They'd surely say "thanks" if they could

The U.N. says Iraq's sectarian violence killed more than 34,000 civilians in 2006. Bush wonders if the Iraqis are grateful enough.

Published January 16, 2007 3:01PM (EST)

The United Nations reports today that more than 34,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in sectarian fighting in 2006. That's 34,000 deaths in a country with a population of about 26 million. If American civilians died at a similar rate last year, we would have suffered the loss of more than 380,000 people last year -- which is to say, a 9/11 every couple of days.

In an interview that aired on "60 Minutes" Sunday night, George W. Bush said that the "Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude." "That's the problem here in America," the president said. "They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that's significant enough in Iraq."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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