With less than 10 hours remaining until the end of June in Iraq at the time of this post, it is clear, barring heavy last-minute casuaties, that May and June will show the lowest two-month total for US troop deaths in the five-year history of our involvement there.
How with the media handle the news?
Here is the detail (source: icasualties.org):
As you can see, May-June two-month total of 48 troop deaths from all causes is quite a bit lower than any other two-month period in the entire war. The next-lowest is 60, in November and December of 2007.
The two-month death toll of 38 from hostile causes is the lowest since August and September of 2003.
The icasualties.org home page also shows that June's death toll of 422 Iraqi Security Forces and Civilians is the lowest since the web sit began tracking such information in January 2006.
The results would seem to support that notion that last year's troop "surge" has been successful in reducing violence beyond the period of the higher troop presence.
So how will the media handle the unprecedented improvement? Some possibilities:
- Point out that June's total of US troop deaths is 50% higher than May's.
- Adopt the approach of the Associated Press, which has telegraphed that it will lighten up on reporting from Iraq because people are "war-weary."
- Note that the improvements should create expectations for bringing troops home sooner rather than later.
Readers are welcome to provide other possible, and perhaps more creative, media-spin predictions.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.