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by Steven Plaut


You may recall that during the war in Iraq, the British medical journal Lancet went on a jihad on behalf of the Baathists and against the British-American operations, and invented lunatic science fiction figures about the number of Iraqis killed by Allied troops.

Well, the Lancet is back, with new science fiction to serve the jihad, this time about casualties in Gaza. It has issued a monograph available as

Here is what we had to say about the Lancet earlier, in March 2007 in an article entitled Lancing the Lies at The Lancet.

The Lancet is a British medical journal, considered the leading such journal in Britain. Unfortunately, instead of pursuing serious research in medicine, in recent years the Lancet has become one of the main organs of anti-Israel and anti-American leftism in the UK. Dr Richard Horton, editor of the The Lancet, is a leftist moonbat. Some other British medical journals are little better.

The Lancet has run at least 130 articles bewailing the health conditions of the poor Palestinians, yet never has denounced Palestinian terrorism as being the cause of those woes. It regularly denounces Israel for checking Palestinian ambulances, naturally never mentioning how often those ambulances carry bombs and murderers. CAMERA has exposed the anti-Israel bias prevalent in The Lancet. It regularly makes moral equivalence judgments about Palestinian mass murder of Jews and Israel defending its civilians. It falsely claims that Israel intentionally targets "innocent civilians" and makes countless political assertions that have nothing to do with health. The Israel Hasbara Committee has also attacked bias in The Lancet and other British medicial journals.

PERHAPS THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS example of the Lancet junking its scholarly standards and research agenda in the name of promoting politically correct wackiness was its decision to publish an article claiming that 650,000 Iraqis, or 2.5% of the entire Iraqi population, died as a result of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the toppling of Saddam Hussein. That article was "Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey", by Burnham G, Lafta R, Doocy S, Roberts L. The Lancet - Vol. 368, Issue 9545, 21 October 2006, Pages 1421-1428. It immediately drew enormous criticism and was denounced as fraud and quackery all over the globe. The 650,000 number was pure "advocacy statistics", meaning advocacy lying with fraudulent statistics. Such advocacy statistic lies are familiar, from the 10% of the population being gay to the 600 billion Africans who died in the slave trade.

Even leftist antiwar activist groups, like "Iraqi Body Count", put the real number of dead Iraqis as no more than 50,000. Others have also come up with estimates nowhere near that in The Lancet, and some put them below 20,000. Michael Fumento, the leading science journalist in the US, dismissed The Lancet piece as naked propaganda. And naturally, The Lancet had no interest in the number of Iraqi lives that the war SAVED! I counted 138,000 web pages that refer to fraud in The Lancet's article on Iraq. Now even the distinguished Times of London has joined the fray and denounced The Lancet's fraudulent claims. While the entire article is worth reading, here are some of the best points:

'SEVERAL ACADEMICS have tried to find out how the Lancet study was conducted; none regards their queries as having been addressed satisfactorily. Researchers contacted by The Times talk of unreturned e-mails or phone calls, or of being sent information that raises fresh doubts.

'One critic is Professor Michael Spagat, an economist from Royal Holloway College, University of London...

'Professor Spagat says the Lancet paper contains misrepresentations of mortality figures suggested by other organisations, an inaccurate graph, the use of the word casualties to mean deaths rather than deaths plus injuries, and the perplexing finding that child deaths have fallen...

'.The authors ignore contrary evidence, cherry-pick and manipulate supporting evidence and evade inconvenient questions,. contends Professor Spagat, who believes the paper was poorly reviewed. .They published a sampling methodology that can overestimate deaths by a wide margin but respond to criticism by claiming that they did not actually follow the procedures that they stated.. The paper had .no scientific standing.. Did he rule out the possibility of fraud? .No..'


Steven Plaut is an American-trained economist, a professor of business administration at Haifa University and author of "The Scout." He frequently comments — both seriously and satirically — on Israeli politics and the left wing academic community. Write him at His website address is

This article was submitted january 18, 2008.


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