Another grim milestone in Iraq


Eric Boehlert
November 30, 2004 8:18PM (UTC)

Twenty-one months after the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. military is on track to post its highest monthly death toll of the war. According to the Associated Press, as of Tuesday, at least 134 soldiers had been killed in November, one shy of the watershed mark set in April this year. As has been the pattern in Iraq for months, U.S. troops are taking roughly 95 percent of the coalition casualties. Since President Bush appeared on the USS Abraham Lincoln in May 2003, standing beneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner, approximately 1,100 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq. Nearly 400 have died since June 28, when sovereignty was officially handed over to Iraq.

Of course the fighting in the insurgence outpost of Fallujah -- a battle put off by U.S. commanders until after the U.S. elections -- is driving the spike in casualties. The AP notes, "On Nov. 8, U.S. forces launched an offensive to retake Fallujah, and they have engaged in tough fighting in other cities since then. More than 50 U.S. troops have been killed in Fallujah since then, although the Pentagon has not provided a casualty count for Fallujah for more than a week."

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When the final tally for November is calculated sometime in December, the official death toll will likely top 140, a rate of U.S. soldiers killed not seen by the Pentagon since the Vietnam War.


Eric Boehlert

Eric Boehlert, a former senior writer for Salon, is the author of "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush."

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