Yup, 655,000 civilians dead in the Iraq war–and all America’s fault. That’s what an article published today in the medical journal The Lancet says. That’s 12 times as many dead Iraqis as estimated even by the antiwar groups, who usually come up with a figure of 50,000. And you thought medical journals were supposed to be about new cures for cancer.

Instapundit (who has great links on this) notes that Lancet is the same journal that estimated 100,000 dead Iraqis just before the elections in 2004, a figure instantly pounced upon as laughable back then. It’s now election season again, so the Lancet researchers have come up with 555,000 more dead Iraqis in just two years. 

Here’s what Medpundit says about the researchers’ methodology:

“The researchers spent two months canvassing households in various regions of Iraq asking about deaths in the family. Sometimes they were able to confirm the reports with death certificates, sometimes they weren’t. They didn’t ask if the dead were combatants or non-combatants. They were afraid to ask that question. Afraid for themselves and for those they were asking. They interviewed 40 households in each of their selected regions, then extrapolated the 600,000 figure from the number of deaths they had recorded in their interviews. The margin of error of +/-200,000 speaks for itself. It’s not reliable.

“And sorry, but the defense that it’s as soundly designed as can be expected for these kinds of public health surveys is a weak one. Retrospective, interview-based studies like this are poor designs. It may be the standard way of gathering data in the public health field, but that doesn’t make it the best methodology, and it certainly doesn’t make its statistics sound. For too long the field of public health has relied on these types of shotty numbers to influence public policy, whether it’s the number of people who die from second hand smoke or the number who die from eating the wrong kinds of cooking oils.”

Pajamas Media links to this outraged response by Baghdad blogger Omar Fadi:

“They shamelessly made an auction of our blood, and it didn’t make a difference if the blood was shed by a bomb or a bullet or a heart attack because the bigger the count the more useful it becomes to attack this or that policy in a political race and the more useful it becomes in cheerleading for murderous tyrannical regimes.

“When the statistics announced by hospitals and military here, or even by the UN, did not satisfy their lust for more deaths, they resorted to mathematics to get a fake number that satisfies their sadistic urges….

“To me their motives are clear, all they want is to prove that our struggle for freedom was the wrong thing to do. And they shamelessly use lies to do this…when they did not find the death they wanted to see on the ground, they faked it on paper! They disgust me…

“This fake research is an insult to every man, woman and child who lost their lives.”

‘Nuff said.