Roberts Quotes on IFHS
Fortunately (for me!), Roberts does not think that way. Instead, he seems to be going out of his way to attack the IFHS results, just as he has done in the past with IBC. Here are a couple of quotes:
A paragraph in the published abstract of the report, blandly titled "Adjustment for Reporting Bias" contains an implicit confession of the subjectivity with which the authors reached their conclusions. As Sprey points out, "they say 'the level of completeness in reporting of death was 62%,' but they give no real explanation of how they arrive at that figure." Les Roberts, one of the principal authors of the Johns Hopkins studies, has commented: "We confirmed our deaths with death certificates, they did not. As the NEJM study's interviewers worked for one side in this conflict, [the U.S.- sponsored government] it is likely that people would be unwilling to admit violent deaths to the study workers."
If any further confirmation of the essential worthlessness of the NEJM effort, it comes in the bizarre conclusion that violent deaths in the Iraqi population have not increased over the course of the occupation. As Iraq has descended into a bloody civil war during that time, it should seem obvious to the meanest intelligence that violent deaths have to have increased. Indeed, even Iraq Body Count tracks the same rate of increase as the Hopkins survey, while NEJM settles for a mere 7% in recent years. As Roberts points out: "They roughly found a steady rate of violence from 2003 - 2006. Baghdad morgue data, Najaf burial data, Pentagon attack data, and our data all show a dramatic increase over 2005 and 2006."
See also here for similar material.
There are reasons to suspect that the NEJM data had an under-reporting of violent deaths.
The death rate they recorded for before the invasion (and after) was very low....lower than neighboring countries and 1/3 of what WHO said the death rate was for Iraq back in 2002.
The last time this group (COSIT) did a mortality survey like this they also found a very low crude death rate and when they revisited the exact same homes a second time and just asked about child deaths, they recorded almost twice as many. Thus, the past record suggests people do not want to report deaths to these government employees.
We confirmed our deaths with death certificates, they did not. As the NEJM study's interviewers worked for one side in this conflict, it is likely that people would be unwilling to admit violent deaths to the study workers.
They roughly found a steady rate of violence from 2003 - 2006. Baghdad morgue data, Najaf burial data, and our data all show a dramatic increase over 2005 and 2006.
Finally, their data suggests 1/4 of deaths over the occupation through 6/06 were from violence. Our data suggest a majority of deaths were from violence. All graveyard reports I have heard are consistent with our results.
The more that Roberts criticizes IFHS, the more likely they are to come after him. You go, guy!