American death toll in Iraq tops 3500

The four-year U.S. military death toll in Iraq passed 3,500 after a soldier was reported killed in a roadside bombing in Baghdad. A British soldier was also shot to death Thursday in southern Iraq, as Western forces find themselves increasingly vulnerable under a new strategy to take the fight to the enemy.

The British ambassador to Iraq, meanwhile, signaled his government was ready to talk to those behind the abduction of five Britons in Baghdad last month. Iraqi officials have said they believe the Britons were taken by the Mahdi Army militia, which is largely loyal to the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

In a rare televised interview, al-Sadr blamed the United States for Iraq's woes, often referring to it as "the occupier" and accusing it of being behind the sectarian violence, the growing schism between Iraq's majority Shiites and once-dominant Sunni Arabs and economic hardships.

"We are now facing a brutal Western assault against Islam," he said, draped in his traditional black robe and turban. "This agenda must be countered with a cultural resistance," he said.

The mounting U.S. casualties, most by makeshift bombs placed in potholes on roads or in fields where troops conduct foot patrols, come as American troops work with Iraqi forces on the streets and in remote outposts as part of a joint crackdown on sectarian violence.

A U.S. soldier was killed and two others were wounded Wednesday when a roadside bomb exploded during combat operations in a southwestern section of Baghdad, the military said Thursday. At least 3,501 U.S. service-members have been killed since the beginning of the war, according to an Associated Press count.

They include at least 23 American deaths during the first six days of June — an average of almost four per day, a similar pace to that in May. American troops deaths reached 127 in May, making it the third-deadliest month since the war started in March 2003. The average is nearly double the roughly two a day killed in June 2006.

A British soldier also was shot to death and three others were wounded Thursday while on patrol in southern Iraq, according to Britain's Ministry of Defense, pushing to at least 150 the number of deaths reported by the British military.

Separately, the British ambassador to Iraq, Dominic Asquith, appealed to the kidnappers of five Britons to release them or open negotiations.

The five — four security guards and a consultant — were abducted from the Iraqi Finance Ministry on May 29 by some 40 heavily armed men who then rode off with them in the direction of the sprawling Shiite district of Sadr City.

Iraqi officials say the Mahdi Army may have grabbed the men in retaliation for the killing by British forces of the militia's commander in the southern city of Basra.

"I ask those holding them to release them so they may return to their families," Asquith said. Then, in a clear offer to consider demands, he added, "We have people here in Iraq who are ready to listen to any person about this incident, or any person who may be holding these men and who may wish to communicate."

The Mahdi Army, which fought U.S. forces in 2004, has been blamed for many of the sectarian attacks in Iraq. The U.S. accuses Iran of fueling the violence by providing weapons and training fighters.

On Thursday, al-Sadr said he maintains "friendship and good relations" with Iran but rejects any interference by Tehran in Iraq's affairs.

"I must maintain friendship and good relations with Iran but nothing else," he said.

The anti-American cleric dodged a question about his disappearance from public view during which he was believed to have been in Iran.

The interview on Iraqi state television was believed to be al-Sadr's first since he re-emerged in public nearly two weeks ago. The program, which aired Thursday, was taped Sunday at his office in the holy city of Najaf, according to his aides. Al-Sadr had dropped out of sight at the start of a U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown in February.

Despite the crackdown, bombings, shootings, mortar attacks and execution-style killings left at least 63 Iraqis dead nationwide Thursday. They included 32 unidentified men who were handcuffed, blindfolded and shot to death in Baghdad — the apparent victims of so-called sectarian death squads usually run by Shiite militias like the Mahdi Army.

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, stressed it was too early to see results because the buildup of some 30,000 extra U.S. forces for the operation would not be complete for nearly two more weeks.

"We achieved some early success through the first several months of the effort. The sectarian murder and execution rate was cut by over two-thirds, and then we saw it come back a bit during the month of May," he told CNN.

"We do have some aggressive plans to … go after al-Qaida and some of the sanctuaries they've been able to build and dispatch car bombs from for some time. That won't be without a fight, but it is something that we must do in the areas around Baghdad to provide better security for the people in Baghdad," he said.

The day's deadliest attack was a simultaneous suicide bombing of a bus and a truck in the town of Rabia, near the Syrian border.

