.
    You're going to need to explain this one, because I'm reading this as baiting as an insinuation that NATO military elements deliberately target non-combatants and should try to figure out how to be more effective in this. There will be zero tolerance for future statements like this if my read is not mistaken.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

  3. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post

    Any investigation into civilian deaths is probably going to detail targeting and ordnance information as well as other operational details, most if not all of which should be classified. Any report takes on the classification level of the highest classification piece within it (at least within the US military), so if there's only one piece of information (say a single phrase within one sentence) in a 1000 page report and it's classified "super duper extra sensitive secret," then the entire report has to be classified "super duper extra sensitive secret."

    I don't know if the UK MoD has a different policy with regards to the classification of material, but going with the assumption that it's not different, then even if all the information regarding #s of non-combatant deaths/injuries isn't classified, if it's contained within a report that's classified, then it's a crime to pass on the report or any portion of the report unless you have the information screened by someone with the authority to declassify or authorize its release.
    Yet there are no secrets involved when the numbers of dead enemy combatants are involved. I see no shortage of sound-bites where details of the latest succes is trumpeted. Are they only using the secret weapons on civilians?
    I think it would be a simple matter to state x number of civilisans were killed (by mistake) and leave the information at that.



    You're going to need to explain this one, because I'm reading this as baiting as an insinuation that NATO military elements deliberately target non-combatants and should try to figure out how to be more effective in this. There will be zero tolerance for future statements like this if my read is not mistaken.
    I do not say they are deliberately targeted. I say the 'intelligence' is not good enough to be able to differentiat what exactly a group is up too. Thus it seems to be shoot first and ask questions later. Strangely every time these mistakes happen there is a large difference in the casualty total between 'official' sources and those dealing with the bodies.
    The truth is civilians have been killed. Wedding Parties (plural) have been attacked and innocents killed. There is a policy to hide the numbers because it is politicaly embarrasing. I am sure any number of reasons can be found for not admitting the mistakes but they are nothing to do with Military Security. We have a number of high profile cases where friendly fire killed a lot of our own troops so what is the problem with admitting it happens and sometimes civilians are targetted in error?

  4. #109
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    Actually, if you look at the news reports, the military does release figures for high profile events that are reported. However, because of local customs for burial and other issues associated with travel in combat zones, it takes time to conduct inquiries and get the findings approved, at which time the figures are reported. Sometimes this jives with initial reports, sometimes it doesn't. However, if there was a desire to cover up or not admit mistakes, then you wouldn't see this frequent divergence between initial reports and then the follow-up reports. Your storyline just hasn't stood up throughout the thread.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

  5. #110

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    Read The Reports

    A couple of illuminating reports on the effects of U.S. airstrikes and other kinetic events in Afghanistan and the effects and nature of insurgent attacks-

    "Troops In Contact"- Human Rights Watch Sept. 2008

    Released in early September, 2008, the above report chronicles the effects of ISAF airstrikes and ground actions upon the civilian population of Afghanistan and does so throughout but with particular emphasis between 2006 and 2008. The casualties certainly highlight a political and, perhaps, procedural issues but pale by any comparison to the following- 1.) insurgent attacks, 2.) the afghan civil war, and 3.) the Soviet-Afghan war.

    Here's an interesting report by the same organization that details the effects of insurgent attacks (both targeted and collateral) upon the afghan populace-

    The Human Cost- HRW

    There's no comparison by intent nor numbers. Some just prefer perspectives that defy reality.
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  6. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    You're going to need to explain this one, because I'm reading this as baiting as an insinuation that NATO military elements deliberately target non-combatants and should try to figure out how to be more effective in this. There will be zero tolerance for future statements like this if my read is not mistaken.
    That was my take.

  7. #112
    Muganga Military Professional JOgershok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkenny View Post
    Indeed. For instance a thorough investigation might reveal it would be better to wait until after the actual marriage has been concluded. That way, when they crowd around the lucky couple they present a better target.
    While we are waiting for the perfect time to take out this high value target, perhaps they will also have an epiphany and surrender. How many of these "high value targets" have been tracked, have armored vehicles, and have gone to ground when the opportunity was lost to take them out.

    Your statement:
    Quote Originally Posted by mkenny View Post
    That way, when they crowd around the lucky couple they present a better target.
    unless interpreted as sarcasm, clearly implies that you want NATO forces to target civilians. Both positions are without proof and are egregious.

  8. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOgershok View Post
    How many of these "high value targets" have been tracked, have armored vehicles, and have gone to ground when the opportunity was lost to take them out.
    Happens multiple times every single week. We're very VERY careful, and I can state with absolute certainty that there is no Power anywhere on the Earth or at anytime in history that has placed their own forces at such risk or imperiled their own misison accomplishment for the exact purpose of avoided harming the innocent. (And may I just say that if there is any doubt about the innocence of someone that may be negatively affected by our actions, the benfit of the doubt goes to the individual in question.)

    From my time in Saudi Arabia supporting Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, I am personally aware of a target that remained unstruck because the smallest weapon we could have used against it would've - and I'm not making this up or engaging in hyperbole here - broken WINDOWS in a school. Could've hit it in the middle of the night; could've even dropped leaflets. No. We let that target go completely unmolested because of the risk to WINDOW PANES.

    So, I have about zero-point-nil patience for snark like this.

    Good kill, Shek.
    Last edited by Bluesman; 09 Feb 09, at 22:56.

  9. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkenny View Post
    Yet there are no secrets involved when the numbers of dead enemy combatants are involved. I see no shortage of sound-bites where details of the latest succes is trumpeted. Are they only using the secret weapons on civilians?
    I think it would be a simple matter to state x number of civilisans were killed (by mistake) and leave the information at that.

    I do not say they are deliberately targeted. I say the 'intelligence' is not good enough to be able to differentiat what exactly a group is up too. Thus it seems to be shoot first and ask questions later. Strangely every time these mistakes happen there is a large difference in the casualty total between 'official' sources and those dealing with the bodies.
    The truth is civilians have been killed. Wedding Parties (plural) have been attacked and innocents killed. There is a policy to hide the numbers because it is politicaly embarrasing. I am sure any number of reasons can be found for not admitting the mistakes but they are nothing to do with Military Security. We have a number of high profile cases where friendly fire killed a lot of our own troops so what is the problem with admitting it happens and sometimes civilians are targetted in error?
    The difference between us and them is that we painstakingly go out of our way to avoid civilian casualties, they go out of their way to target civilians. These guys you've been arguing with have directly relevant military experience and are eminently qualified to give their opinion on the matter.

    I third, good kill.

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