The Lancet's figures for deaths in Iraq are impossible to take seriously for a variety of reasons. They involve belief in a tight conspiracy involving tens of thousands that has never previously leaked or even been suspected.
For the numbers claimed to be anywhere near the truth then this can have been achieved in only two possible ways: either deliberate, and secret, murder using advanced intelligent weapons or by brutal indiscriminate violence. If it were the latter, then much larger numbers - four to five million would be a cautious estimate - would, of necessity, have been injured. And then, we are asked to believe, these injured millions joined their attackers and the families of the dead in a huge conspiracy of silence.
The Lancet used to be a respected medical journal. For the second time it has intervened in a debate about the counting of deaths, in which it has no particular expertise, and done so for the purposes of misinforming political debate.
This is a truly astonishing new direction for an academic journal. Perhaps the Iraq Body Count will start to publish medical papers.