U.S. Death Toll in Iraq Reaches 2,500

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Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 3:49pm

U.S. Death Toll in Iraq Reaches 2,500

Three years and three months after the start of the Iraq war, the U.S. has lost it's 2,500th soldier.  In addition, the U.S. has lost 18,490 soldiers to injury in Iraq.  That bring the total loss of troops to nearly 21,000.  That is an average of 64 American people being killed and 475 people being wounded every single month.  To make matters worse, there seems to be no end in sight.

   President Bush met with the newly formed Iraqi government on Tuesday, but the Iraqi government is irrelevant if the situation on the ground is not made safer.  Yesterday, 50,000 Iraqi troops and 7,000 American troops began a concentrated effort to make the streets safer in Baghdad.  Unfortunately, the Iraqi troops are not trained well enough to function without the Americans and these troops will not be staying in Baghdad after the offensive.

That is the major issue.  There may be 57,000 troops in Baghdad today, but they cannot stay because there are not enough forces to cover the entire country.  When the military squashes an uprising or attacks a town that is an insurgent stronghold, they do not stay to stabilize the area.  They don't stay because there aren't enough of them.  As a result, insurgents simply move from one town to the next and continue to wreak havoc on civilians and American forces.

As for the death toll, I wonder how much is too much.  At current troop strength, this war is not winnable or losable.  By that I mean that the current level of forces is enough so that the U.S. won't lose, but not nearly enough for them to secure the country and win.

I'm afraid the next three years and three months will result in another 2,500 deaths and 18,490 injuries if the overall strategy is not completely changed.  There has been zero progress in terms of safety since this war started.  In fact, it has gotten progressively worse.  The U.S. may kill leaders of the insurgency, but they will simply replace him with some other murderer.

The real answer is what no politician wants to discuss:  more troops.  An insurgent will not commit a crime if there are American soldiers on every street and tanks on every block.  You simply flood the entire country with soldiers until such time as the Iraqi military and police are fully trained.  It will probably take between 300,000 - 500,000 troops to secure the country, but it will prevent another 2,500 from dying.

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