Bush unexpectedly invited questions from the audience and immediately was asked about the number of Iraqi casualties in the war.
«I would say 30,000 more or less have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis,» the president said. «We’ve lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq.»
The U.S. government’s Arabic-language television service, Alhurra, carried Bush’s remarks live, but it was not shown on Al-Jazeera or Al-Arabiya or any of the Iraqi television stations. Most Iraqis disapprove of the presence of U.S. forces in their country, yet they are optimistic about Iraq’s future and their own personal lives, according to a new poll.
More than two-thirds of those surveyed oppose the presence of troops from the United States and its coalition partners and less than half, 44 percent, say their country is better off now than it was before the war, according to an ABC News poll conducted with Time magazine and other media partners.
«Success will help the image of the United States,» Bush said. «Look, I recognize we got an image issue, particularly when you’ve got Arabic television stations — that are constantly just pounding America, saying `America is fighting Islam,’ `Americans can’t stand Muslims,’ `This is a war against a religion.'»
«We’ve got to, obviously, do a better job of reminding people that ours is not a nation that rejects religion. Ours is a nation that accepts people of all faiths, and that the great strength of America is the capacity for people to worship freely.
«It’s difficult,» the president said. «I mean, their propaganda machine is pretty darn intense, so we’re constantly sending out messages. We’re constantly trying to reassure people.»
NRKs Joar Hoel Larsen hadde innslag om talen i morgensendingen tirsdag 13.12: her konstaterte han at Bush holdt sin tredje tale, at det var lite nytt, men at meningsmålingene pekte oppover fordi presidenten var aktiv. Slik slapp journalistikk er ikke unntaket, snarere regelen på Marienlyst, og ingen kollega opplater sin munn. Når så man en journalist kommentere oppfatningen av USA i Norge, og medienes fremstilling?
Bildet er fra Anbar-provinsen. Bush nevnte også at 2.140 amerikanske soldater er drept.