Rupert Murdoch -- who once predicted Iraq war could lead to $20/barrel oil -- described war casualties as “minute”

On November 6, News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch reportedly said at a conference in Tokyo that U.S. casualties in Iraq, “by the terms of any previous war are quite minute,” as the weblog Democratic Underground noted. He further stated: “I believe it was right to go in there. I believe that certainly the execution that has followed that has included many mistakes. But that's easy to say after the event.” Murdoch, whose conservative media empire includes Fox News Channel, the New York Post, and The Weekly Standard, vocally supported the war in 2003, citing potential economic benefits. As of November 3, according to CNN, a total of 2,836 U.S. soldiers have been killed since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

From a November 6 Agence France Presse article, published in The Times of India:

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch said on Monday he had no regrets about supporting the US-led invasion of Iraq and argued that the US death toll in the conflict was “minute” from a historical perspective.

The conservative News Corp chief spoke on the eve of US elections where President George W Bush's Republican Party was expected to lose seats in part due to a backlash over the war.

"The death toll, certainly of Americans there, by the terms of any previous war are quite minute," Murdoch told reporters at a conference in Tokyo.

“Of course no one likes any death toll, but the war now, at the moment, it's certainly trying to prevent a civil war and to prevent Iraqis killing each other.”


"I believe it was right to go in there. I believe that certainly the execution that has followed that has included many mistakes," Murdoch said.

“But that's easy to say after the event. It's much easier to criticize the conduct of the war today in the media than it was in previous wars. I'm sure there were great mistakes made in the past, too.”

In February 2003, Murdoch expressed his support for the then-pending invasion of Iraq and stressed the potential economic benefits of such action. “The greatest thing to come of this to the world economy, if you could put it that way, would be $20 a barrel for oil,” he told The Bulletin, an Australian magazine, in a February 12, 2003, interview. According to The Guardian (London), in an interview with Fortune magazine in 2003, Murdoch stated: “Who knows what the future holds? I have a pretty optimistic medium and long-term view but things are going to be pretty sticky until we get Iraq behind us. But once it's behind us, the whole world will benefit from cheaper oil which will be a bigger stimulus than anything else.”

In early 2004, Murdoch claimed that the situation in Iraq had been “misrepresented” and asserted that the insurgents there were “not really trying to kill Americans.” From the April 7, 2004, interview with Australian radio host Alan Jones:

JONES: The continuing presence in Iraq has become a divisive political issue here. What do you say about that?

MURDOCH: Clearly, we have no alternative. We have got to see the job through. And I think it is being misrepresented. There's tremendous progress in Iraq. All the kids are back at school - ten per cent more than when Saddam Hussein was there. There is one per cent more fresh water. There's ... most of Iraq is doing extremely well.

There is one small part where the Sunnis are, which were the people who supported Saddam Hussein, who are giving trouble, and more by, I think, giving cover to international terrorists and people from the Taliban and from Afghanistan coming in. And it's not - this is notable - they're not really trying to kill Americans even, they're trying to kill people, like, from the United Nations. Anyone who is trying to come in and help get their country going properly.