23,416 US Casualties in Iraq War

21 GIs killed since Saturday
Campaign Against Sadr City Looms

By Juan Cole

10/04/06 "Information Clearing House" -- - Al-Zaman reports that 21 US troops have been killed in Iraq since Saturday, with 8 killed on Monday alone.

As of Tuesday, 23,416 US troops have been wounded or killed in the Iraq War.

If you really want to gauge the toll of the Iraq War on the American public, you have to read the local newspapers.

For instance the Dorchester Reporter.

For instance The Enterprise at Sgt. Fontaine is still determined to be a firefighter. This looks like a worthy place to donate.

It seems pretty obvious that the Department of Defense is using flimsy excuses for not revealing the nature and severity of the wounds GIs receive.

Note that this situation is the opposite of the general rule in cable news infotainment. Usually the national cable networks spend hours and hours covering local murder mysteries and emergencies while ignoring vital national and international stories. In this case, they mainly cover Iraq by reporting what the Bush administration says about Iraq, but they almost never cover the local impact of the war or concentrate on the wounded veterans struggling to make their lives. Shouldn't some cable news organization be highlighting at least one such veteran every day, and giving information about where we can send help?

In a CNN poll of 1,014 US adults done Sept. 29-Oct. 2:

39% think Bush is doing a good job as president.

42% will vote for the Republican candidate in November.

53% said that they planned to vote Democrat in November.

57% said the Iraq War has made the US less safe from terrorism

58% said that the Bush administration misled the public on how the war is going

59% said they disapproved of the job Bush is doing as president.

61% said that they oppose the Iraq War

66% said that they disapprove of the way that Bush is handling the Iraq War.

Some of these numbers show a worsening of Bush's position with the public since August. For instance, his approval rating dropped from 42% to 39%, and those who oppose the war rose from 58% in August to 61% now.

Most important of all, a solid majority believes that the Iraq War has made us less safe from terrorism, at 58%-- a sharp rebuke to Bush, who has been making the opposite argument in a string of national speeches as well as on the campaign trail.

Here are the results of a McClatchy/MSNBC poll of Pennsylvanians in which they asked what should be done in Iraq.

What should the U.S. do in Iraq:

Send more 11%

Keep same 23%

Withdraw some 21%

Withdraw all 27%

Not sure 18%

It is incredible that even now, slightly less than half (48%) advocate at least some troop withdrawals, and only a little over a quarter say to get out altogether. A sixth are baffled.

With regard to the Senate race, this poll puts Casey at 49%, with Santorum trailing at 40%. These Pennsylvanians said that Iraq was their number one issue.

In his Meet the Press debate this year with Casey on Iraq, Santorum said of Iraq, "We have a great game plan, and Rumsfeld does fine job." Is it a football game to him? And, which Trans-Neptunian Object does he live on? Even Andy Card and Laura Bush think Rumsfeld should be fired.

AP reports that over 50 persons died in political violence in Iraq on Tuesday. Major incidents included the bombing of a market and a mortar attack on a civilian neighborhood.

The L A Times reports that there is a spike in US combat deaths in Iraq in part because of the current "Battle for Baghdad" sweep of guerrilla-infested neighborhoods.

According to al-Sharq al-Awsat/ AFP [Ar.], it seems likely that the US troops are not very far away now from a major set of encounters with the Mahdi Army in East Baghdad. US military personnel are said to have remarked that "Sadr City is the key to the security plan." In recent days, US military patrols have been sent into the area to probe the security situation there. When they go in after the Mahdi Army, all hell will likely break loose. My guess? That won't come until after the November elections.

Will Bush pardon Libby before his trial on charges of covering up his having leaked the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame to the press?

Juan Cole is President of the Global Americana Institute. Visit his blog

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