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US death toll since invasion reaches 4,000

Latest update : 2008-03-24

The death toll for US military personnel in Iraq hit 4,000 after the army announced on Monday the loss of four soldiers, according to independent website www.icasualties.org.

The death toll of US military in Iraq has hit 4,000 after the military announced on Monday the deaths of four soldiers, according to an AFP tally based on independent website www.icasualties.org.
  
The four soldiers were killed on Sunday in a road bomb attack during a patrol in southern Baghdad, the military said, taking the overall losses of the military in Iraq to 4,000.
  
Another soldier was wounded in the attack, the military said.
  
The chaotic and brutal conflict which is now in its sixth year has also left more than 29,000 American soldiers wounded, according to the website.
  
The bulk of the deaths, at least 97 percent, occurred after US President George W. Bush announced the end of "major combat" in Iraq on May 1, 2003, as the American military became caught between raging anti-American insurgency and brutal sectarian strife unleashed since the toppling of Saddam.
  
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."
  
According to icasualties.org, 81.3 percent of the soldiers killed have died in attacks by Al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters, Sunni insurgent groups loyal to Saddam and radical Shiite militias.
  
The remainder died in non-combat related incidents.
  
Roadside bombs caused most of the casualties, with small arms fire the second biggest killer.
  
Around 40 percent of those killed were struck by roadside bombs, according to the website, making these weapons the main cause of fatalities.
  
Others died variously in car bombings, small arms fire, helicopter crashes, ambushes, rocket attacks and suicide bombings.
  
American soldiers interviewed by AFP in Iraq were sad over the losses but insisted the conflict was justified.
  
"It's sad that the number is that high. It makes you wonder if there is a different way of approaching things. Nobody likes to hear that number," said senior Airman Preston Reeves, 26, from Birmingham, Alabama.
  
"Everyone of those people signed up voluntarily and its a shame that that happens, but tragedies do happen in war."
  
Reeves said it was depressing that the support back home was receding.
  
"It's a shame you don't get support from your own country, when all they want you to do is leave Iraq and all these people will have died in vain," he told AFP.
  
The US military death toll is one of the key elements of the US 2008 presidential elections with Democrat candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who are calling for the withdrawal of troops.
  
Staff Sergeant Jonathan Criss, 37, from Maryland echoed Reeves' views.
  
"In any war you'll lose lives. It's justified being here. If you compare this war with other wars, while the number is significant it's less," he said.
  
"Just because the conflict took a turn we can't just walk away and leave the Iraqi people. If you interviewed the 30,000 (wounded) they would have no ill will. They wanted to serve. Whether it's giving your life and limb, it's the ultimate sacrifice."
  
The deadliest war for the US military, aside from the two world wars, has been Vietnam, with 58,000 soldiers killed between 1964 and 1973, an average of 26 a day. On average, just over two US soldiers die every day in Iraq.
  
The icasualties.org statistics reveal that the deadliest year for the military in Iraq was 2007 when it lost 901 troops on the back of a controversial "surge", which saw an extra 30,000 soldiers deployed in a bid to break the stranglehold of violence that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis.
  
This figure compares with 486 deaths in 2003, the first year of the conflict, 849 in 2004, 846 in 2005 and 822 in 2006.
  
Since the start of 2008, 96 soldiers have died.
  

Date created : 2008-03-24

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