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US Wounded Rates Rise In Iraq

US soldier SSG David Brown from Gator Company 2-12 Infantry Battalion grimaces as medics provide him first aid after he was shot in the leg by unknown gunmen while attempting to secure the area around the site of a weapons cache found while on patrol in the predominantly Sunni al-Dora neighborhood of southern Baghdad, 22 March 2007. A Senate committee approved a draft emergency war funding measure 22 March 2007, setting a March 2008 deadline for the withdrawal of most of the US combat troops from Iraq. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 23, 2007
U.S. fatality rates in Iraq are staying stable, but the rate at which American soldiers are being wounded is rising. As of Wednesday, March 21, 3,222 U.S. troops had been killed in Iraq since the start of military operations to topple Saddam Hussein on March 19, 2003. Of these, 2,601 were killed in action according to official figures issued by the U.S. Department of Defense.

In all, 67 U.S. soldiers were killed in action in the 22 day period from Feb. 28 through March 21, 2007 at an average rate of just over three per day.

This marked a marginal rise in the U.S. military fatality rate compared to the 79 U.S. soldiers killed in the 27 day period from Feb. 1 through Feb. 27 at an average rate of just over 2.93 per day. Those figures were almost identical to the previous 27 day period when 78 U.S. troops were killed from Jan. 4 through Jan. 31 at an average rate of 2.81 per day.

These figures suggest that the insurgents are avoiding bloody direct confrontations with U.S. forces as the "surge" strategy drive to secure Baghdad continues, and that they are sticking to their more gradual, and far less risky, strategy of trying to inflict attrition on U.S. forces through the continued use of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

The relatively stable figures of the past three months show 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 and February 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 figures for the first three months of 2007 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 were 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. Those Sept. 19-Oct. 15 figures were almost identical to the average rate per day of the most recent 22 day period that ended Wednesday.

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, March 22, 24,510 U.S. soldiers had been injured in Iraq since the start of military operations to topple Saddam at an average rate of just under 23.2 per day.

This marked an almost 50 percent increase on the previous 27 day period from Feb. 1 to Feb. 27, 398 U.S. soldiers were injured at an average rate of 16.9 per day. And that figure was only marginally below the figures for the previous 27-day period from Jan. 4 to Jan. 31 when 465 U.S. soldiers were injured at an average rate of 17.2 per day.

The latest figures therefore suggest that the implementation of the surge strategy has either cost more U.S. casualties in wounded, though not dead troops, or that the insurgents have been able to increase the tempo and/or efficiency of their attacks.

The latest figures ended a two month relative lull, or stalemate that saw the lowest rates of U.S. soldiers injured per day since mid-August.

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. The figures of the latest 22 day period are almost at those levels.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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