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US Casuality Rates Fall In Iraq During January

US soldier on patrol in Iraq. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Washington (UPI) Feb. 1, 2007
The good news is that the rate of U.S. casualties suffered in Iraq during January fell slightly compared with December. The bad news is that it didn't fall by much. January marked another grim milestone in American experience in Iraq: it was the month when U.S. military fatalities there passed the 3,000 mark.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 31, 3,076 U.S. troops had been killed in Iraq since the start of military operations to topple Saddam Hussein on March 19, 2003. Of these, 2,476 were killed in action according to official figures issued by the U.S. Department of Defense.

In all, 78 U.S. soldiers were killed in the 27-day period from Jan. 4 through Jan. 31 at an average rate of 2.81 per day. This marked an improvement of more than 20 percent on the fatality rate of 3.4 killed per day during the 29-day period from Dec. 7 through Jan. 4, when 99 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq. But the January figures were still more than 25 percent worse than the 16-day period from Nov. 21 through Dec. 6 when 35 U.S. soldiers were killed at an average rate of just over 2.2 per day.

The latest figures also marked a very significant rise from the 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. But they are significantly better than the 22-day period from Oct. 16 through Nov. 6 when 371 U.S. soldiers were killed at an average rate of just below 3.23 per day.

During the 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.

The latest figures are also more than 33 percent worse than the fatality rate during the two-week period from Aug. 18 through Aug. 31 when 29 U.S. soldiers were killed at an average rate of just over two per day.

U.S. soldiers were 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, 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.

As of Wednesday (Jan. 31) 23,279 U.S. soldiers had been injured in Iraq since the start of military operations to topple Saddam. During the 27-day period from Jan. 4 to Jan. 31, 465 U.S. soldiers were injured at an average rate of 17.2 per day.

This too was an improvement of more than 20 percent on the previous 29-day period from Dec. 7 through Jan. 4, when 657 U.S. soldiers were injured in Iraq at an average rate of just over 22.7 per day. The latest figure is also a marked improvement on the 16-day period from Nov. 21 through Dec. 6 when 379 U.S. soldiers were injured in Iraq at an average rate of just below 23.7 per day.

The latest figures marked the lowest rate of U.S. soldiers injured per day since mid-August. 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.

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 suggest that while violence between the ethnic communities and warring militias in Iraq has been steadily rising, the insurgents have been at least somewhat distracted from focusing on inflicting casualties on U.S. forces. But during this relative lull period, there had been no improvement in the abilities of the U.S. forces and the regular Iraqi police and army to stem the tidal wave of violence in Baghdad.

Source: United Press International

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US Iraq Commander Denies Iraq Policy A Failure
Washington (AFP) Feb 01, 2007
The top US commander in Iraq defended his past reluctance to ask for more US troops even as sectarian violence swept the country, and said Baghdad could be secured with fewer troops than called for by President George W. Bush. General George C. Casey said he recommended Baghdad should be secured with two additional US brigades, rather than the five brigades ordered to Iraq as part of President George W. Bush's new Iraq strategy.







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