US President Bush says 30,000 civilians killed in Iraq war

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

U.S. President Bush

United States President George W. Bush put a number on the death toll of Iraqi civilians, saying "30,000 Iraqis, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We've lost about 2,140 of our troops in Iraq" since the U.S. invasion of the country in 2003.

Mr Bush said more casualties lie ahead. "As democracy takes hold in Iraq, the terrorists and Saddamists will continue to use violence," he said. The president mentioned the casualty count in response to a question from the audience during a rare question-and-answer session after a speech on Monday.

The White House later said the 30,000 figure was not an official government estimate. Aides said Bush was repeating the casualty count mentioned in the media and by independent groups. The Web site Iraqbodycount.org estimates, as a conservative estimate of those documented to have been killed, the number of Iraqi civilians killed at a low of 27,383 and a high of 30,892, based on online media and eyewitness accounts.

However the Lancet Survey, which is the only serious scientific attempt to estimate the total number of Iraqi civilian deaths, estimates the death toll to be around 10,000.

Another questioner challenged the administration's linkage of the Iraq war to the September 11, 2001 attack on New York. Bush said Saddam Hussein was a threat and was widely believed to have weapons of mass destruction — a belief that later proved false.

"I made a tough decision. And knowing what I know today, I'd make the decision again," The President said in response.

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