Friday, August 11, 2006

More anti-Americanism from The Lancet

The Lancet betrays its anti-Americanism yet again ($):
The humanitarian indifference that typifies American and British policy is a betrayal of democratic principles of peace and reason.
The Lancet has a poor memory. It was the US that was among the first on the scene in Indonesia following the dreadful tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands. Just as it is often the US that takes a leadership role in humanitarian disasters.

Recall that The Lancet published the--ultimately discredited--paper that wildly inflated civilian casualties in Iraq ($). In the same issue was this comment ($) discussing the results, which unwittingly notes the paper's poor methodology:
One of the strengths of Roberts and colleagues' work is that it directly surveyed the people of Iraq, whose voices are now being heard. Personal interviews during wartime might well be subject to bias, but as the authors discuss, such bias is unlikely to underestimate deaths.
Just so. The opposite occurred: the bias vastly overinflated the deaths. On humanitarian grounds, overinflation may be preferrable, but on scientific grounds, both under and overinflation are unacceptable.

As with all Lancet papers, the author must declare any conflicts of interest. In this case, the author claims:
I declare that I have no conflict of interest.
Two sentences above, we find this sentiment:
A new Iraq with a newly imposed identity has to emerge, and for that to happen, the unique identity of Iraq, Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilisation, has been violently stripped.
Perhaps no financial conflict, but certainly one of perception.