WASHINGTON – Despite suffering 4,000 deaths in Iraq, annual U.S. military casualties overall during the first six years of the Bush administration are well below the average for the 26-year period beginning in 1980, a WND investigation has revealed.
Even in 2005, the deadliest year of the Iraq campaign, U.S. troop fatalities around the world, including Afghanistan, were lower than the first nine years of the study – when the Cold War was still raging in a time of relative peace.
In 2005, a total of 1,942 U.S. military personnel were killed in all causes, including accidents, hostile action, homicides, illnesses, suicides, etc. That compares to 2,392 in 1980, the last year of President Jimmy Carter's administration. In fact, twice as many U.S. military personnel were killed in accidents in that one year than were killed in hostile actions in any year of the Bush administration.
The analysis of statistics compiled by the Department of Defense also shows, despite a major increase in deaths due to hostile actions beginning in 2003 with the advent of the Iraq war, the annual toll on U.S. troops did not skyrocket above peacetime norms as many might expect. For instance, in 1993, the first year of the peacetime Clinton administration, 1,293 U.S. servicemen lost their lives – just 649 fewer than in 2005, the hottest year of the Iraq war.
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As of yesterday, a total of 4,044 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003.
The British military has reported 176 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 21; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, seven; El Salvador, five; Slovakia, four; Latvia, three; Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, Romania, two each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, South Korea, one death each.
Iraqi military deaths since the beginning of the war are estimated at between 4,900 and 6,375, while Iraqi civilian deaths are estimated at between 82,856 and 90,390.
"You regret every casualty, every loss," Vice President Dick Cheney said last month while on a trip to the Middle East. "The president is the one that has to make that decision to send young men and women into harm's way. It never gets any easier."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Americans are asking how much longer their troops must sacrifice for an Iraqi government "that is unwilling or unable to secure its own future."
"Americans also understand that the cost of the war to our national security, military readiness and our reputation around the world is immense and that the threat to our economy – as the war in Iraq continues to take us deeper into debt – is unacceptable," Pelosi said.
The U.S. has about 158,000 troops in Iraq. That number is expected to drop to 140,000 by summer in drawdowns meant to erase all but about 8,000 troops from last year's increase.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, told a campaign audience in Pennsylvania she would honor the fallen by ending the war and bringing home U.S. troops "as quickly and responsibly as possible." Her rival for the nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, said "It is past time to end this war that should never have been waged by bringing our troops home and finally pushing Iraq's leaders to take responsibility for their future."
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