Vito calls our attention to this article in USAToday which really is heartening news:
WASHINGTON - Roadside bomb attacks and fatalities in Iraq are down by almost 90% over the last year, according to Pentagon records and interviews with military leaders. In May, 11 U.S. troops were killed by blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) compared with 92 in May 2007, records show. That's an 88% decrease.
Military leaders cite several factors for the drop in attacks and deaths. They include:
� New vehicles. Almost 7,000 heavily armored Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles have been rushed to Iraq in the last year. "They've taken hits, many, many hits that would have killed soldiers and marines in uparmored Humvees," Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a recent interview. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made obtaining at least 15,000 MRAPs his top priority last year.
� Iraqi assistance. Ad hoc local security forces, known as the Sons of Iraq, have provided on-the-ground intelligence to U.S. forces looking for IEDs, said Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, who commanded a division in Baghdad from February 2007 until May. Each member of the security forces earns about $8 per day. Lynch has hired about 36,000 of them to man checkpoints and provide intelligence on the insurgency. He said about 60% had been insurgents.
� Improved surveillance. Lynch said his troops used new security cameras that could see bomb builders up to 5 miles away. "If they're out there planting an IED, we can go whack them before they finish," he said.
Also, Lynch said, the 14-ton MRAPs have forced insurgents to build bigger bombs to knock out the vehicles. Those bombs take more time to build and hide, which gives U.S. forces a better chance of catching the insurgents in the act and then attacking them.
Perhaps the left and other anti-war folk will join with us in rejoicing that American casualties are diminishing. Let's hope it continues.RLC