Iraq, Finally Learning to Ride Its Bike

Richard Engel on NBC Nightly News (10/21/11), speaking about the end of the Iraq War:

The training wheels off, Iraq will have to succeed or fail without American troops on the ground to guide the way.

That’s quite a metaphor–invading and occupying a country for eight years as “training wheels.”

Engel’s report includes this reference to the death toll:

Iraqi deaths, almost 150,000, but many Iraqis believe it’s a million.

Of course it’s not just Iraqis who believe this–the British polling firm Opinion Research Business (ORB), which has worked for the BBC, the British Conservative Party and the International Republican Institute, conducted a survey that arrived at the 1 million estimate. A survey published in the Lancet medical journal (10/11/06) estimated that the war caused 600,000 violent deaths between March 2003 and June 2006.

The “almost 150,000” number that Engel puts forward as reality appears to be based on the Iraq Family Health Survey, a joint effort by the World Health Organization and the Iraqi government, which actually estimated that there were 151,000 violent deaths (and some 400,000 total excess deaths–MedPage Today, 7/23/08) as a result of the war–between March 2003 and June 2006.

Apparently some Americans believe the war hasn’t killed anyone in the last five years.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.