Monday, April 03, 2006

Bloody March 2006

Up to the very end of the month it looked like March would be the first time since February 2004 that a month's U.S. fatalities would be fewer than the number of days in the month.

Regrettably, it was not to be. March 2006 averaged one U.S. military person each day, matching the exact average during June 2003. In that June, 18 deaths were from hostile action, including 6 RPG attacks – that is, one-third of the total. Another 12 deaths were recorded as being from non-hostile causes.

By contrast, of the 20 U.S. fatalities in February 2004, 8 were due to non-hostile causes while12 were the result of hostile action. Only now, IEDs, not RPGs, were the main cause of fatalities – 9 of 12 or three-fourths.

Last month, 26 of the 31 U.S. fatalities were the result of hostile action, with IEDs again the leading cause at 11 or just over 42%. Unlike the other months above, this March the five non-hostile deaths constituted just over 20% of the combat fatalities, a sharp drop from the 66% in June 2003 and February 2004 (12of 18 and 8 of 12, respectively).

Makes one think that while the coalition forces will do their duty, they are being more careful -- as if they might themselves be thinking about the proposition that no one wants to be the last person to die in a war, whether from combat or by accident.

And lest we forget, in March the reported count of Iraqi civilian fatalities was 901 while security forces lost 193. Coalition partners in Iraw lost two.

Different cultures, different nationalities, but the blood is always red.

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