Via Think Progress:
Appearing on CNN’s Late Edition this morning, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA), who recently returned from Iraq, asserted “some major improvements” are being witnessed in Iraq. Echoing claims made by Gen. David Petraeus, Boustany said “sectarian deaths are down.”
Host Wolf Blitzer corrected Boustany’s assertion, citing Iraqi health ministry statistics that report Iraqi civilian deaths have been climbing. The LA Times reports:
Bombings, sectarian slayings and other violence related to the war killed at least 1,773 Iraqi civilians in August, the second month in a row that civilian deaths have risen, according to government figures obtained Friday. In July, the civilian death toll was 1,753, and in June it was 1,227.
BOUSTANY: We’re clearly seeing some major improvements. Clearly in the Anbar Province, we’ve seen significant improvement. We were able to walk the streets of Fallujah. Sectarian deaths are down.
BLITZER: And Congressman Boustany, you say that the number of casualties is going down. But we took a closer look — and The Los Angeles Times did as well — citing Iraqi Health Ministry numbers. In June, it was 1,227 civilian deaths in Iraq. In July, it went up to 1,753 civilian deaths in Iraq. And in August, the month that just ended, 1,773 civilian deaths in Iraq. Those numbers are going in the wrong direction.
BOUSTANY: Well, I think what I mentioned earlier, Wolf, was the number of attacks. And, clearly, we have to look at all the metrics very carefully.
BLITZER: But statistics — you can play a lot of room with statistics. In terms of dead people, civilians, Iraqi dead people, those numbers are high and they’re getting worse, despite the increased military troop levels of the United States, the so-called surge having been in effect over the past couple of months. Read more...