Letters to the editor

SOU Iraq Body Count exhibit was gesture of love

The sight of the red and white flags fluttering in the wind on the green grass of the SOU lawns was visually powerful. What did it say? I think it was a gesture of love. Yes, love!

Love and respect to our American men and women and to the Iraqis who have fallen with them. It shows us the terrible hold that the ego can inflict on the world and our minds. The grim grip of hate, malice, jealousy and judgment can, will and has extracted a terrible price when it gets out of hand. The inability or desire to communicate until understanding could have been reached was absent.

When we take the light of this exhibit and shine it into the dark aspects of our everyday ego, we can then wake up. Do I, or have I, ever held hate, malice, jealousy and judgment in my mind? Sure, although I do not like to admit it. Do the "attributes" of the ego define me? No, and they do not define you either.

Recognizing we have these aspects in ourselves undoes them (and the ego) and consequently we no longer project them onto anyone else or any country. This is all we need to do to change the world from hate and darkness to light and expansiveness.

We have the power to change our minds. We are beings of light and love. This exhibit says, "We choose to love all of you, American soldiers and Citizens of Iraq. We hold you as equals in our heart and ask you to forgive the world's inability to choose love and understanding to guide the way. We extend love to all minds who think war or killing solves our problems. We forgive the lack of love that brought about the need for this exhibit and we now choose to be the compassion and kindness that we want to see in our community and the world. We can now take the love that this exhibit represents and extend it to government leaders, to ourselves and all people in Iraq, Iran and the world, regardless of their nationality or religion. We are one people on this one planet choosing peace and tranquility in our individual lives."

Sally McKirgan

Scrutinizing the Lancet report on Iraq death toll

Lancet's estimates of Iraqi fatalities are suspicious. The most accurate figures are from car bombs, which for the period covered by Lancet numbered 5,046 fatalities. Lancet estimated the number to be 76,000 &

fifteen times too many.

The bombing of the Golden Mosque is blamed for plunging Iraq into civil war, yet Lancet requires over five such bombings every day for three years. The Lancet numbers require over 500 Iraqis dying every day for 40 months &

far higher than reported on any day. 655,000 fatalities should produce two or three times as many wounded, numbers far larger than actually reported.

Mr. Dietz claims Lancet used "the most accurate assessments so far." The survey sent only eight surveyors to 50 clusters (obtaining data from 47), with each cluster consisting of 40 households. Lancet's estimate is four times that of the U.N. Development Program survey that used 2,200 clusters of 10 houses each.

The data on the single disk made available suggests fabrication.

For example, 22 death certificates for victims of violence and 23 certificates for other deaths were declared missing. The 23 missing certificates for nonviolent deaths were distributed throughout eight provinces but the 22 missing for violent deaths were in one province. Twenty-four of 60 deaths in one market bombing were from 40 adjacent houses, although the actual victims were from a much larger area. This in turn suggests why the Iraqi professor who supervised the survey refuses to release the rest of the original data. Belgian scientist Guha-Sapir is completing a paper on the known mathematical and procedural errors in Lancet II.

Improper oversight led Garfield to take his name off Lancet II. Roberts was running for Congress on an anti-war platform during the study, so did not directly supervise the work and had an interest in inflated figures.

Making that agenda clear, the authors submitted both studies under condition of publication just before the 2004 and 2006 elections. Sharing that agenda, the Lancet editor rushed the studies into print, with an expedited peer-review process and without seeing the original data.

David Churchman

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