Despite media coverage purporting to show that escalating violence in Iraq has the country spiraling out of control, civilian death statistics complied by Rep. Steve King, R-IA, indicate that Iraq actually has a lower civilian violent death rate than Washington, D.C.

Appearing with Westwood One radio host Monica Crowley on Saturday, King said that the incessantly negative coverage of the Iraq war prompted him to research the actual death numbers.

"I began to ask myself the question, if you were a civilian in Iraq, how could you tolerate that level of violence," he said. "What really is the level of violence?"

Using Pentagon statistics cross-checked with independent research, King said he came up with an annualized Iraqi civilian death rate of 27.51 per 100,000.

While that number sounds high - astonishingly, the Iowa Republican discovered that it's significantly lower than a number of major American cities, including the nation's capital.
"It's 45 violent deaths per 100,000 in Washington, D.C.," King told Crowley.

Other American cities with higher violent civilian death rates than Iraq include:

Detroit - 41.8 per 100,000

Baltimore - 37.7 per 100,000

Atlanta - 34.9 per 100,000

St. Louis - 31.4 per 100,000
The American city with the highest civilian death rate was New Orleans before Katrina - with a staggering 53.1 deaths per 100,000 - almost twice the death rate in Iraq.