The Number of US Military casualties by military branch from March 2005 - March 2007.
Gates Replaces General McKiernan in Afghanistan
Published Wednesday, May 13th, 2009
After 11 months in the theater, Army General David McKiernan has been replaced by the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. This move signifies the second time a civilian has fired a wartime commander since President Truman fired General Douglas MacArthur in 1951. This change comes as President Obama signaled a need to focus on Afghanistan as the central fight on the war on terror. Gates has called for “new thinking”, which McKiernan’s replacement, Army Lieut. General Stanley McChrystal, has employed in Iraq with great success. Gates idea of “new thinking” consists of the use of intelligence to create a greater impact in the theater. Contributing to the decision, recent news suggests that errant drones and bombing in Afghanistan have reportedly killed 70 to 100 civilians and the Afghan Parliament has called for laws to restrict foreign troops to curb civilian deaths.
McCrystal contributed to the current success of the Iraqi mission by creating a better relationship between the Joint Special Operations Command—of which he was Commander—and the overall command in Iraq. Iraqi death toll for military personnel during his tour dropped significantly from a sustained 822-904 death toll during 2004-2007 to 314 deaths in 2008. Military casualties in Afghanistan has experienced an increase from 57 coalition deaths reported in 2003 to 294 coalition deaths in 2008. The number of civilian deaths as a result of military actions cannot accurately be reported due to the difficulties in the field and ongoing investigations.
New Strategy Hopes to Turn Tide in Afghanistan
Published Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
The new Afghanistan war strategy that President Obama announced will send a surge of 4,000 troops, bringing U.S. troop levels to 60,000. Their focus will not be on battling Taliban insurgents face-to-face, but on improving security in villages by winning the trust of the local population. The idea is to make the Taliban irrelevant in the everyday lives of the villagers, who to this point have come to depend on or fear the insurgence. After seven years of war, the coalition has a steep road to climb. This strategy comes from the hard earned lesson learned in Iraq where the tide is turning in favor of the coalition and Iraqi government. Furthermore, the President’s plan calls for doubling the size of the Afghan security forces by 2011 and increasing diplomatic cooperation from regional countries.
Before the change in strategy, the number of casualties in Iraq hit a steady range of 822-904 deaths per year from 2004-2007. After, the improvement can be seen in the dramatic drop from 2007 to 2008 of 314 deaths. Also, of those wounded in this global war on terror, the numbers reflect the Iraqi change in stratagy as those wounded reduced from 6107 in 2007 to 2046 in 2008. The number of casualties in Afghanistan since 2004 has climbed steadily to 294 last year. Currently, as of March 2009, there have been 78 deaths in Afghanistan; that is nearly double what the count was last year at this time.
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