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Old January 1st, 2007, 03:00 PM  
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Default U.S. Death Toll in Iraq Reaches 3,000

WASHINGTON Jan 1, 2007 (AP)— The day after Saddam Hussein's execution, the death toll for Americans killed in the Iraq war reached 3,000 as President Bush struggles to salvage a military campaign that has scant public support.
The death of a Texas soldier, announced Sunday by the Pentagon, comes as the administration seeks to overhaul its strategy for a conflict that shows little sign of abating. The tally of 3,000 members of the U.S. military killed was a figure compiled by The Associated Press since the war's beginning in March 2003.
In large part because of discontent with the course of the war, voters gave Democrats control of the new Congress that convenes this week. Democrats have pledged to focus on the war and Bush's conduct of it.
Three thousand deaths are tiny compared with casualties in other protracted wars America has fought in the last century. There were 58,000 Americans killed in the Vietnam War, 36,000 in the Korean conflict, 405,000 in World War II and 116,000 in World War I, according to Defense Department figures.
Even so, the steadily mounting toll underscores the relentless violence the massive U.S. investment in lives and money surpassing $350 billion has yet to tame.
A Pentagon report on Iraq said in December the conflict now is more a struggle between Sunni and Shiite armed groups "fighting for religious, political and economic influence," with the insurgency and foreign terrorist campaigns "a backdrop."
From mid-August to mid-November, the weekly average number of attacks in the country increased 22 percent from the previous three months. The worst violence was in Baghdad and in the western province of Anbar, long the focus of activity by Sunni insurgents.
Though U.S.-led coalition forces remained the target of the majority of attacks, the overwhelming majority of casualties were suffered by Iraqis, the report said.
The American death toll was at 1,000 in September of 2004 and 2,000 by October 2005.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., called the figure a "tragic milestone" and said the government owes its troops "a new policy that is worthy of their heroism and brings them safely home."

Asked about the 3,000 figure, deputy White House press secretary Scott Stanzel said that the president "will ensure their sacrifice was not made in vain."
"We will be fighting violent jihadists for peace and security of the civilized world for years to come. The brave men and women of the U.S. military are fighting extremists in order to stop them from attacking on our soil again," Stanzel said.
President Bush said the nation is mindful of the troops' dedication and sacrifice.
"In the New Year, we will remain on the offensive against the enemies of freedom, advance the security of our country, and work toward a free and unified Iraq," Bush said in a statement released from his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
Having launched the war against the advice of a number of nations, the Bush administration never got a huge international contribution of troops, meaning foreign forces involved in the fighting are overwhelmingly American.
The death toll shows it. As of late December, the British military has reported 127 deaths in the war so far; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 18; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; and Denmark, six. Several other countries have had five or less.
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