The truck exploded at a police station, killing at least five policemen and five civilians and wounding 22 other people, including 14 policemen, according to army Capt. Mohammed Ahmed.

A guard shot the driver as he approached the building, but the truck still penetrated its blast walls and exploded, destroying the one-story structure, said Ahmed, an officer with the army's Third Division, which oversees the area.

Another bomber driving a minibus struck a building about 500 yards away at the same time, according to police officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared retribution. They said five Britons working in the building were wounded. British officials could not immediately be reached to confirm that report.

In Baghdad, a bomb beneath a parked car exploded at lunchtime outside a falafel restaurant, killing at least seven people and wounding 14, police reported. The teeming slum, which is a Mahdi Army stronghold, has repeatedly been targeted by Sunni extremists seeking to terrorize the Shiite majority and inflame hostilities between the Muslim sects.

Iraqi journalist Sahar al-Haidari, 45, was shot to death while she was waiting for a taxi Thursday in a predominantly Sunni area in the northern city of Mosul. Al-Haidari covered political and cultural news for the independent Voices of Iraq news agency and was the second employee of the organization to be killed in little more than a week.


Associated Press writer Sameer N. Yacoub in Baghdad contributed to this report.


  1. Ken Hill

    This will allow us access to plentiful oil so we won’t have to require higher fuel standards from Detroit. We can buy/drive our Hummers, pickups, SUV’s etc. without giving a rats ass what mileage they get. We should give thanks to these fine soldiers who have given their lives to defend our God given right to drive whatever we damn well please.

    Detroit thanks them, as do our road warriors. Hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet…for ever and ever


  2. gene

    Dam Carl you are truely knowledgable. Thankyou for you very indepth, incrediably informative, intellectually contrived rants. You are one Smart dude!!

  3. Carl Nemo

    You turn on the boob tube and all you hear from talking heads is Paris Hilton, Paris Hilton ad nauseam ad infinitum!

    The American people for the most part have turned into a scurrilous pack of vapid dogs as far as I’m concerned. 3500 have given their lives in Iraq for nothing. The bulk of the fatalities center around securing one lousy city in Iraq; ie., Bagdhad?! We can’t even say we’ve secured the country itself. 500,000 million bucks and we can’t even secure a single city!? The war has been fought longer than WWII with far more money spent even when adjusted for inflation and we can’t secure a single city…?! This is Bush’s Stalingrad with amazing similarities between Hitler and Bush in terms of how they treat their general staff.

    West Point and our other service academies provide some of the finest educations in the world, obviously with a focus on both the history of warfare and the waging of war. If you look at the history of modern warfare though you quickly realize the Prussians virtually wrote the book/s, such as Vom Kriege (On War) by Carl von Clausewitz. This is the seminal work on the waging of war including theories on the waging of asymmetric (guerilla) warfare. West Point in terms of discpline an organization has it’s roots going back to the Prussian military academies of Europe. Hitler’s General Staff were some of the finest, most highly educated and experienced generals in the history of modern warfare up to that point in time, many if not most graduates of the aforementioned Prussian military academies. Many had commanded Germans forces in WWI. As WWII demonstrated they were a worthy adversary. If they hadn’t run out of materiel to wage war and with the absence of Hitler’s micro-management things might not have ended up the same.

    The problem though was that Hitler was a micro-manager trying to play tactician in the presence of his highly educated general staff. More often than not he bullied them, fired them or in a few cases even worse. So to we have inexperienced civilians micro-managing warfare; i.e., Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, assisted by a bunch of pseudo-intellectuals that have no experience in warfare. Nam was the same with Johnson, McNamara, the wizkid from Detroit running that failed debacle like he was producing auto’s; i.e., wiz-gadgets for the Ford Motor Co. et. al. The point being these pols with an agenda continuously meddle with the process of warfare. Other than a wastage of money, we see both in Iraq and Nam where this pol meddling has gotten this nation?!

    They also don’t get the best generals for the job in most cases. They are looking for sympatico toadies who are on the make for another star, or a cush job in the M.I. Complex post retirement and that will play by the rules of their MIC sponsored polticial “agenda” rather than executing warfare with all due diligence. Bushco now wants a “War Czar”, next we’ll have “Field Marshals” etc.?!

