WASHINGTON - Statement of Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) on the President's comments regarding civilian deaths:
"Two and half years into the war the President is finally willing to discuss the appalling number of Iraqi civilian deaths. It is far past time for this sort of admission from this White House. While the President stated that about 30,000 Iraqi civilians have died since the start of the war other studies have put those figures at closer to 100,000. The Administration has a moral obligation to inform the American public of the real price of war. It should immediately release all information they have on the number of civilian deaths and injuries caused by the United States' war and occupation.
"For years, the Administration has refused to even acknowledge civilian deaths. Retired General Tommy Franks stated Administration position when he said that the US military does not do body counts. I have repeatedly spoken on the House floor, and written the Department of Defense to demand this information. I have not yet received a real response.
"I sincerely hope that when the President of the United States and the Commander and Chief of the most powerful military force in the world talks about such an important issue such as civilian deaths he doing so based on reliable information. Assuming this to be the case, despite past denials, the White House is keeping careful records on Iraqi civilian deaths. Otherwise, this is just another example of the Administration's manipulation of facts in pursuit of their policy goals.
"The White House, now on record as keeping this information, must now release this information. The American public, and Congress, will demand nothing less."