Friday, January 11, 2008


The US primary elections have featured many politicians claiming that US forces in the Middle East are now in ascendancy; alas the death statistics give the lie to that notion.
"Many Americans and Iraqis feel that 2007 was the year the war in Iraq turned around: the “surge” strategy has pacified large sections of the country; previously hostile factions like those of the cleric Moktada al-Sadr and the sheiks in Anbar Province have dropped their opposition or even sided with American and government forces; and the number of insurgent attacks has dropped steadily. Still, numbers don’t lie: for those in uniform, 2007 was the deadliest year since the invasion. The chart below — compiled from data provided by the American and Iraqi governments and news media organizations (the independent Coalition Casualty Count in particular) — gives information on the type and location of each attack responsible for the 2,592 recorded deaths among American and other coalition troops, Iraqi security forces and members of the peshmerga militias controlled by the Kurdish government. Since the data on Iraqi security forces killed are not reported systematically by the Baghdad government, these numbers have been accrued through news reports; the actual number of Iraqi deaths is likely to be much higher. And, sadly, civilian fatalities in Iraq last year were simply too numerous to represent on a single newspaper page." (New York Times, 6 January) RD

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