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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fourth Consecutive Drop in Military Deaths--UPDATE- A letter from the front, Baghdad

AFP, via Breitbart is reporting that the U.S. Military deaths are at the lowest levels in 14 months.

US military losses in Iraq for September stood at 70 on Sunday, the lowest monthly figure since July last year, according to an AFP tally based on Pentagon figures.

The figure also marks the fourth consecutive drop in the monthly death toll following a high of 121 in May. June saw 93 deaths, July 82 and August 79. The monthly toll in July 2006 was 53.

Two US soldiers were killed on Saturday in separate incidents, pushing the overall toll of American losses since the March 2003 invasion to 3,801.

A surge in US troop numbers saw an extra 28,500 personnel deployed from mid-February, mainly in Baghdad and the neighbouring province of Anbar, although commanders said most were not in combat positions until May.

US commanders say the strategy is starting to work and that levels of violence are dropping, allowing for a possible drawdown of the 160,000 or so troops now deployed.

"The trend is certainly in the right direction," US military spokesman Rear Admiral Mark Fox told a press conference in Baghdad.

"The surge unquestionably is what has been the catalyst that has created the opportunity to have more forces operating in more places at the same time and to deny Al-Qaeda and the extremists safe-haven and to take away sanctuaries."

The surge started late, it should have been done years ago, but since it began there have been less U.S. Military deaths and more terrorists death and captures, showing that the surge and the new counterinsurgency strategy that has been implemented, has indeed, made a difference and created an atmosphere where al-Qaeda has no place to hide and are on the run, not only from our forces but from the Iraqi citizens themselves.

All this might be why the Democratic politicians options in Iraq are few.

After President Bush's announcement this month of a limited troop drawdown and a continuation of the "surge" strategy through next summer, the key question for centrist Democrats in the presidential race is no longer whether U.S. forces will remain in Iraq but what size, mission and length a post-buildup, post-Bush force would take on. Even if the Democratic hopefuls decline to offer specifics, some of the people mentioned as possible defense secretaries under a Democratic White House offer a vision of a U.S. presence in Iraq that does not differ markedly from that of the Bush administration.

"There's a fairly narrow band of choice here, a relatively limited set of options," said David Kilcullen, an Australian counterinsurgency expert who has advised Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq. "I think a Democratic or Republican administration will be doing fairly similar things."

The bottomline is that no matter how loud the screaming and screeching gets on the far left liberal side of the blogosphere and media, it doesn't matter if a Republican takes the White House in 2008 or a Democrat, when it comes to strategy, they will all be doing the same thing that Bush is doing now.

They can promise "change" all they want, but conditions on the ground determine what changes will be made, not polls nor public opinion.

A hard lesson for the Democratic politicians, but from their answers the other night at the debate, one they are starting to come to terms with, even if their far left base are incapable of understanding.

In their debate Wednesday night in Hanover, N.H., none of the three top Democratic presidential candidates would promise to have the U.S. military out of Iraq by January 2013 -- more than five years from now.

"I think it would be irresponsible" to state that, said Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.).

"I cannot make that commitment," added former senator John Edwards of North Carolina.

And Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) put it simply when she outlined the dilemma that Democratic presidential aspirants face on Iraq. "It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting," the party's front-runner said.

The last paragraph of the Wapo piece says it all:

Ultimately, however, it appears now that no matter who inhabits the White House, the United States may be resolved -- or resigned -- to an enduring presence in Iraq. "America has taken a deep breath," Kilcullen said, "looked into the abyss of pulling out, and decided, 'Let's not do it yet.' "

The tide has turned for the better in Iraq, not just a small one month turn, but two, then three and now four months in a row.

We are winning and only those that are blinded by rage and hatred could actually hope that the tide will turn the other way, yet there are many wishing for exactly that.

For some, the politics trump our and the Iraqi's victory and triumph.

One has to wonder how they look at themselves in the mirror if they cannot even find joy in the fact that more terrorists are being killed and captured, and less U.S. Military members and less innocent Iraqi citizens are being murdered.

[Update] Gateway Pundit shows us that 5 million children returned to school in Iraq.

Just more progress that our media tries to sweep under the rug.

[Update] A letter from the front, in Baghdad, from a soldier.


While the situation is always fragile, we have the initiative. (The enemy) can hide from us but he cannot hide from his neighbor.

Once abandoned streets are now filled with families and budding entrepreneurs who continue to open new small businesses every week.

We have made available grants for small businesses in our area and they have become immensely popular as you can imagine. I cannot walk the streets without children asking me for a soccer ball and "chocolate" (meaning any kind of candy) and adults asking for a micro grant application or for the status of the one they already filled out. They use these grants to open new businesses or improve their existing one and it is working well.

Our area now has a men's fashion store, fish markets, pharmacies, bakeries, and even two new gyms. We recently helped refurbish a once neglected clinic into a first-class location for health care. ...Our medical platoon recently spent several hours with local doctors and nurses treating patients for everyday aches and pains with donated medical supplies from a humanitarian organization. I even watched our physician's assistant pull a watermelon seed out of a young girl's ear (sound familiar to anyone?).

We also recently completed work on a soccer field that is used nightly by the young people here. Much to our surprise, on the opening night, each team had "1-4 CAV" printed on the back of their soccer jerseys. ...

Other good news: ... 1-4 CAV has the highest re-enlistment rate of any battalion-level unit in all of Baghdad and A Troop has the highest re-enlistment rate of any company-level organization in all of Baghdad for this fiscal year.

Go read the whole thing. Still more that our media refuses to tell you or show you but our troops are finding ways to tell Americans what is happening and about the progress they are making and seeing on a daily basis.

Bless them.

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