Ignorance in Power is a Nightmare Scenario

Forget "ignorance is bliss" when it comes to those in power. Ignorance among the powerful is deadly. How deadly? Try 655,000 lives. That is the number of Iraqis who died since 2003 who might still be alive but for the US-led invasion, according to a survey by a US university.

Could ignorance kill more than half a million people in three years? Yes, if you invade a sovereign nation based on bad intelligence, guided by a flawed understanding of history and military strategy.

Could the number of people killed by this ignorance be wrong? Well, consider the follow-up story describing reactions and the rationale. The instigator of the invasion, President Bush, says "Six-hundred thousand or whatever they guessed at is just...it's not credible."

But the report was prepared by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health which is hardly a group of dummies. It was peer reviewed by The Lancet, one of the most respected scientific journals in the world. The survey uses techniques relied upon in many fields, specifically adjusted for the given task, based on past efforts and critiques thereof.

The ignorance lies in simply rejecting such a study as not credible. You can disagree with it for sure, but to reject it outright shows a lack of understanding of scientific methodology. The next thing you know the President will be rejecting evolution as "just a theory." Hmm, like that other theory called gravity. Or is our President ignorant of that one as well?

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