September casualties at lowest level in a year
BAGHDAD – Deaths among American forces and Iraqi civilians fell dramatically last month to their lowest levels in more than a year, according to figures compiled by the U.S. military, the Iraqi government and The Associated Press.
The decline signaled a U.S. success in reducing violence in Baghdad and surrounding regions since Washington completed its infusion of 30,000 more troops on June 15.
A total of 64 American forces died in September – the lowest monthly toll since July 2006.
The decline in Iraqi civilian deaths was even more dramatic, falling from 1,975 in August to at least 988 last month, a decline of 50 percent, according to an AP tally. The civilian death toll has not been so low since June 2006, when 847 Iraqis died.
In a joint statement released Monday, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and U.S. Commander Gen. David Petraeus commended Iraqi’s security forces and its citizens for the decrease in violence.
“We are confident that you and your fellow citizens will continue to display determination, that Iraqi Security Forces will remain vigilant and that additional Iraqis will join our combined effort,” said the statement.
KEY IRAQ FIGURES
Since war began in March 2003
U.S. TROOP LEVELS:
• September 2007: 165,000
• January 2007: 137,000
• Confirmed U.S. military deaths as of Oct. 1, 2007: 3,800
• Deaths of civilian employees of U.S. government contractors as of June 30, 2007: 1,001.
• Iraqi civilian deaths from war-related violence: Estimated at more than 73,000, with one controversial study last year contending there were as many as 655,000.
• Assassinated Iraqi academics: 332.
• Journalists killed on assignment: 112.
• Stepped-up military operations are costing about $12 billion a month, with Iraq accounting for $10 billion per month, according to congressional analysis.
• Total cost to the U.S. government is more than $455 billion. A January 2007 study by Linda Bilmes of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government put the total projected cost of providing medical care and disability benefits to veterans of Iraq and Afghan-istan at $350 billion to $700 billion.
The Associated Press