Sometimes I wonder if the people of New York's 24th District realize the kind of illustrious neighbors they are lucky to have. It turns out that the 24th District has been home to some of the most accomplished people in the world. Harriet Tubman and Secretary Seward are two of the best known examples from history, but what about now? Count Les Roberts among them.
You may not know Les Roberts by name, but you know his work. Roberts was the lead researcher on a Johns Hopkins study that concluded that huge numbers of civilians have been killed during the course of the Iraq War. His study, released in 2004, changed the whole debate about the invasion and occupation of Iraq. When it comes to the Iraq War, the work of Les Roberts has been at the center of the debate. At a time when the Bush Administration is trying to keep information about the war from the American people, Les Roberts and his team blew the lid open on the true extent of the violence in Iraq that has been unleashed since the invasion.
Don't take my word for it. Thanks to a link on the Les Roberts campaign site, you can hear what a show on National Public Radio had to say about the work of Les Roberts. It's from an hour-long program of This American Life on civilian casualties in Iraq, and the Les Roberts was the featured speaker. I first heard the show while I was driving to the store last year, and it was so powerful that I kept driving the entire hour so that I wouldn't miss a minute of it.
As a scientist, Les Roberts has spent his career conducting research that has been presented to top policy makers in the American government, and has influenced the national debate on many issues of public health and foreign policy. He would make an excellent replacement for Sherwood Boehlert on the House Committee on Science.