According to icasualties.org, the US has lost 12 troops in Iraq so far this month.
Five of those 12 are listed as “non-hostile,” one of which was the result of an accident which occurred in 2005 aboard the USS Roosevelt.
Two of the remaining 11 are Sgt. Alex R. Jimenez and Pfc. Byron J. Fouty, the two soldiers listed as “missing-captured” since May of last year.
This means that in 23 days the US has lost 9 troops this month, three of them to non-hostile causes.
By comparison, it looks like we’ve lost 19 so far this month in Afghanistan. No doubt the media will only use the Iraq numbers to paint Afghanistan as bleak, just as they did last month.
For what it’s worth, I’m in favor of “surging” some additional troops into Afghanistan, but for it to be a meaningful move the “surge” would have to be accompanied by the two other often-unconsidered aspects of the “surge” in Iraq last year: revised, more aggressive tactics and much larger political and practical effort by the host government. Additionally, as long as the Pakistan border is open and off-limits, “surging” more troops won’t have nearly so much effect because it will be tough to take the fight to the enemy.
UPDATE: Ann Malowe, writing in the WSJ, disagrees: Afghanistan Doesn’t Need a ‘Surge’.