Bush: Iraqis willing to "tolerate" violence [VIDEO]


From Amanda Terkel at ThinkProgress, comes the transcript of Bush's press conference that ended moments ago (clip right):

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 control 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.
Well, one of the researcher's associated with the study, MIT's John Tirman, wrote an impassioned defense of the study's findings here on AlterNet, noting that "those who publicly dismiss the findings must offer an alternative."

And considering the fact that this particular dismissal comes from the Commander-in-Chief of a military that doesn't do body counts, well, you do the math.

As for the Iraqi officials and the ability of the Iraqis to "tolerate" the violence; in a feature story earlier this week, our very own Josh Holland wrote (emphases mine):
One of the biggest problems in Iraq is that its fledgling government has little legitimacy, and a large part of that problem comes from a widespread perception that it remains subservient to U.S. commanders. According to a recent poll by the Project on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), Iraqis, by a 5 to 2 margin, thought that a U.S. commitment to withdraw would "strengthen the Iraqi government." Three out of four believe an American withdrawal would make the various factions in Iraq's parliament more willing to cooperate with one another.
Eight out of ten Iraqis believe the U.S. military presence is "provoking more conflict than it is preventing," and they're in the position to know best. Just 14 percent said the U.S. forces were having "a positive influence on the situation in Iraq."
Of course it has nothing to do with "tolerance," as the Iraqi people had nothing do with the invasion. Had they asked for an invasion and were they to support our continued presence, sure, that'd make the president a credible speaker. As for the Lancet study: whatever problems the president and others have with it, the fact remains: when you don't do body counts, you leave it to others to do them....

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