» Friday, March 19, 2004


Asked if the Prime Minister would be marking the first anniversary of the Iraq war in any way, the PMOS said no. As we had been saying consistently about Iraq over recent months, the appalling acts of terror by the remnants of the Saddam regime and terrorist organisations should not overshadow the quiet progress being made on the ground in improving the lives of ordinary Iraqi people. For example, 100,000 jobs had been created, 2,300 schools had been refurbished, 600 clinics had been re-equipped, there were now over 100 newspapers being published and courts had opened. Of course that was not to suggest that everything was perfect in Iraq. Clearly it wasn’t. The security situation was a continuing cause for concern and remained an area on which the Coalition was focussing much of its attention. However, it was important to remember that the Transitional Administrative Law had been signed and we were all working towards the date for the handover of power at the end of June. Tuesday’s poll was perhaps the most eloquent account of what life was like in the new Iraq. Iraqi citizens were now clearly able to view the future with considerably more confidence than they had in the past.

Asked if the Prime Minister was disappointed to learn that Sir Jeremy Greenstock would be leaving Iraq before the handover of power, the PMOS said that we had always been aware of the timetable for Sir Jeremy’s work there. Questioned further, the PMOS said that Sir Jeremy had made a significant contribution in Iraq. The Government would continue to be engaged as we sought to handover power to ensure that Iraq was run for the Iraqi people by the Iraqi people.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. The important statistic that still seems to be missing – how many Iraqi civillians have been killed by the US/UK forces? (and are still being killed)

    Its difficult to improve someone’s life if you have just ended it.

    Comment by Uncarved Block — 19 Mar 2004 on 4:50 pm | Link
  2. Well, there’s the Iraq Body Count, <a href="http://www.iraqbodycount.net/">http://www.iraqbodycount.net/</a&gt; which estimates the number of civilian deaths as lying between 8,769 and 10,618. However, there are serious concerns over IBC’s methodology, elaborated for instance in this piece by Oliver Kamm, "Pilger: truth and lies in the war on terror",
    <a href="http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2003/09/pilger_truth_an.html">http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2003/09/pilger_truth_an.html</a&gt;
    and his follow-up piece, More truth and lies in the war on terror:
    <a href="http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2003/09/more_truth_and_.html">http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2003/09/more_truth_and_.html</a&gt;

    An alternative methodology (also susceptible to legitimate criticism) gives a similar estimate:
    <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/sections/nightline/World/iraq030528_casualties.html">http://abcnews.go.com/sections/nightline/World/iraq030528_casualties.html</a&gt;
    — this one was conducted by a door-to-door survey, apparently; there are any number of potential problems with that method, but if done properly, it ought to be possible to get some good data. Worth waiting, perhaps, until there are good polling organisations in Iraq.

    I haven’t seen any study which looks to me well-enough conducted to use for an estimate of the number of civilian casualties, though that may be because I haven’t looked very hard.

    Comment by Chris Lightfoot — 20 Mar 2004 on 12:24 pm | Link

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