October 1, 2007

Combat Deaths Drop To 14-Month Low

The use of aggressive tactics and a larger footprint has resulted in a drop in combat deaths for American troops in Iraq. The number of those lost in combat operations fell to a 14-month low in September. Meanwhile, the US and Iraqi forces continue to hold the momentum, killing almost as many al-Qaeda terrorists and insurgents this weekend as American forces lost all month:

Sixty-three U.S. military deaths were reported in September, the lowest monthly toll since July 2006, according to U.S. forces and a preliminary count by The Associated Press.

A U.S. soldier was killed Sunday in a small-arms attack during combat operations in eastern Baghdad, the military said Monday. The soldier, whose name was withheld pending notification of relatives, was assigned to the Multi-National Division-Baghdad. In July 2006, 43 American soldiers were killed, according to an AP count.

"It's still too high," military spokesman Rear Admiral Mark Fox said of the deaths during a news conference. "But the trend is in the right direction."

At the same time, CENTCOM announced that they had killed over 60 AQI and insurgents in multiple operations this weekend. Over 20 of those came when an American pilot spotted an AQI detachment carrying light weapons and a rocket launcher and called fire onto their position. In other raids, the Coalition killed more than 40 others, mostly AQI, and captured a number of Mahdi Army "rogue" elements. Those also came in Baghdad, indicating increasing success in operations within the capital.

Meanwhile, Sunni and Shi'ite unity came from a remarkable source -- opposition to the US Congress. Politicians from parties representing both populations rejected a non-binding resolution sponsored by Joe Biden that suggested a "soft partition" of Iraq along sectarian lines. The Sunnis and the Shi'ites both reacted with derision, calling the notion a "catastrophe" and "incorrect and unrealistic". Sunni leaders vowed to press for Iraqi unity, and Nouri al-Maliki said that division is the problem, not the solution. Even the secularists jumped into the debate, essentially telling Biden and the Senate that they have underestimated Iraqis.

The US Embassy in Baghdad took the unusual step of scolding Congress for its suggestion. They noted that the Iraqis themselves had provided a constitution with federalist structures, and that the Iraqis had to determine how best to implement it. It seems rather obvious that the last thing we should want now is an Iraqi constitutional convention, where factions would have to rethink the entire government with the pressure of foreign terrorists and Iraqi insurgencies finally starting to recede. It's almost as absurd as demanding a new government to replace Maliki, when the last replacement took the Iraqi Assembly over five months.

The situation continues to improve, despite the irritant that Congress provides. The US and Iraqi forces have momentum, and that has begun to translate into ground-up unity. With the successes becoming ever more apparent, it is small wonder that Democratic presidential contenders can't commit to abandoning Iraq before 2013.


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Comments (16)

Posted by Steve J. | October 1, 2007 6:01 AM

Over 20 of those came when an American pilot spotted an AQI detachment ...

This is a LIE. According to Pres. Fredo's own numbers, there shouldn't be any AQI left.

Posted by Terry Gain | October 1, 2007 7:34 AM

Steve J

There are still some AQI in Iraq just as there are still some Americans who believe Iraq isn't being pacified. Despite the best efforts of leftist propagandists both numbers will continue to drop.

If the Democrats wish to win in 08 they need to change the narrative to acknowledging the progress which is obviously taking place and somehow taking credit for it.

This new narrative could range from saying that if only Bush had sent more troops earlier (as they sugggested) Iraq would have been pacified earlier to saying that Iraqis only decided to reconcile their differences after Biden suggested the country be partitioned.

These new narratives will be difficult to pass off but the Democrats can count on the cooperation of the MSM to push them.

To continue on the current course of suspending disbelief in the progress which is obviously taking place is political suicide. If Democrats continue to deny the obvious progress more and more Americans may get the impression that they really do want their country to lose this war.

Posted by docjim505 | October 1, 2007 7:35 AM

I was going to post "LIES! LIES!! LIES!!!!" in a sarcastic manner to beat the libs to the punch, but I see that Steve J. has stolen a march on me. Oh, well... Better luck next time, I suppose.

Steve J.'s "comment" underscores the fact that a drop in US combat deaths is terrible news for the terrorists and the democrats. Could it be evidence that General Betray-us' surge plan is actually (gasp!) working? Well, we'll see how the dems spin their way out of this. As I've written before, they'll find SOME bad news somewhere in Iraq (there's certainly lots of it to choose from) to gin up into "We're losing! We gotta withdraw NOW!", even if it's traffic accidents in Tikrit or teen pregnancy rates in Kirkuk.

For the rest of us, however, this is welcome news indeed and is evidence that the surge is working (maybe GEN Petraeus is actually a capable and honorable Army officer and NOT just a political hack and liar in uniform, eh?). Momentum is an important factor in war: we can only presume that the terrorists will start to lose heart while the Iraqis will gain increasing confidence. Fence-sitters in Iraq will begin to see very clearly that the US / Iraqi side is winning and be more inclined to cooperate. We're already seeing concrete gains among the terrorists' allies in the US: the top dem presidential hopefuls won't even talk about troop withdrawals until after their (God save us!) first term in office. They know that we're winning. The refusal to endorse withdrawal by the Hilldabeast, the Dope, and Silky Pony must be a bitter blow to the terrorists, who almost certainly have been counting on the democrats to save them from defeat by the awesome American armed forces.

