(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)
U.S. military deaths in Iraq reach 2,500
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer 35 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that 2,500 U.S. troops have died in the Iraq war since it began more than three years ago, marking a grim milestone even as President Bush hopes a recent spate of good news will reverse the war's widespread unpopularity at home.
The latest death was announced as Congress was launching into a symbolic election-year debate over the war, with Republicans rallying against calls by some Democrats to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
While there were no details on who it was or where the 2,500th death occurred, it underscored the continuing violence in Iraq just after an upbeat Bush returned from a surprise visit to Baghdad determined that the tide was beginning to turn.
Some members of Congress have been calling for a timetable for the eventual withdrawal of troops from Iraq, of which there are about 127,000. Sen.
John Kerry, D-Mass., planned to introduce an amendment to the Senate's annual military measure to redeploy U.S. combat forces from Iraq by year's end, though Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., a potential 2008 presidential candidate, and other Democrats have opposed setting a rigid deadline.
According to the Pentagon totals, there have been 1,972 service members killed in action in Iraq, and another 528 died from other non-hostile causes. There also have been 18,490 troops wounded in action, including 8,501 who did not return to duty.
Bush has dismissed calls for a U.S. withdrawal as election-year politics and has consistently refused to give a timetable or benchmark for success that would allow troops to come home.
posted by Steve @ 11:58:00 PM