About Iraq Deaths and Injuries Decline
|February 25th, 2005||#1|
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Iraq Deaths and Injuries Decline info
February 25, 2005
WASHINGTON - Iraqi insurgents have hit American troops with more remotely detonated bombs in the past year, but the attacks are killing and wounding fewer troops, the Pentagon said Thursday.
Since April 2004, bomb attacks have risen from an average of 25 a day to 30 a day, but the percentage of those attacks that injured or killed U.S. troops fell from 90% to about 25%, according to Lt. Col. Christopher Rodney, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon.
Rodney attributed the declining injury and death rates to a number of factors, from better protective armor and better intelligence to a dramatic improvement in U.S. troops' ability to electronically jam the devices that detonate the bombs.
The Pentagon has made a major push over the past year to armor Humvees and other trucks used by the Army and Marines, to better protect them from roadside bombs and other weapons.
"It's tough to say we'll ever eradicate (the remotely detonated bombs) completely," Rodney said. "But we're continuing to improve our ability to mitigate the number of casualties."
Marines have seen a decline in the number of remotely detonated bombs in western Iraq, the service's top general said Thursday.
Gen. Michael Hagee, the Marine Corps commandant, said a combination of improvements in jamming technology and greater cooperation from religious leaders in the area has led to "the number of incidents dropping dramatically" since U.S. forces took the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah last fall. Hagee said he could not provide precise numbers for the falloff.
The military has generally been reluctant to disclose methods for countering the bombs, known as improvised explosive devices (IEDs). But a Pentagon task force on IEDs collects data on attacks every day to help U.S. troops develop anti-bomb tactics. IEDs are frequently detonated by cellphones and inexpensive consumer electronic gadgets such as garage door openers.
The military is engaged in a high-tech chess match with Iraqi insurgents and has developed portable jamming devices that will block the radio frequencies used to explode the bombs, said Ivan Oelrich, director of the Strategic Security Project for the Federation of American Scientists.
Hagee described Iraqi insurgents as clever fighters who change their battlefield tactics every seven to 10 days, making it difficult to stay ahead of them.
The Pentagon cites other factors in the declining casualty rates from IEDs, including a computer program that tracks previous IED locations to help commanders know where to deploy the bomb jammers, increased aerial surveillance and the use of robots to dispose of unexploded bombs.
As of Thursday, 1,476 U.S. military personnel have been killed since the war began. Forty-two were killed in February. With four days to go in the month, February has so far seen the lowest monthly U.S. death total since last June.
\"The advance of hope in the Middle East requires new thinking in the region. By now it should be clear that authoritarian rule is not the way of the future it is the last gasp of a discredited past. Democracy is their goal and terrorists themselves have reason to fear.\" ~President George W. Bush
Do not attack the First Marine Division. Leave the yellowlegs alone. Strike the American Army.
~Orders given to Communist troops in the Korean War; shortly afterward, the Marines were ordered to not wear their khaki leggings.
|February 26th, 2005||#3|
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