Combat deaths continue to decline in Iraq

AFP:

US military losses in Iraq for September stood at 70 on Sunday, the lowest monthly figure since July last year, according to an AFP tally based on Pentagon figures.

The figure also marks the fourth consecutive drop in the monthly death toll following a high of 121 in May. June saw 93 deaths, July 82 and August 79. The monthly toll in July 2006 was 53.

Two US soldiers were killed on Saturday in separate incidents, pushing the overall toll of American losses since the March 2003 invasion to 3,801.

A surge in US troop numbers saw an extra 28,500 personnel deployed from mid-February, mainly in Baghdad and the neighbouring province of Anbar, although commanders said most were not in combat positions until May.

US commanders say the strategy is starting to work and that levels of violence are dropping, allowing for a possible drawdown of the 160,000 or so troops now deployed.

...

By having a higher force to space ration and putting into the space where it can protect non combatants we have become a much more effective force and have gotten greater intelligence on enemy activities. Although the casualty report does not indicate enemy casualties, they have been grow dramatically has we get intelligence and drive them out of their sanctuary. The old strategy of smaller force required something of a whack a mole attack on enemy forces leaving only to have them return. Now they are running out of places to run to because of the greater force and the more effective use of Iraqi forces.

There is also the counterintuitive effect of having more force in a combat zone reducing deaths. It works because the enemy knows his chances of success against a larger force are less, so he is less likely to attack.

See also Dean Barnett's take on the stuck on stupid media and Democrats when it comes to progress in the war the enemy is waging against us.

CNN also notes the "U.S. monthly death toll in Iraq has dropped to its lowest level in more than a year...." It also reports that civilian death totals are down dramatically too.

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