Attrition: Bloody October

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November 3, 2006: U.S. troops in Iraq suffered 949 combat casualties in October, including 109 dead (and 422 wounded who returned to duty.) This was about twice the number of casualties in previous months. About half the casualties come from IEDs (roadside bombs), which have been the most effective enemy weapon. But not as effective as it used to be. The use of IEDs has grown four-fold in the last two years, but American casualties from them have stayed the same. Higher American casualties in October result from increased use of U.S. troops in combat operations. The Sunni Arab terrorists are trying to kill more Iraqis and Americans, in an attempt to influence the upcoming American elections. Islamic terrorists in general have made no secret of their desire to see the Democratic Party increase its power in the United States, as the terrorists believe the Democrats would, as many Democrats have been saying, back off on fighting Islamic terrorists in Iraq, and elsewhere, and, in general, be less lethal to Islamic terrorists. The increase in terrorist activity led tothe greater use of American troops in Iraq to try and stop the Sunni Arab terror attacks on Shia Arabs, and Shia revenge (for Saddam's decades of atrocities) attacks on Sunni Arabs. Many Iraqi security units (army and police) are either partisan to one side or another (usually pro-Shia death squad), or not very useful in combat. The general problem here is a lack of adequate officers and NCOs. For decades, those jobs were monopolized by Sunni Arabs, who cannot, in most cases, be used in the police or army because of loyalty issues. The newly minted Kurdish and Shia officers and NCOs are still learning. So in October, U.S. troops were called in to do the fighting more often, and took more casualties as a result.

 


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