Sunday, February 10, 2008


Report on the American War Dead in Iraq and Afghanistan

Here it is over a third of the way into February and I haven't posted on the service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in January. I'm kind of like the mainstream media regarding bad news--out of sight, out of mind, not in print. And there is a little bit of bad news

For January, as announced by the Department of Defense, 49 service mermbers died--41 from service in Iraq and 8 from service in Afghanistan. Here's a further breakdown: In Iraq, 17 were killed by IEDs. That's up from last month. Indeed about twice as many died in Iraq in January as died in December 2007. Only three were killed by small arms, one was killed in an accident, three from non-combat causes and one from a non-combat illness. One marine died from a non hostile incident and one sailor fell overboard in the Arabian sea and is missing, presumed dead. One marine died in combat operations in al Anbar. It's been months since that's happened. Three with the 101st were killed in combat operations elsewhere. They had an appointment in Samarra. In Afghanistan, a full 6 died from IEDs and two from small arms. Perhaps the nature of combat is changing there. IEDs were a very minor part of Afghan duty even 6 months ago.

Only one woman died, Tracy Birkman, 41, of New Castle, VA. It was a hard month for the brass though. The first officer casualty, almost the first of the year, was local good guy, Major Andrew Olmsted, who blogged from the Springs before he rotated over. But with him (in an IED attack) went Captain Thomas Casey. Also killed were Major Michaed Green, Lt. Colonel Richard Berrettini and Major Alan Rogers.

Only months from the Dreaded (but not very much) Spring Taliban Offensive and probably some more operations against al Qaeda goons perhaps this time in Mosul. The American death toll will probably rise through September a little before it falls again as Winter sets in. It is unclear to me if Marines transfered from Iraq to Afghanistan will effect the numbers one way or the other. Our hopes and prayers go out for all our brave warriors.


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