"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

New York

Iraq civilian, U.S. troop deaths fall in September

From Reuters via Yahoo.

The number of civilians killed in Iraq last month more than halved to 359 compared to a year ago, Iraqi government figures showed, and the number of U.S. troops killed in action also fell dramatically.

U.S. combat deaths fell to eight in September, down from 12 last month and vastly reduced from 43 in September last year, statistics from independent Web site http://icasualties.org/oif/ showed.

I found this article interesting for a few reasons.

First, 25 US Servicemen died in September 2008. However, only 8 were combat related. Seventeen were from non-combat related incidents. To put another way, two times as many deaths were from non-hostile incidents as were from hostile incidents.

Second, in September 2007, there was 45 deaths from hostile action (not the 43 sited above) which was almost two times as high as the non-hostile deaths.

Third, other than May 2003 and September 2008, the amount of hostile deaths has always been greater than the non-hostile deaths. These two months are the only two months where non-hostile deaths have been greater than hostile deaths.

Finally, the Reuters article notes civilian deaths for September 2008 were 359, down from September 2007 of 884. What the article does not state, but the IBC site does, is beginning December 2007, IBC started to use single source incidents as valid. Therefore, it is expected that the September 2008 number of 359 is high compared to the the same standard applied from September 2007 number. From IBC,

These single-sourced incidents comprise a small proportion of overall incidents and an even smaller proportion of deaths (since these incidents mainly involve smaller numbers killed - two, on average). Such small incidents are rarely misreported: inconsistent reporting mostly applies to very large incidents where the exact death toll is difficult to determine. Further, these single-source reports stem from the same reputable media and primary sources which provide most of IBC's fully-corroborated data, and many of them are subsequently corroborated through later-released official cumulative totals.

While I concur, to some extent, with the paragragh from IBC when it was written in 2007, I do not necessarily concur with that statement now. Many of the current deaths now involve "small numbers" compared to the spectacular and deadly attacks in 2007 in which scored died vice a relatively small number of small attacks in which an average of two died. While I have not correlated the numbers, I would suspect a majority of the attacks now involve "small numbers", possibly inflating the September 2008 numbers when compared to the same 2007 standard. In fact, the number of civilian casualties in September 2008 reported at icasualties.org was 268. But, it is also noteworthy that icasualties.org September 2007 number was also 752, about a 130 less than IBC.

It would be nice to compare apples to apple here vice possibly comparing apples to oranges to get true relative data.

However, it is noteworthly that combat related deaths are now in the single digits, at 8. This has only occurred in three months since OIF began May 2003, July 2008, and September 2008. May 2003 was before the insurgency started. It appears, at least from these numbers, July 2008 is possibly the month the insurgency ended. Just a thought.

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