Robin Williams is an Idiot

Robin Williams political idiot

On tonight's "Real Time With Bill Maher" (1) Robin Williams made this idiotic remark: "100,000 Iraqis died" [because of our invasion of Iraq]. As if the number of deaths alone is proof that a war is wrong. In that case we should have stayed out of World War II.

Obviously Robin Williams only reads liberal propaganda. Leftists love to throw out this number as if it is some great evil. But I say, so what? They're Muslims so who cares? And if we didn't invade and just kept the sanctions in place, even more Iraqis would have died. Invading Iraq has saved the lives of 90,000 Iraqi children annually (2); we ended the deadly sanctions and we got out of Saudi Arabia. The world and Iraq are better off because of the invasion.

It should be noted that the 100,000 figure that Williams quoted may be bogus anyway:

Right Wing News, Debunking 8 Anti-War Myths About The Conflict In Iraq

2) A study released in March of 2003 by a British medical journal, the Lancet, showed that 100,000 civilians had been killed as a result of the US invasion. To be perfectly frank, it's hard to see how anyone who has even a passing familiarity with statistics could take Lancet's numbers seriously. Fred Kaplan from Slate explains:

"The authors of a peer-reviewed study, conducted by a survey team from Johns Hopkins University, claim that about 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the war. Yet a close look at the actual study, published online today by the British medical journal the Lancet, reveals that this number is so loose as to be meaningless.

The report's authors derive this figure by estimating how many Iraqis died in a 14-month period before the U.S. invasion, conducting surveys on how many died in a similar period after the invasion began (more on those surveys later), and subtracting the difference. That difference—the number of "extra" deaths in the post-invasion period—signifies the war's toll. That number is 98,000. But read the passage that cites the calculation more fully:

We estimate there were 98,000 extra deaths (95% CI 8000-194 000) during the post-war period.

Readers who are accustomed to perusing statistical documents know what the set of numbers in the parentheses means. For the other 99.9 percent of you, I'll spell it out in plain English—which, disturbingly, the study never does. It means that the authors are 95 percent confident that the war-caused deaths totaled some number between 8,000 and 194,000. (The number cited in plain language—98,000—is roughly at the halfway point in this absurdly vast range.)

This isn't an estimate. It's a dart board.

Bingo! What Lancet was in effect saying was that they believed 98,000 civilians died, but they might have been off by roughly 90,000 people or so in either direction.

BTW, Richard Clarke is also an idiot.

Disclaimer: All lives are important but when it comes to war, the lives of our enemies, in this case Muslims, are not as important as the lives of our troops. Notice that no one seems to care that millions of blacks are killed annually in Africa by Muslims.



Washington Post, Robin Williams, The Mouth of The Potomac

The big lesson to draw from last night's first-time-in-Washington taping of "Real Time With Bill Maher": Even politicians and other golden-tongued worthies can't outtalk Robin Williams. So don't bother trying.

The comic actor was in some pretty serious company on Maher's hour-long weekly HBO program, which airs at 11 p.m. Fridays and yesterday was taped before an audience at a downtown studio. But not even fellow guests such as Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) or "Hardball" motormouth Chris Matthews could steal the spotlight from Williams once he grabbed it, which was early and often.

Even Maher, who's a pretty good talker himself, stayed at a safe distance and generously let Williams go.


Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq, Sanctions on Iraq: background information

In April, 1998 Unicef claimed that some 90,000 children were dying annually as a result of the sanctions.

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