Friday, December 19th, 2014

Fact-checking 'This Week with Christiane Amanpour'

Christiane Amanpour interviews Gen. Peter Chiarelli on ABC News' "This Week."
Christiane Amanpour interviews Gen. Peter Chiarelli on ABC News' "This Week."

Winding down the war in Iraq and a new report on preventing military suicides were the topics of the Aug. 8, 2010 edition of This Week with Christiane Amanpour.

Amanpour interviewed Gen. Peter Chiarelli about preventing suicides. A new Army study documented complex pressures -- including overly long deployments, more tolerance for high-risk behavior among soldiers and lax standards for leaders keeping tabs on their soldiers.

Another complicating factor: increased use of prescription antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs and pain medications.

One of statements caught our attention: "We know that we had over 106,000 soldiers last year who had a prescription of three weeks or more for some kind of antidepressant, anti-anxiety medicine," Chiarelli said.

We found documentation for that statistic in the study, so we rated his statement True.

We also checked into a comment from the New Yorker's George Packer, who warned not to exaggerate what kind of Iraq we will be leaving as we draw down the military there.

 "I mean, we spent $10 billion on that country's electrical system," Packer said. "How many hours a day are there of electricity in Baghdad now? Five hours a day. It's better than it was three years ago; it's still a pretty intolerable level of daily life and violence for ordinary Iraqis."

Electricity has been one of the key indicators of the success of reconstruction in Iraq, so we decided to check Packer's claim that, despite the U.S. spending $10 billion on Iraq's electrical system, the capital city of Baghdad still only gets five hours of electricity a day. We ruled his statement Barely True.

And we looked into a comment made by House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, on NBC's Meet the Press in response to questions about how Republicans would offset the cost of extending all of the Bush tax cuts, as they have proposed.

"Why don't we stop the stimulus spending?" Boehner said. "There's still about $400 billion or $500 billion of the stimulus plan that has not been spent. Why don't we stop it. It's not working."

We found there is not nearly as much unspent stimulus as Boehner suggested. And we ruled his statement False.