Friday, August 31, 2007

US Troop Deaths in Iraq

Click to enlarge

In a post this morning entitled Arguments Over Night of The Living Dead in Iraq, Juan Cole points out the obvious:
I personally find the controversy about Iraq in Washington to be bizarre. Are they really arguing about whether the situation is improving? I mean, you have the Night of the Living Dead over there. People lack potable water, cholera has broken out even in the good areas, a third of people are hungry, a doubling of the internally displaced to at least 1.1 million, and a million pilgrims dispersed just this week by militia infighting in a supposedly safe all-Shiite area. The government has all but collapsed, with even the formerly cooperative sections of the Sunni Arab political class withdrawing in a snit (much less more Sunni Arabs being brought in from the cold). The parliament hasn't actually passed any legislation to speak of and often cannot get a quorum. Corruption is endemic. The weapons we give the Iraqi army are often sold off to the insurgency. Some of our development aid goes to them, too.

The average number of Iraqis killed in 2007 per day exceeds those killed in 2006. Independent counts by news organizations do not agree with Pentagon estimates about drops in civilian deaths over-all. Nation-wide attacks in June reached a daily all-time high of 177.5. True, violence in Baghdad has been wrestled back down to the levels of summer, 2006 (hint: it wasn't paradise), but violence levels are up in the rest of the country. If you compare each month in 2006 with each month in 2007 with regard to US military deaths, the 2007 picture is dreadful.

I saw on CNN this smarmy Bush administration official come and and say that US troop deaths had fallen because of the surge, which is why we should support it.
Fallen? You be the judge. Figures in the graph posted above are from Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.

UPDATE: The main stream media is putting out the message that "combat deaths in Iraq" have fallen in half during the surge (even while civilian deaths have risen). Of course, US Troop deaths fell last summer as well. In part the Bush administration is parsing the data by using combat deaths rather than troop deaths. But what are the real patterns?

1. Troop deaths fall in the summer in Iraq.
2. The number of US troop deaths in 2007 has exceeded deaths in 2006 in EACH AND EVERY MONTH.

Read Kevin Drum for more.

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