$oros' Iraq Death Study Was a Sham
By Todd Venezia
New York Post
January 10, 2008
Anti-Bush billionaire George Soros helped finance a dubious study of Iraqi casualties that was rushed into print on the eve of the 2006 elections, according to a new report.
Soros, who gave more than $20 million to prevent President Bush's re-election, contributed $45,000 of the $145,000 that was spent on the study, the National Journal disclosed.
The study, which The Lancet, a British medical journal, published three weeks before the midterm elections, made major headlines around the world with claims that some 650,000 Iraqis died in the war to overthrow Saddam Hussein and the ensuing chaos.
Two of the study's co-authors told the National Journal that they opposed the war and submitted their findings to Lancet with the insistence that it appear before the election.
Much of the data for the study, which was organized by Johns Hopkins University, was collected by Iraqi researcher Riyadh Lafta, who once worked for Saddam, the National Journal said.
Soros, who has an estimated fortune of more than $8 billion, has backed various left-wing and anti-Bush groups, such as MoveOn.org. A Soros spokesman did not return a request for comment.
The 650,000 figure was regarded with skepticism when the study appeared because it was vastly higher than estimates by the US government (30,000) and the Iraqi government (50,000).
Even an antiwar activist group, Iraq Body Count, claimed 45,000 dead, a fraction of the Lancet figure.
Many anti-war activists received the Lancet numbers with glee, and touted it as an example of US lying.
But the National Journal found that some of the methods used to gather data seemed designed to boost that death count
The researchers interviewed far fewer people than were spoken to for other casualty studies, and seemed to focus on places where people were more likely to be killed, it said.
The Lancet seemed to be distancing itself from the data, the National Journal said.
"Anything [the authors] can do to strengthen the credibility of the Lancet paper would be very welcome," said Lancet editor Richard Horton.
Yesterday, the Iraqi government and the World Health Organization released a new study which used similar methodology to the Johns Hopkins researchers, but concluded 151,000 Iraqis died of violence in the three years after the U.S.-led invasion.
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