Tuesday, December 30, 2008

U.S. Deaths In Iraq Down 66 Percent From Last Year

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Gerald Davis and Staff Sgt. Mesa Anderson identify unserviceable munitions before disposing of them through a controlled detonation at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, on Oct. 8, 2008. The numbers and types of munitions are carefully monitored to ensure no ordnance is left on the range. Both airmen are assigned to the 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal team. DoD photo by Airman 1st Class Jason Epley, U.S. Air Force. (Released)

From CNN:

(CNN) -- American military deaths in Iraq have dropped dramatically this year, a trend observers attribute to the lasting effects of the U.S.-led surge offensive, more robust Iraqi security performance and civilians' disgust with warfare.

A CNN count of Pentagon figures shows that 309 U.S. service members in Iraq have died this year: 222 in hostilities such as combat and attacks, and 87 in non-hostile circumstances such as traffic accidents, suicides and natural deaths.

The U.S. death toll has been much higher in past years. Last year, 906 died: 768 in combat and attacks and 138 in non-hostile circumstances. There were more than 800 deaths in 2004, 2005 and 2006 as well.

"It's no single effort. It's a combination of efforts," said Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, commanding general of Multi-National Division-Baghdad. "The people of Iraq are tired of violence, and they are assisting the security forces; the government is improving its ability to govern and to apply the rule of law."

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