The bigger question will come about when the number of GIs KIA reaches 3000 - the estimated number of those killed in the WTC attack - will the Iraq conflagration be worth a one for one ratio of victims and GIs KIA? I don't think so.
Today's question that is ringing between my ears is thus: Is our Iraq situation more like adding gasoline or water to the raging Middle Eastern fire?
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Back on Iraq. A group of American and Iraqi health officials today released a report saying that 655,000 Iraqis have died since the Iraq war. That figure is 20 times the figure that you cited in December, at 30,000. Do you care to amend or update your figure, and do you consider this a credible report?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I don't consider it a credible report. Neither does General Casey and neither do Iraqi officials. I do know that a lot of innocent people have died, and that troubles me and it grieves me. And I applaud the Iraqis for their courage in the face of violence. I am amazed that this is a society which so wants to be free that they're willing to -- that there's a level of violence that they tolerate. And it's now time for the Iraqi government to work hard to bring security in neighborhoods so people can feel at peace.
No question, it's violent, but this report is one -- they put it out before, it was pretty well -- the methodology was pretty well discredited. But I talk to people like General Casey and, of course, the Iraqi government put out a statement talking about the report.
Q -- the 30,000, Mr. President? Do you stand by your figure, 30,000?
THE PRESIDENT: You know, I stand by the figure. A lot of innocent people have lost their life -- 600,000, or whatever they guessed at, is just -- it's not credible. Thank you.