Speaking at a news conference today at the White House, President Bush said he did not consider the study published in today's Lancet, which concludes that 654,965 Iraqis have died as a result of the U.S. invasion, to be credible.
From the transcript:
QUESTION: 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?
BUSH: No, I don't consider it a credible report. Neither does General Casey and neither do Iraqi officials. I do -- 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, you know, amazed that this is a society which so wants to be free that they're willing to -- you know, 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 -- can feel, you know, at peace. No question it's violent. But this report is one -- they put it out before. It was pretty well -- the methodology is pretty well discredited. But I, you know, talk to people like General Casey. And, of course, the Iraqi government put out a statement talking about the report.
QUESTION: So the figure's 30,000, Mr. President? Do you stand by your figure, 30,000?
BUSH: I, 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.
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