September 7, 2003

THIS is interesting:

It’s now nightime in Iraq on Sunday, September 7. If no US soldier is killed in Iraq today, this will mark the longest stretch of Operation Iraqi Freedom without a US military death – five days – since the war began in March. Based on the chronolgical listing at Faces of Valor, previously the longest period without a US military death was April 18-21. (The death on April 17 occurred in Kuwait, but like other casualties in Kuwait, it is included in the numbers we hear for the Iraq war.) I’ll be interested to see whether the news outlets that have kept up the daily drumbeat of war deaths will take note of this milestone.

I haven’t followed these numbers myself, but I wonder if we’ll hear people point this out in the coverage of President Bush’s speech. I rather doubt that day-to-day or week-to-week casualty figures are much of a metric, but certainly war opponents have tried to make them that.

UPDATE: Michael Ubaldi emails “The press will wait until the pause, inevitably, is over, and frame it as a failure of – of something.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Thomas Nicholson emails:

Just heard a NPR new report about an attack in Baghdad that wounded a couple of U.S. soldiers. The report noted that there hadn’t been such a bold attack in Baghdad for a while, but then went out of its way to note that out in the countryside there were an average of 10 or 11 attacks on US troops a day, and then quoted some important-sounding officer as saying the average had gone up recently to 12 or 13.

No mention there hadn’t been any deaths for almost a week now, for the first time since the war began. Nor any word on exactly what these countryside “attacks” amount to. Accentuating the negative? A reporter? Nah!!

Say it ain’t so.

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