The American death toll for October climbed past 100, a grim milestone as a White House envoy turned up unexpectedly in Baghdad on Monday following a rough patch in U.S.-Iraqi ties. At least 81 people were killed across Iraq, including 33 in a bombing targeting workers.
A member of the 89th Military Police Brigade was killed in east Baghdad on Monday, and a Marine died in fighting in insurgent-plagued Anbar province the day before, raising to 101 the number of U.S. service members killed in a bloody October, the fourth-deadliest month of the war. At least 2,814 American forces have died since the war began in March 2003.
More American soldiers die in the Anbar province every month than anywhere else in the country. But this month, the streets of Baghdad have been even bloodier than in Anbar, CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan reports.
The 101st soldier killed in October was shot by an enemy sniper in the Iraqi capital on Monday. While roadside bombs are still the single biggest killer, reports Logan, there's been a sharp increase in sniper attacks.
According to an Associated Press count, October has also seen more Iraqi civilian deaths 1,170 as of Monday than any other month since the AP began keeping track in May 2005. The next-highest month was March 2006, when 1,038 Iraqi civilians were killed in the aftermath of the Feb. 22 bombing of an important Shiite shrine in Samarra.
The war and the rising American casualties have produced a huge drag on Republican candidates as the U.S. midterm election approaches. The vote is seen in many cases as a referendum on the war, which has stretched into its 44th month. The Bush administration has invested heavy attention on Iraq in recent weeks, trying to put a new face on the conflict with mixed results.
Logan reports that one of the factors making life infinitely more difficult for U.S. troops in Iraq is the increasing level of attacks from Shiite militia groups.
Shiite militias — in particular the Mahdi army, headed by the radical Baghdad-based cleric Muqtada al-Sadr — are taking more and more American and Iraqi lives, as a vicious cycle of attacks and revenge spirals out of control in the country.
In other developments: The families of seven soldiers who died in Iraq or Afghanistan were given incorrect or misleading information about the deaths, the Army has concluded after a review of war casualty reports. The review, which began last summer, covered hundreds of casualty reports and marked the first step in a new process ordered by Army Secretary Francis Harvey to ensure that families receive accurate information.A Marine charged with kidnapping and murdering an Iraqi man in Hamdania has agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges, his attorney said Monday. Thomas Watt, attorney for Lance Cpl. Tyler A. Jackson, declined to discuss details of the agreement, but confirmed that a deal has been reached and that his client is due in court next week to plead guilty to some charges. Jackson, 23, is the third soldier to have made a plea deal in the case.Thousands of weapons the United States has provided Iraqi security forces cannot be accounted for and spare parts and repair manuals are unavailable for many others, a new report to Congress says. The report, prepared at the request of the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Virginia Republican John Warner, also found that major challenges remain that put at risk the Defense Department's goal of strengthening Iraqi security forces by transferring all logistics operations to the Defense Ministry by the end of 2007.Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday the increase of violence in Iraq is linked with efforts to influence the outcome of next week's elections in which Republicans are struggling to keep control of Congress. "It's my belief that they're very sensitive of the fact that we've got an election scheduled and they can get on the websites like anybody else," Cheney said.A U.S. Army translator missing after being kidnapped in Iraq had broken military rules to marry an Iraqi woman and was visiting her when he was abducted, according to people who claim to be relatives of the wife. According to a report in Monday editions of The New York Times, the relatives said that the soldier, previously unidentified by the U.S. government, is Ahmed Qusai al-Taei, a 41-year-old Iraqi-American. The family did not know he was a soldier until after the kidnapping, the relatives said.Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer walked out of court Monday after most of his requests were rejected, but the chief judge immediately appointed other attorneys to defend the deposed president. The walkout came shortly after chief defense lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi ended a monthlong boycott of the trial in which Saddam and six other defendants are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity for a 1987-88 offensive against Iraq's Kurdish population.
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