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Benchmarks: 22,000 US Troops Injured
File photo of injured US soldier. Copyright AFP
File photo of injured US soldier. Copyright AFP
by Staff Writers
UPI Correspondent
Washington (UPI) Dec 06, 2006
U.S. casualties in Iraq have passed another grim benchmark: Some 22,000 U.S. troops there have now been wounded since the start of the war. As of Tuesday, Dec. 6, 22,057 U.S. soldiers had been injured in Iraq since the start of military operations to topple Saddam Hussein, according to official figures issued by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The total number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq through Dec. 6 since the start of operations to topple Saddam Hussein on March 19, 2003, was 2,899, according to the DOD figures.

Therefore, 35 U.S. soldiers were killed in the 22-day period from Nov. 21 through Dec. 6, at an average rate of just over 2.2 per day.

These casualty levels were almost identical to those during the previous 14-day period from Nov. 7 through Nov. 20 when 32 U.S. soldiers were killed at an average rate of just below 2.3 per day. This marked an improvement of almost 29 percent on the previous 22-day period when 371 U.S. soldiers were killed from Oct. 16 through Nov. 6, at an average rate of just below 3.23 per day.

The latest figures therefore suggest that at a time when sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shiites has been escalating horrifically across Iraq, the U.S. forces there find themselves operating in a kind of operational stalemate in which the casualties inflicted on them by insurgents remains at a steady plateau.

During the previous 18-day period from Sept. 28 through Oct. 15, 56 U.S. soldiers were killed at an average rate of just over 3.1 per day. That rate was identical to the one we reported Oct. 1 in these columns for the nine days from Sept. 19 through Sept. 27, when 28 U.S. soldiers were killed at an average rate of 3.1 per day. At that time, we noted that these figures were far higher than the rate during the previous 18-day period, when 33 U.S. soldiers were killed from Sept. 1 through Sept. 18, at an average rate of 1.77 per day.

Those higher figures seem to have reflected the casualties sustained in the unsuccessful U.S. military drive to subdue the defiant militias that control most of Baghdad. Once that operation was abandoned, the level of attrition inflicted on U.S. forces fell back to its previous still serious but relatively lower level.

It is now clear that that this far higher rate of casualties being suffered by U.S. forces is an ongoing trend, and not a short-term "spike." The latest figures confirm continuing significant rates of attrition on U.S. forces comparable to those of the second half of August. During the two-week period from Aug. 18 through Aug. 31, 29 U.S. soldiers were killed at an average rate of just over two per day.

The latest figures are also almost identical to those of U.S. soldiers killed during the three-week period from July 28 through Aug. 17 at an average rate of 2.33 per day. From July 21 through July 27, 14 U.S. soldiers were killed, at an average rate of two per day.

Before that five-week period, comparable to the most recent fatality rates, the rate at which U.S. soldiers were killed per day in Iraq had risen for almost eight weeks. Some 1.75 per day were killed during the eight-day period from July 13 through July 20. And 1.36 U.S. soldiers were killed per day during the 15 day period from June 29 through July 12. However, during the eight days from June 21 through June 28, 24 U.S. soldiers died at an average rate of three per day.

Some 1.75 U.S. soldiers per day died in Iraq during the seven-day period from June 14 through June 20. During the eight-day period of June 6-13, 2.5 U.S. soldiers were killed per day. During the six-day period of May 31-June 5, some 11 U.S. troops died in Iraq at an average rate of 1.82 per day.

During the 48-day period from April 13 to May 30, 107 U.S. troops died in Iraq at an average rate of just over 2.2 per day. But that was still slightly worse than the previous longer-term trend during the 68-day period from Feb. 4 to April 12, when 112 U.S. troops died in Iraq at an average rate of 1.65 per day.

As of Tuesday, Dec. 6, 22,057 U.S. soldiers had been injured in Iraq since the start of military operations to topple Saddam Hussein

From Nov. 21 through Dec. 6, 379 U.S. soldiers were injured in Iraq at an average rate of just below 23.7 per day. This marked a significant rise in the rate at which such casualties were being inflicted. From Nov. 7 through Nov. 20, 259 U.S. soldiers were injured in Iraq at an average rate of 18.5 per day according to U.S. Department of Defense figures This marked a return to the levels of the 40-day period from Sept. 28 through Nov. 6.

From Oct. 16 through Nov. 6, 524 U.S. soldiers were injured in Iraq at an average rate of 23.81 per day. That rate of casualties suffered was virtually identical to the previous 18-day period from Sept. 28 through Oct. 15, when 427 U.S. soldiers were injured in Iraq at an average rate of 23.72 per day.

These figures therefore suggest that the struggle between U.S. forces and Sunni insurgents, and the lull in confrontations between U.S. forces and Shiite militias, remain significantly worse than the levels of August. In the three-week period from July 28 through Aug. 17, 354 U.S. soldiers were injured at an average rate of 16.857 per day.

These overall figures therefore serve notice to U.S. policymakers that the insurgents in Iraq have not lost any of their capabilities to inflict relatively low but significant and continuing levels of attrition on U.S. forces.

Source: United Press International

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