2,000 US casualties in Iraq

According to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website (icasualties.org), most of the deaths resulted from the insurgency after Saddam Hussein was toppled.

The death toll rose when the Pentagon announced the latest casualty: a US soldier injured in Iraq who had died from his wounds in Texas.

The official Pentagon count though, last updated on Tuesday remained at 1,993 military personnel killed and more than 15,000 injured since the start of the war.

But the number of US dead is dwarfed by the unofficial Iraqi civilian toll which is estimated to be around 30,000.

Bush stands firm

US President George W Bush warned that the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq “will require more sacrifice”.

The death toll’s milestone notwithstanding, President Bush ruled out withdrawing troops.

“The best way to honour the sacrifice of our fallen troops is to complete the mission,” said an emotional President Bush at a luncheon of military wives at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington.

He said pulling out would give Islamic extremists like Osama bin Laden a base for strikes at Europe, the United States and Israel.

Civil disobedience campaign

Anti-war activist and mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq, Cindy Sheehan, called for civil disobedience to demand the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

She says non-violent civil disobedience all over the country is needed to demand Washington to withdraw the 140,000 US troops deployed in Iraq.

Mrs Sheehan said she plans to lie down on the street in front of the White House grounds on Wednesday, knowing it’s likely she’ll be arrested again.

Political pressure

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy accused President Bush of ignoring the lessons of the Vietnam War and invading Iraq without evidence to support the use of force.

In a Senate speech he voiced impatience with the Presidents stay-the-course message.

“My question to them is: when and how then do we extract ourselves from this mess?” he said.

The 2,000th death

Sergeant George Alexander Jr, 34, of Killeen, Texas died at Brooke Army Medical Centre in Texas on Saturday, according to a Pentagon statement.

He died of injuries sustained on October 17 in Samarra, Iraq, when a bomb planted by insurgents detonated near his Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

A US military spokesman in Baghdad said the 2,000th death was “not a milestone”.

Army Lieutenant Colonel Steven Boylan warned against creating news where none exists.

“It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives,” Lt Boylan said.

“The true milestones of this war are rarely covered or discussed,” he said pointing to US volunteers serving in the war and ordinary Iraqis defying insurgents to vote for a better future.

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