On Feb. 9, 2006, House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-NY) spoke at the Merrick Jewish Center in Merrick, NY. King told his constituents that “the situation [in Iraq] is more stable than you think.” He cited “bumper to bumper traffic,” shopping centers, restaurants, video stores, vendors, and hotels to conclude that being in Baghdad is “like being in Manhattan.” ThinkProgress has obtained exclusive video from a person who was at the event. Watch it:
Life in Baghdad is nothing like life in Manhattan. There have been 441 murders in New York City so far this year. In contrast, approximately 14,458 Iraqis have died in the war this year according to iCasualties, which counts casualties based on media reports. A study in the British medical journal Lancet suggests the real number may be much higher.
When they think the media aren’t watching, politicians like King are willing to grossly distort the facts on Iraq to their constituents for political purposes.
Full transcript below:
As we go through the city of Baghdad, it was like being in Manhattan. I mean, I’m talking about bumper to bumper traffic, talking about shopping centers, talking about restaurants, talking about video stores, talking about guys selling (inaudible) on the street corner, talking about major hotels.
And so, at that moment, people must be (inaudible) resilient and you would never know that there was a war going on. Now, car bomb goes off, and that street or those streets for that hour and people will (inaudible) but the rest of the country is functioning.
Up in Mosul, I remember seeing news reports about roller coasters? Where you had two or three parking lots filled with their cars on a Sunday afternoon. Again, that’s not something you’d see on television, and at any given time a suicide bomber can walk into an amusement center, but the point I’m making is that the situation is more stable than you think.