Saturday, November 04, 2006

Deadlier Combat in Iraq

We're only four days into November, but CJR Daily calls out the media publications for abandoning the "death count" that they seemed transfixed by in October:
Anyone remember the last two weeks of October, when television and print reporters couldn't stop talking about the number of American soldiers and Marines who were dying in near-record numbers in Iraq? And remember how practically every story about the upcoming midterm elections included the ever-increasing death toll as it inched closer to the 100 mark?

Well, seen any of those stories since October 31?

We're not saying that the press has begun to totally ignore the toll the war is taking in American lives, (October saw 105 Americans die in Iraq), but it seems that once the morbid race to October 31 ended on Tuesday, most election stories -- which reprinted the October death rate time and again as if it were some macabre poll number -- began to forget that troops were still dying in favor of jumping on the truly pathetic "John Kerry thinks the troops are dumb" story.
Mind you, the writer is not saying that the media should be morbidly focused on an exact count of the number dead in Iraq each month. Rather, that the media was focused on casualties, but only to the extent to which they could sway the upcoming mid-terms. I agree with that assessment. Of course you had the typical stories about the Iraq war which were focused solely on the war, but it did seem that every election story included a death count. And yes it's only been four days, but since you can't rack up 105 dead in only a week's time, major publications seem to have gotten away from mentioning the dead as much (except perhaps to mention the October toll again and again.) And yet our soldiers continue to die (eleven in only four days so far this month) and the war only gets deadlier:

In recent months, military officers and enlisted marines say, the insurgents have been using snipers more frequently and with greater effect, disrupting the military’s operations and fueling a climate of frustration and quiet rage. Across Iraq, the threat has become serious enough that in late October the military held an internal conference about it, sharing the experiences of combat troops and discussing tactics to counter it. There has been no ready fix.
Our soldiers, trying also to win the war for the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqis, find themselves shot at from insurgents hiding among civilians and civilian living areas, and unable even to shoot back at the snipers tormenting them; snipers that have gotten progressively more accurate and deadly as the war has gone on. Given the chaos unfolding in Iraq, the more active efforts of our soldiers to bring a halt to the chaos, and the increasing deadliness of insurgent tactics, it's unlikely the rate of casualties will slow down in the least anytime soon.

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