Today in his press conference, President Bush applauded the courage of Iraqis, stating that he is “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.” Watch it:
In reality, 890,000 Iraqis have moved to Jordan, Iran and Syria since Hussein’s fall and more than 300,000 have fled to other parts of Iraq to escape the violence. Additionally, 71 percent of Iraqis want U.S. forces to leave Iraq within a year, saying “they would feel safer if U.S. and other foreign forces left Iraq.”
Iraqis aren’t “tolerating” the violence. They’re just trying to survive.
Full transcript below:
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN: 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?
PRESIDENT BUSH: 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 it troubles me and 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.