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Misreporting Iraq's Casualties

The press falsely claims that the latest WikiLeaks documents demonstrate 285,000 people were killed in the Iraq War.

1:10 AM, Oct 23, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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As the New York Times reported Friday, the WikiLeaks documents show that Iran was, and remains, a principal sponsor of Shia extremist groups in Iraq. These same groups helped bring Iraq to the brink of chaos -- along with al Qaeda, which was also happy to fuel the sectarian violence. We’ve known this for years and it should not be surprising. But for some it never sunk in.

In its reporting on the newly released WikiLeaks documents, and the damning details on Iran’s behavior they offer, the Times helpfully reminds us:

During the administration of President George W. Bush, critics charged that the White House had exaggerated Iran’s role to deflect criticism of its handling of the war and build support for a tough policy toward Iran, including the possibility of military action.

Ah yes, the war with Iran that never happened. Perhaps now that President Bush is gone, the media can focus more on America’s and Iraq’s real enemies. They killed far more civilians than the American-led coalition ever did. And the WikiLeaks documents probably say far more about their violent designs for Iraq than America’s supposed misdeeds.

After all, that was the case with WikiLeaks’ last document dump. WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange claimed the documents exposed “thousands” of American war crimes in Afghanistan. The documents showed nothing of the sort. Instead, the documents showed that Afghanistan’s enemies, like Iraq’s, deliberately and regularly slaughter civilians as part of their campaign.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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