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Editor’s note: The following report is excerpted from the latest edition of Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence newsletter published by the founder of WND. Annual subscription price is $99, while credit card users can get a monthly trial subscription for just $9.95.
Iconic image from Abu Ghraib prison scandal
WASHINGTON – U.S. military casualties in Iraq skyrocketed during the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and following a ban on coercive interrogation of prisoners 18 months later, shows an analysis of monthly Defense Department reports on troop deaths conducted by Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Only two times during the course of the war do statistics show combat deaths significantly increasing:
- The first came just as the Abu Ghraib scandal was breaking in April 2004, casting international doubt upon the American-led mission and, say U.S. military sources, giving encouragement to terrorist forces on the ground.
- The second came in 2006, following the implementation of new rules of engagement and a congressional ban on so-called “torture” that strictly limited interrogation techniques by U.S. military personnel.
In addition to being the month the world first heard of Abu Ghraib, April 2004 was also the second-highest month for U.S. military deaths in Iraq, and it set off a period of significant instability.
The 136 U.S. combat deaths in April were rivaled only once – seven months later, as the scandal continued to unfold in the international media.
In the first 13 months of the war, leading up to April 2004, there were a total of 605 U.S. military deaths in Iraq. In the following 13 months there were 928 – more than a 50 percent increase.
Casualties remained steady and slightly higher than at the beginning of the war through the next 18 months of the war, followed by another major surge of violence directed against U.S. troops, U.S. military sources that include veterans of multiple tours of Iraq, those involved in interrogations and military intelligence experts told G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence newsletter published by WND.
In early 2006, Congress approved the ban of interrogation methods widely labeled as “torture.” However, U.S. military interrogators say the more accurate terminology for the practices banned is “coercive interrogations.” They say the prohibitions left the U.S. without the kind of information it needed to prevent future attacks, to assess the strength of the enemy and to locate strongholds.
Analysis of statistics suggests those assessments may have some validity.
Beginning in October 2006, the U.S. faced an 11-month period of greatly increased field casualties – a total of 1,091. Only the introduction of higher U.S. troop levels and new surge strategies offered up by Gen. David Petraeus had the effect of reducing casualties to lowest levels of the war over the last seven months.