The Decider Makes a Deciding

In comments, Ken pointed to this article (re: the new study that estimates Iraqi war casualties—those who have died both directly and indirectly because of the war—at more than 600,000) in which Bush offers his pronouncement:

President Bush slammed the report Wednesday during a news conference in the White House Rose Garden. "I don't consider it a credible report. Neither does Gen. (George) Casey," he said, referring to the top ranking U.S. military official in Iraq, "and neither do Iraqi officials."

"The methodology is pretty well discredited," he added.
Quixote responded, also in comments, “Oh yes. Bubble Boy knows statistical methodology like the back of his hand. Fo' shizzle.” Which, while highly amusing, is also spot-on. Bush doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about. Daniel Davies offers up a response to general critiques of cluster sampling and specific objections to the previous study here (hat tip to Christopher M, also in comments), which contradicts Bush’s claim that the methodology “is pretty well discredited.”

As regards his attempts to dismiss the study by asserting that neither he, nor General Casey, nor Iraqi officials “consider it a credible report,” their regard for its credibility doesn’t actually matter in terms of its actual credibility. That might seem a rather obvious point to make, but too often has this administration’s opinion of something been substituted for a reality, in spite of any and all evidence to the contrary. We’re turning a corner in Iraq, freedom is on the march, the economy is awesome, gay unions undermine the sanctity of marriage, torture yields good intelligence, Terri Schiavo isn’t braindead—unwavering conviction is not the same as incontrovertible veracity. Opinion isn’t fact. And what Bush thinks doesn’t change the truth.

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