    So folks this Iraqi debacle is simply a shakedown of the American taxpayer. They have indebted “we the people” until the 12th of never. Within the past several weeks Congress raised the national debt limit to 9.765 trillion bucks up from 8.7. We were dead broke as a nation at 2 trillion much less 9.7. Our annual budget is up to 3 trillion. Most if not all of this money is borrowed “debt-money”. Tax revenues are not covering this monstrous wastage of our national financial resources, but todays featured news and headlines is all about “Paris Hilton”…?! I think we are witnessing the “twilights last gleaming” as a nation. America is in harms way with these mattoids at the helm along with our nation’s obsession with trivial, star-media events etc.

    I’ll also post the duty links so citizen/patriots can contact their elected reps. As they say “just do it”…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  4. Carl Nemo

    Thanks Ken Hill for your spot-on reply…! I always laugh when I get behind the largest gas guzzling vehicles; most are loaded with “Yellow Ribbon” support our troops decals; they also host the most Bush/Cheney 04 stickers. When they get out of their gas hogs they generally are slovenly fat people, with flabby upper arms the size of 20 pound market hams…! :))

    I thought our readers would enjoy this link. It will show history’s best warriors in the process of stealing national oil reserves; ie., Hitler’s “Oil Commandos”. So we too have to think of our soldiers as brave “oil commandos”…no?!

    Carl Nemo **==

  5. gene

    Above in the article it states “General David Patreaus, the top US commander in Iraq, stressed it was to early to see results because
    the buildup of some 30,000 extra US forces for the operation would not be completed for two more weeks.”

    NOW…. let me ask you, just how f**king stupid can a general be? Let me help you out here Mr. David general sir….it ain’t going to do NOTHING other than get more young GIs KILLED. We still will eventually crawl our sorry american asses out of Iraq, sooner than later I pray.

    It must be a requirement that you be “dumb as owl shit” to get promoted too general these days. It certainly is to become president and of course the vice-president must be “dumb as owl shit” times two.

    God… no wonder this nation is trashed!!!!!!!!

  6. LurkingFromTheLeft

    …don’t insult owls like that –

    …how about as ‘dumb as Dumbass shit’ ? –


  7. kent shaw

    I’m a certified dumbass. Just read some of the posts I leave strewn around CHB for proof of that. And I resent being compared to George Bush.

  8. gene

    SORRY!!!! didn’t know their were any (owl) lovers here at CHBs. Besides “dumb and dumbass shit” is much more appropriate.

  9. Carl Nemo

    Thanks Gene for the compliment. I try to do my best at presenting my commentary in a lucid and informative fashion. Everyone has something to say though and it’s the distillate of our collective thoughts that creates consensus. One thing we can determine from CHB commentary is that we aren’t on Bushco’s “team”… :))

    Since the lead article discusses how 3500 of our servicepeople have lost their lives in Iraq; I thought I’d supply some sobering links. These links supply information concerning all the wars the U.S. has fought throughout it’s history as a nation. Not all wars are created equally though. Some had merit because the aggressors represented a threat to this nation on it’s own soil from external sovereign nations as opposed to faceless terrorists, who are basically international criminals. The U.S. has also been engaged in other wars that were strictly adventuristic as in Iraq. I’ll leave that up to the reader to decide.

    I also supplied a link to an inflation calculator.
    A 2006 U.S. dollar is about one twelth the value of a 1943 dollar; i.e, you need almost $12 or more today to equal the 1943 dollar. The calculator last functioning year is for 2006.

    With our Congress continually raising the debt ceiling, now to 9.7 trillion and with the 30 year U.S. Treasury long bond beginning to tank as of this week, it means that interest rates are headed upward. This is a good thing for those folks that are sitting on cash and bad for the domestic stock market. The reason being is that offshore investors are beginning to repatriate their money and are shying away from the U.S. dollar which is in free fall too against both major an minor currencies. If you you invest in fixed income investment such as bonds you want to have the bond value denominated in a currency that’s appreciating rather than tanking. So they are headed for Euro based bonds. This Iraqi debacle has sorely weakened this nation and just might be the catalyst that kicks the stilts from under our rotten house of cards.