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Monday, March 24, 2008

97% of US death toll came after 'Mission Accomplished'

Death Toll now at 4,000.

A roadside bomb which killed four American soldiers yesterday has brought the official death toll in Iraq to 4,000. The four soldiers died when their vehicle was hit while on patrol late Sunday in southern Baghdad. Another 29,000 American soldiers have been wounded thus far in the conflict.

At least 97 percent of the deaths occurred after US President George W. Bush announced the end of "major combat" in Iraq on May 1, 2003, as the military became caught between a raging anti-American insurgency and brutal sectarian strife unleashed since the toppling of Saddam.

140 American servicemembers died before May 1, 2003, out of a total 4,000.

Despite the losses, Bush on the eve of the war's fifth anniversary defended his decision to invade Iraq, vowing no retreat as he promised American soldiers would triumph despite the "high cost in lives and treasure."

2007 was the deadliest year for the military in Iraq when it lost 901 troops on the back of the "surge", which saw an extra 30,000 soldiers pushed into the meat grinder in an effort to turn the tide of violence that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis. This figure compares with 486 deaths in 2003, 849 in 2004, 846 in 2005 and 822 in 2006. So far this year, 96 soldiers have died.

But the hallmark of this war has been the high wounded-to-killed ratio,partly because of advances in battlefield medicine,enhanced protective gear worn by soldiers and reinforced armored vehicles. There have been about 15 soldiers wounded for every fatality in Iraq, compared with 2.6 per death in Vietnam and 2.8 in Korea.

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