Monday, March 24, 2008

"He bears the responsibility for the decisions that he's made"

Four U.S. Soldiers Die in Iraq; War Toll Is at 4,000

Here is the data laid out simply and plainly in Bloomberg:

March 24 (Bloomberg) -- Four U.S. soldiers were killed in a bomb attack in Baghdad, taking the American death toll in the Iraq War to at least 4,000, according to the independent group that tallies fatalities in the conflict.

The Multi-National Division-Baghdad soldiers were on patrol in the south of the Iraqi capital yesterday when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, the U.S. military said today in an e- mailed statement.

The deaths, days after the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, occurred on the same day Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, which houses the Iraqi government and the American embassy, was hit with mortar fire, and more than 50 people died in attacks across the country.

``He's grieved by the moment,'' White House press secretary Dana Perino said when asked about President George W. Bush's reaction to the 4,000 deaths milestone. ``He bears the responsibility for the decisions that he's made.''

Perino said the president is ``committed'' to winning in Iraq so fallen troops won't have made a sacrifice ``in vain.''

As the war enters its sixth year, there are calls from some U.S. lawmakers to accelerate a drawdown of troops after an extra 30,000 soldiers were deployed last year to halt violence between majority Shiites and minority Sunnis. Some estimates put the cost of the Iraq War as high as $3 trillion.

Costs and Consequences

Bush should change direction on the conflict and provide a clear assessment of its costs and consequences, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez said on March 22 when he delivered the Democratic party's weekly radio address.

Bush said on March 19, the anniversary of the invasion, that the extra forces he ordered into Iraq last year increased security and paved the way for a ``major strategic victory'' in the war against terrorism.

Monthly U.S. military deaths have increased from the 14 soldiers killed in December last year, the lowest since February 2004, according to Defense Department statistics.

There were 34 military deaths in January and 25 in February. As many as 26 have died in March, according to Bloomberg calculations using Defense Department statistics and press statements.

Three U.S. soldiers were killed in an attack northwest of Baghdad two days ago, the military said in a separate statement.

U.S. military deaths were at 3,999, according to Bloomberg's calculations. Agence France-Presse, the Associated Press and other media said the tally was 4,000.

More than 29,000 soldiers have been wounded, 45 percent of them so seriously they haven't returned to duty.

As many as 89,778 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the invasion, according to the latest report on the Web site of, a U.K.-based research group.

``We regret every casualty, every loss,'' Vice President Dick Cheney told reporters in Jerusalem, when asked about the number of U.S. dead.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo at

Last Updated: March 24, 2008 10:18 EDT

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