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Body Counts Are Back

Reported by Judy - August 9, 2004 -

Remember the Vietnam War body counts that showed up on national television during the 1960s and 1970s? American forces killed 23 Viet Cong during this battle or 19 during that battle and that was a sign we were "winning"?

Remember how Tommy Franks said the U.S. military wasn't going to get into body counts in Iraq?

That seems to have changed.

In recent days, body counts have been showing up in media reports about the fighting in Iraq. On Fox News Live today (August 9) body counts were prominent in reporting on the fighting in Najaf.

Kiran Chetry reported (9:03 a.m. EDT) that the U.S. Military says it had killed 360 Iraqi militants since the fighting began in Najaf five days ago. Following that was a report from Afghanistan about the killing of six Taliban fighters (9:05 a.m. EDT).

Body counts may be back in favor simply because there isn't much else to say about battles like the one in Najaf. It's not about territory gained or battalions captured. Counting the dead is one of the few ways to measure whatever passes for progress these days in Iraq.