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Subject ***34,452 Iraq Civillians killed in 2006 - Bush calls it a "lousy year" for Iraq.***
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Original Message Can we give this man an award for the most gross understatemnt of the century to date?
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[link to www.chron.com]
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Kuwait for a meeting with eight Arab nations to discuss ways to keep Iraq from sliding into civil war, sought to lower any expectations that the troop buildup would quickly pacify the country.

"Violent people will always be able to kill innocent people," she said. "So even with the new security plan, with the will and capability of the Iraqi government and with American forces to help reinforce Iraqi forces, there is still going to be violence."

She said the U.N. civilian death figures differ from others. "But whatever the number of civilians who have died in Iraq and there obviously are competing numbers but whatever the number is, it's too many," she said.

The university bombing's death toll was the highest daily toll since suspected al-Qaida in Iraq fighters staged a series of car bombs and mortar attacks on Baghdad's Sadr City Shiite slum. That attack killed at least 213 people on Nov. 23.

The U.N. civilian casualty count for last year was announced in Baghdad by Gianni Magazzeni, the chief of the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq in Baghdad. He said 34,452 civilians died an average of 94 a day and 36,685 were wounded.

But Dr. Hakem al-Zamili, Iraq's deputy health minister, told The Associated Press the United Nations may be using unreliable sources for its casualty count. "They might be taking the figures from people who are opposed to the government or to the Americans," he said. "They are not accurate." He said he would provide Iraqi government figures later this week.

In early January, a compilation of Iraqi government figures put last year's civilian deaths at just 12,357. The numbers are gathered monthly by the AP from reports by three Iraqi agencies.

When asked about the difference, Magazzeni said the U.N. figures were compiled from information obtained through the Iraqi Health Ministry, hospitals across the country and the Medico-Legal Institute in Baghdad.

He criticized the government for allowing much of the violence to go unpunished, saying urgent action was needed to re-establish law and order in the country to prevent its slide into all-out civil war.

"Without significant progress in the rule of law, sectarian violence will continue indefinitely and eventually spiral out of control," he warned.

The U.N. report also said that 30,842 people were detained in the country as of Dec. 31, including 14,534 held in U.S. military-run prisons.

At least 470,094 people throughout Iraq have been forced to leave their homes since the bombing of an important Shiite shrine, the Golden Dome mosque in Samarra, in February, the U.N. accounting said.

The report said the violence has disrupted education by forcing schools and universities to close, as well as sending professionals fleeing from the country.

In a summary of the report posted on its Web site Tuesday, UNAMI said Iraq's women were particularly vulnerable, citing cases where young women were abducted by armed militia and late discovered sexually assaulted, tortured or murdered. In many cases, the agency said, families refuse to retrieve the bodies out of shame.

As bombs detonated at Al-Mustansiriya University on Tuesday, there were a series of other attacks on Shiite neighborhoods in central Baghdad.

A bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded in a used auto and motorcycle parts market in a Shiite neighborhood. As people rushed to aide the victims of the first blast, a suicide car bomber drove his car into the crowd. Fifteen people died.

Raid Abbas, a 26-year-old who received shrapnel wounds in the attack said he went to the market because the city had been quieter over the past two weeks.

"Shortly after midday, I heard an explosion. Motorcycles were flying in the air, people were falling dead and wounded," he said from his hospital bed.

About 45 minutes later, gunmen riding two motorcycles and in a van fired on another outdoor market in a mainly Shiite neighborhood near Sadr City. Police said at least 11 people were killed.

Of the 142 Iraqis killed or found dead Tuesday, 124 died in Baghdad. Police said they had been unable to complete their tally of dumped corpses in the eastern half of the city because of violence there.
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[link to www.bloomberg.com]

Bush conceded that 2006 was a ``lousy year'' for Iraq and the U.S. involvement there. He said he takes responsibility for not moving more troops into Baghdad after the bombing of the Samarra Mosque, even when the Iraqis didn't act.

``We should have found troops and moved them,'' he said. ``But part of it was that the Iraqis didn't move troops.''

A United Nations report said at least 34,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in the violence that engulfed the country in 2006. A total of 647 U.S. military personnel were killed in combat last year and more than 3,000 have died since the U.S.- led invasion in March 2003.
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