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.
Blitzer emphasized, “In terms of Iraqi dead people, those numbers are high and 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.”
Confronted with factual evidence proving his claims incorrect, Boustany attempted to pivot to anecdotal evidence of what he saw on the ground. “I want to point out that just two or three months ago, I would have never thought that four members of Congress would be able to walk through the streets of Fallujah,” he said. But Blitzer quickly noted “you had a lot of security with you,” forcing Boustany to acknowledge he walked with “a platoon of Marines.”
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