40 dead? One dead? Whatever.

When did Ray Nagin become Prime Minister of Lebanon?

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said Monday that one person was killed in an Israeli airstrike on the southern village of Houla, not 40 as he had earlier reported.

“The massacre in Houla, it turned out that there was one person killed,” Reuters quoted Siniora as saying. “They thought that the whole building smashed on the heads of about 40 people … thank God they have been saved.”

Siniora had earlier told Arab foreign ministers in Beirut that the attack “was a horrific massacre … in which more than 40 martyrs were victims of deliberate bombing.”

Saniora said he had based the initial tally on unspecified information that he had received, The Associated Press reported. He offered no other explanation for the error.

I can offer two explanations: Either he listened to Hezbollah which has an interest in smearing Israel, or he made it up to create another Qana (where the toll has gone down from about 60 to 28) to smear Israel. If inflating death tolls was good enough for Ray–who predicted a Katrina death toll of 10,000 when it turned out to be a well under a fifth of that–apparently it’s good enough for Fouad.