U.S. Iraq Casualties Plummet in March

The press is marking the third anniversary of the liberation of Iraq with an avalanche of reports that a sectarian "civil war" has broken out, which, reporters say, means U.S. efforts to bring stability to Iraq are on the verge of failure.

But only a few short weeks ago reporters were measuring success [or, in their case, failure] in Iraq by a completely different standard: the number of U.S. troops killed in combat operations.

So why the shift in focus? It turns out that while the so-called Iraqi civil war has been raging, the number of U.S. casualties has plummeted to less than half of what they were over the previous five months.

In fact, if the current trend continues, March will be the second least deadly month for American GIs since the war began.

According to the web site Lunaville.com - which keeps the most comprehensive and up to date statistics on U.S. casualties - about one soldier a day [1.1] has died in Iraq during the first three weeks in March.
That's a vast improvement over February's numbers, when U.S. troops were dying at the rate of 2.07 per day. In every month since November 2005, the U.S. death rate has topped 2 per day. In October, it was over 3.

The lowest U.S. troop death rate since the U.S. invaded was in February 2004, when less than one soldier per day [.79] was killed in combat operations.

Big credit goes to the U.S. military: the soldiers on the ground whose efforts to train Iraqis to do the frontline fighting themselves seem to be finally be paying off.

Still, don't look for much coverage of this dramatic turn of events - especially from reporters for whom "good news is no news" in Iraq.

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