Deep Underground with Raul Groom

Monday, November 15, 2004

Coming Full Circle

Cheery thought of the day - as many U.S. soldiers died in the ten days between November 4th and November 14th, 2004 as died in the ten days between March 21st and March 31st, 2003, the period of the initial assault on Baghdad.

Despite the assurances of Bush administration spokespeople, the trend since the fall of Baghdad has been a steady increase in casualties from a baseline of about 8 per week in mid 2003 to a baseline of about twice as many per week in late 2004. If you care to take a look, you can do so here.

By absolutely any measure other than whatever one the Pentagon is using, the Iraq war is clearly, consistently and inexorably getting worse.

But the most important measure is the human one. My apologies for coming at this only from the American perspective, but the Iraqi perspective is too depressing.

At the end of 1966, the U.S. had approximately 385,000 troops in Vietnam, and was losing them at a rate of about 350 KIA per month. The U.S. currently has about 142,000 troops in Iraq, and is losing them at a rate of about 70 per month. That means it is currently about half as dangerous to be an American soldier in Iraq as it was to be an American soldier in Vietnam at the beginning of 1967.

At the current rate of escalation of conflict in Iraq, danger to U.S. troops in Iraq will reach the level of Vietnam 1967 by the end of next year.

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