Moving Targets in Iraq

Last week we were told by the AP that 70% of bombs that exploded in Iraq were targeting US troops in Iraq:

About 70 percent of the 1,666 bombs that did explode targeted U.S.-led forces.

But today, less than a week later, we find out from the AP that not only are reserve and guard deaths declining in Iraq but insurgents are now targeting Iraqis:

The death toll among National Guard and Reserve troops in Iraq has plunged this year as citizen soldiers play a smaller combat role against an insurgency that increasingly targets Iraqis.

Thus far in August, five members of the Guard and Reserve have died in Iraq, compared with 44 at this point in August 2005, the deadliest month of the war for the Guard and Reserve.

The number of Guard and Reserve deaths for the year totals 54 — less than one-third of the 189 recorded at this point last year. In the comparable period in 2004, the death toll was 92, according to Defense Department casualty records.

That was quite a switch in direction for the insurgents this past week, Huh?

And, more good news from Iraq:

Violence down 40 percent in Baghdad: US commander

Violence in Baghdad has dropped by 40 percent since US and Iraqi troops entered select neighborhoods to clear out cells of Shiite and Sunni extremists, a US brigade commander said.

Colonel Robert Scurlock said 29 murders had been committed in the Amiriya area of western Baghdad the month leading up to the operation, making it one of the city’s most violent.

But since his troops went in on August 13, only three murders have been reported, he said.

“In the month of July in Baghdad, there were 52 violent actions a day,” he said. “And the two weeks since we began the operations, the attacks have dropped down 41 percent.”

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