Bachmann claims NATO killed 30,000 civilians in Libya

By David Edwards
Sunday, May 1, 2011 11:40 EDT
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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) got her facts confused Sunday while objecting to President Barack Obama’s decision to participate in the military action against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The Minnesota congresswoman told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that NATO airstrikes had killed up to 30,000 civilians in the country.

“People should be outraged at the foolishness of the president’s decision,” she said. “He said he wanted to go in for humanitarian purposes and overnight we are hearing that potentially 10 to 30,000 people could have been killed in the strike. Those are some of the reports.”

“The NATO strikes killed 10,000 to 30,000 people?” an incredulous Wallace asked.

“A report that came out last night from the Tripoli ambassador said that potentially there could be 10,000 to 30,000,” Bachmann insisted.

“You mean the Libyans?” Wallace pressed.

“Yes,” Bachmann replied.

“You think Muammar Gaddafi is a reliable person?” Wallace wondered.

“I don’t think anyone thinks that. President Obama, his doctrine was to enter in Libya for humanitarian purposes. The point of what I’m saying is that we are see many, many lives lost. Including innocent civilians’ lives. What will be the ultimate objective and gain? I don’t see it. I think it was a foolish decision to have gotten involved,” Bachmann said.

In fact, the tea party-backed lawmaker seemed to be referring to a statement made by U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz last week.

Cretz had said that U.S. officials believed that 10,000 to 30,000 had been killed by fighting between Gaddafi forces and the rebels, not NATO airstrikes.

To his credit, Wallace corrected Bachmann in a later segment.

“I just want to clear up, because we looked into what Michele Bachmann had been saying. She quoted the U.S. ambassador to Libya saying 30,000 people had been killed in the NATO strike so far. In fact, what Ambassador Gene Cretz said is that he estimated that 30,000 people had been killed by all sides in the entire conflict. That includes the rebels and the Gaddafi forces. So big difference,” he said.

Watch this video from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast May 1, 2011.

Watch this video on iPhone/iPad

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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