July 31, 2007


US troop fatalities in Iraq drop sharply: The toll is falling in the most dangerous provinces, not just in the Baghdad 'surge' zone. (Gordon Lubold, 8/01/07, The Christian Science Monitor)

As a single measure of success or failure in Iraq, the rate of American fatalities has its own limitations. But it does reflect the ability of the US to reduce insurgent-led violence. Two months ago, US fatalities climbed to 128, making May the third deadliest month for US troops in Iraq since the war began in 2003. But since then, as the surge of 30,000 new US forces has arrived, fatalities have fallen sharply. At press time, the toll for the month of July stood at 74, a decrease of 42 percent compared with May. That's the lowest fatality rate since last November.

When the surge was announced earlier this year, critics said adding more troops in one area would simply force insurgents to provoke violence in other areas. But according to an analysis by Pentagon officials, fatalities are down in July in all four of the most violent provinces of Iraq: Baghdad, Anbar, Salahaddin, and Diyala.

The boys were watching The Longest Day the other afternoon and could hardly process the idea that casualties that day were over half those for this entire war.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 31, 2007 9:34 PM

Take them down to Gettysburg and Antietam one of these years. Autumn is a pleasant time.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 31, 2007 9:54 PM

In the battle of Cold Harbor during the Civil War, the Union army lost 10,000 soldiers in an hour.

The people who say that Iraq is breaking our amry are massively ignorant. One particulat battle of the Civil war saw more than twice the casualties as 5 years in Iraq.

Posted by: ray at July 31, 2007 10:53 PM

Ray, that's wrong about Cold Harbor. Casualties used to mean killed, wounded, missing and captured. Today, casualties is just used for those who are killed. It wasn't until the First World War that 10,000 could die that fast. The point still stands of course. The casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan are about as low a rate of casualties as is possible.

Posted by: andrew at August 1, 2007 12:11 AM

The 1860 census put the US population at about 31 million. Today it is about 300 million. So proportional the death rate was roughly 10 times higher back then.

Posted by: Gideon at August 1, 2007 12:16 AM

Wow. Come on board a bit late, and everyone has beaten you to it. Just show "the boys" the Antietam pictures. Remind them that Antietam did not make us quit.

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 1, 2007 4:23 AM

A bit off topic, but instead of visiting frogland, why not tour the U.S. There's a heck of a lot to see from sea to shinning sea, but if it's a foreign country with rude people with funny accents you're wanting to visit, just drive a couple of hours north and you'll find it. It's a lot cheaper, you don't have to sit on a plane for hours and you can even stay in the same time zone.

Posted by: erp at August 1, 2007 7:46 AM