Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Deadliest July yet for US service members in Iraq

Today the US military announced: "Three Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers were killed and six others wounded when an explosively formed penetrator detonated near their patrol during combat operations in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital July 31." This brings the ICCC totals for number of US service members killed in the illegal war since it started in March 2003 to 3656 and the number of announced deaths for the months of July thus far to 77.

That makes July 2007 the deadliest July for US troops since the start of the illegal war. The first July (2003) saw the deaths of 43 US troops, July 2004 saw 54, July 2005 also saw 54 and July 2006 saw 43. With 77 announced deaths thus far, this was the July of the illegal war for US troops.

There may or may not be more July announced deaths to come. Last week we saw deaths announced as late as four days later. We saw that repeat this week. For the month, in fact, the standout feature about deaths was how slowly MNF announced them.

Thank goodness we have an independent press. Thank goodness we have a press that doesn't just run with whatever talking point they are fed.

Oh. That's right. We don't have that.

The Seattle Times in in rah-rah mood. They haven't been so excited since they went to town on Ehren Watada with that crappy editorial.

As for this year, for those wondering, the lowest completed total is 81 which was the number of deaths in February and in March. Let's hope the July announcements are over because otherwise a lot of outlets will have to play dumb if four or more July deaths are announced late in the next few days. For those who've forgotten, MNF has had a pattern of doing that during the illegal war as well to get that favorable first day of the new month look back on the month that has past.

Last week, we noted repeatedly that whatever the final numbers were, July 2007 was already the deadliest July on record for US service members. On Friday, when everyone was reporting the Happy Talk from we noted:

From reality to Operation Happy Talk. The push-back is on and Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno has enlisted. Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) writes of the press briefing Odierno gave yesterday where he issued the talking points that US military deaths were falling. Parker rightly notes that seven deaths were announced after the press briefing and the one of the deaths announced on Thursday dated back to Sunday. The US military was delaying announcing deaths. Reality is that in terms of what has been annouced, the deaths were 67 on Thursday and that July is not yet over but July 2007 is already the deadliest July for US service members since the start of the illegal war. July 2006: 43 US service members were killed in Iraq. In July 2005 and July 2004, 54 US service members were killed in Iraq. In July 2003, 48 US service members were killed in Iraq.

That was in the snapshot and we addressed reality earlier that morning with "Rewriting Ned Parker on the death toll." It takes a special kind of stupid for a news outlet to still run with that talking point from last week today but there are a lot of outlets displaying just how stupid they can be today.

Odierno issued the talked point and all that matters is that they follow up, reality be damned.

In the New York Times, Stephen Farrell exhibits MPD as he issues the talking point (he's not responsible for the headline) and also notes, "Estimates of the death toll varied, but Iraq Coalition Casualty Count put the July total so far at 74, down from 101 in June and the lowest number since November 2006. Some casualties in late July may be reported after the beginning of August, so the count is not yet definitive for the month." With all the staffers the paper has in Iraq, some may wonder why no one could assist Farrell by checking the most obvious indicator: past July totals?

The e-mail address for this entry is And, on e-mails, the next entry will be completely dictated and e-mailed to the site by a friend who hates Blogger/Blogspot (no disagreement from me on that) but is willing to add links et al using Yahoo mail (which really is easier to use than Blogger/Blogspot).