Have we won in Iraq? No, of course not. The terrorists may be able to stage some sort of tremendous outrage that will undo the work that has been done, or some political problem in the Iraqi government may cause trouble, or the democrats may yet succeed in knifing the troops and the Iraqis in the back as they did in Vietnam thirty-five years ago, or one of those accidents of history may scuttle the whole endeavor. But right now it seems to me that we're doing well. Let's hope for more progress and, as always, have faith in the American GI. History shows that, if he gets time and the support he needs, he can damned near work miracles.

Posted by rbj | October 1, 2007 7:41 AM

So the Dems want us out of Iraq, yet we should tell them how to order their country? Kinda bizarre.

Posted by Ned | October 1, 2007 8:18 AM

This morning when I read the Captain's headline, Combat Deaths Drop To 14-Month Low, I thought of these lines from the movie The Aviator. It makes it even better that Juan is played by Alec Baldwin.

Juan Trippe: [walks away from TV showing the Hughes investigation trial] Switch it off.
Pan-Am Employee: The hearings aren't over yet.
Juan Trippe: The hearings *are* over.
[Is looking at a map of the globe]
Juan Trippe: The airline bill will be defeated in the senate. TWA will begin flights over New York to Paris, leaving over Moscow to Japan - to Hawaii - to Los Angelses - To New York.
[Realizes that Pan Am's monopoly is finished]
Juan Trippe: Fuck.

There has to be a huge collective voicing of the expletive, in the last line, coming from the drive-by media and the left.

Posted by John | October 1, 2007 8:20 AM

Why do I find this great news a Captain's Quarters, but not on CNN and CBS?

Posted by Darrell | October 1, 2007 9:06 AM

Looks like a grim milestone for the democrats.

Posted by Les Nessman | October 1, 2007 9:54 AM

Latest polls show 81% of Americans support combat deaths.

Posted by David M | October 1, 2007 10:14 AM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 10/01/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Posted by GarandFan | October 1, 2007 11:10 AM

But Harry Reid says the war is lost.

Posted by DubiousD | October 1, 2007 11:47 AM

Let's hold off the self-congratulations until October '07 is in the books. Traditionally it's the season of the witch when US casualties tend to spike:

Iraq Casualties

If you scroll down to U.S. Deaths by Month/Year, there is a major jump from Sept. to Oct. in every year but one (2004).

Sept. '03 - 31
Oct. '03 - 44

Sept. '04 - 80
Oct. '04 - 64

Sept. '05 - 49
Oct. '05 - 96

Sept. '06 - 72
Oct. '06 - 106

Sept. '07 - 63
Oct. '07 - ?

Should there be a "quiet" October in Baghdad, then we'll really know we're in good shape.

Posted by jerry | October 1, 2007 11:53 AM


I think it's about time we stop responding to Trolls who refer to the President by anything other then their actual name or position. People who use names like Fredo and shrub aren't worth answering. They are usually people who couldn't make it through community college let alone an Ivy League school with a non-zero grade point average.

Posted by DubiousD | October 1, 2007 11:59 AM

For a breakdown of hostile vs. non-hostile casualties, check here:

Hostile/Non-Hostile Deaths

Posted by courtneyme109 | October 1, 2007 1:28 PM

This proves Iraq is a quagmire - but not for America.

Iraq has been turned into a giant sucking killing machine for Saudi Rejects, Syrian minions, the always defecting, disappearing and dying Revo Guards and wanna be jihadis.

Iran and our enemies have wasted so much of their cash, resources and volunteers and have nothing to show for it - no caliphate, no theocracy and no super Iranian leaning Shia majority in the gov.

Stay the course? Surge? - it all means the same thing - victory.

Posted by Nate | October 1, 2007 3:08 PM

All this time we've been wondering what it would take for the Sunni and Shia to agree on something. Turns out it was mutual disgust of Joe Biden that did the trick. The Dems have finally made a contribution to winning the war!

Posted by Rockman44 | October 1, 2007 6:31 PM

Just think. If our commander in chief had not been such a pig headed stand by your man regarless of circumstances, this could have been happening 24 months ago. Lots of lives would have been saved if only Bush would have listen rather than blindly following poor advise by others. Any one that has studied counterinsurgency tactics would have figured out its conquer and hold, not take and walk away. The Brits had this figured out years ago. But alas, Bush has shown himself to be a slow learner. Just think if he had not been so pig headed, the GOP might still be in charge in congress? Oh well, spilt milk. Reap what you sow, and I guess the American public is now going to get the pleasure of having their taxes raised, socialize medicine jambed down our throat, etcetera. There are many to blame, but one certainly should be blamed the most, Bush. Of course, in the last election it was voting for the lesser of two evils, so what else could we expect.

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