Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The rising death toll in Iraq

The coincidence of the 3,000th US military death in Iraq (and the likelihood that George Bush will commit further troops), and news that more Iraqi civilians were killed in December than in any month since the invasion, has sparked a number of reports.

The BBC has a fairly comprehensive report showing the upward trend in the number of military and civilian deaths up to September 2006. It shows the steady rise in attacks by insurgents. It does not, however, include any figures on the number of wounded. This is supplied by The Times, which reports that the total number of US wounded at 16 December was 22,057: over seven times the number of deaths. The tendency to overlook this statistic - and in Britain, certainly, the government has tried to hide the number of soldiers left disabled by the war - was brought home to me several months ago in a powerful documentary showing the physical and mental effects on the war on three invalided British servicemen. Raw British figures (and figures for Afghanistan) can be found on the Ministry of Defence website.

So, not a very optimistic start to 2007, but one that, like Saad Eskander's diary yesterday, reveals the reality of what is happening inside Iraq.

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