Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Iraq Troop Deaths Down, But Not To Zero

AP reports this morning that U.S. military fatalities have dropped dramatically ... but not to zero, as I previously posted.
The monthly toll of U.S. service members who have died in Iraq is on track to being the lowest in nearly two years, with at least 34 troop deaths recorded as of Tuesday, but the military cautioned it's too early to declare a long-term trend.

It is the lowest number since 32 troops died in March 2006 and the second-lowest since 20 troop deaths in February 2004, according to an Associated Press count based on military figures.

That would be the second consecutive drop in monthly figures, after 65 Americans died in September and 84 in August. ...

By way of explanation, I heard a mention of 14 days without a combat fatality on a Fox News Radio program, and a couple days latter went to CentComm's news release page and checked the news release section. There, 16 days had passed between news releases announcing single combat fatalities.

I've been seriously out of the news loop the last few weeks as the low volume of posts here on C-SM evidences, and I simply put two and two together and posted without doing a second check. I apologize for the error.

CentComm is an interesting source of news on the war, particularly of successful actions we don't see covered by the MSM. I hesitate to use the data posted on anti-war body count sites, so I'm probably simply going out of the fatalities reporting business.

Let's finish up the news, though:
Maj. Winfield Danielson, a military spokesman in Baghdad, pointed to a number of likely reasons for the decline, including a U.S. security push that has driven militants out of former safe havens and a change in strategy that has placed troops closer to the population. That, in turn, has caused a rise in the number of tips from residents about roadside bombs and other dangers.

He also singled out the cease-fire call by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who in August ordered his fighters to cease attacks against U.S.-led forces and other Iraqis for up to six months. Danielson said Iraqi forces also were increasingly taking charge of security operations.

He welcomed the lower numbers but stressed it was too early to say it was a downward trend.

"Have we turned a corner? It might be a little too early to say that," he said. "It's certainly encouraging."

I think we have turned a corner and am wondering what will happen come February, when al-Sadr's six month hiatus wraps up. I doubt that even if he wanted to call his militia back to arms, he wouldn't be able to do so since he is not who he was, and Iraq is not what it was, when he scuttled his frightened butt off to Iran.