Sunday, June 03, 2007
"It is very clear that the number of attacks against U.S. forces is up" and that they have grown more effective in Baghdad, especially in recent weeks, said Maj. Gen. James E. Simmons, deputy commander for operations in Iraq. At the same time, he said, attacks on Iraqi security forces have declined slightly, citing figures that compare the period of mid-February to mid-May to the preceding three months. "The attacks are being directed at us and not against other people," he said.
May, with 127 American fatalities, was the third-deadliest month for U.S. troops since the 2003 invasion. As in the conflict's two deadliest months for U.S. troops -- 137 died in November 2004 and 135 in April of that year -- the overarching cause of May's toll is the ongoing, large-scale U.S. military operations.
The death rates are up not only because the number of attacks against troops has risen, but also because of more sophisticated weapons (improved IEDs, largely) and organisation. Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez, who led US troops into Iraq, now says the US can forget about winning.