BAGHDAD – The U.S. death toll for April rose to 18, the military said Friday, making it the deadliest in seven months for American forces in Iraq. The sharp increase from the previous month came as a series of bombings also pushed Iraqi deaths to their highest level this year.
The spike in attacks has raised concerns that insurgents are stepping up their efforts to re-ignite sectarian bloodshed as well as questions about the readiness of the Iraqis to take over responsibility for their own security as U.S. troops begin to withdraw.
Security was tightened in Tikrit after hundreds of angry mourners — some firing weapons into the air — took to the streets to protest the killings. The demonstrators shouted "Down with America!" and promised revenge.
That made April the deadliest month for U.S. forces since September, when 25 American troops died.
April also saw the most troops killed in combat so far this year, as opposed to other causes. Thirteen of last month's 18 deaths were in combat compared with four among the nine in March.
Sounds pretty terrible right? What they don't mention is that the death count of 18 US servicemen in April 2009 still make it less deadly than any month from March 2003 through September 2008. Put another way, the deaths in April 2009 were only 35% of the 52 deaths in April 2008, and 15% of the 117 military deaths in April 2007.
Civilian deaths in Iraq in April were also higher than previous months following a series of high-profile bombings.
At least 371 Iraqis were killed — in addition to 80 Iranian pilgrims — in violence in April, compared with 335 Iraqis killed in March, 288 in February and 242 in January, according to an AP tally.
What they don't mention is that the 344 civilian deaths in April 2009 constitute only 46% of the 744 civilians killed in April 2008 and only 19% of the 1,821 civilians killed in April 2007.
The bottom line, violence in Iraq is still down significantly and the mainstream media is still doing its best to convince us that it is an unwinnable quagmire.