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Top General underestimates Iraq War fatalities in Memorial Day media appearance
Michael Roston
Published: Monday May 28, 2007
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The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff dramatically underestimated the number of deaths of US Armed Service-members in the Iraq War. The gaffe came as General Peter Pace appeared on CBS News Monday morning to discuss Memorial Day.

"When you take a look at the life of a nation and all that's required to keep us free, we had more than 3,000 Americans murdered on 11 September, 2001. The number who have died, sacrificed themselves since that time is approaching that number," General Pace told CBS Early Show's Harry Smith. "And we should pay great respect and thanks to them for allowing us to live free."

General Pace's remarks were erroneous on several counts.

First, the website Iraq Coalition Casualty Count puts the number of US service-members killed since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003 at 3,455. The Pentagon only lists it as 3,441, with 14 deaths not yet being confirmed by the Pentagon. With either number, the total number of fatalities long passed the count of victims who died on 9/11.

Second, the General overestimated the number of deaths on 9/11. The website September 11, 2001 Victims states that 2,996 died in the attacks, rather than "more than 3,000 murdered" that Pace cites.

Finally, many of the victims who died on 9/11 were not American citizens. The aforementioned website lists 209 of the victims as foreign nationals.

General Pace has previously referred to the number of fatalities in the war on terrorism surpassing the number of 9/11 victims.

"It's now almost five years since September 11, 2001...And the number of young men and women in our armed forces who have sacrificed their lives that we might live in freedom is approaching the number of Americans who were murdered on 9/11 in New York, in Washington, D.C., and in Pennsylvania," Pace said in August 2006, according to a September 2006 CNN news report when the number of troops killed in action in fact passed the number of 9/11 fatalities.

CNN was relying on the number of 9/11 fatalities as 2,974, perhaps not counting some who are still listed as 'missing.'

Pace appeared on a variety of television news programs Monday morning.

RAW STORY was awaiting a reply from the Pentagon's Public Affairs Office at press time.

Pace's appearance at CBS News's "Early Show" can be viewed below.

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This article was completed with research assistance from Ron Brynaert and Muriel Kane, and video provided by David Edwards.