Turning Point

Iraqi Civilian Deaths Halved

Slightly good news out of Iraq for 2009: The number of civilian deaths last year fell by nearly half compared with 2008, to roughly 4,500, according to a report by Iraq Body Count. It's the lowest death toll since the 2003 invasion, but the bad news is that improvements in security have slowed. December was also the first month that didn't see any combat-related deaths, and the Associated Press counts 149 troop deaths in Iraq for 2009. The height of violence in Iraq occurred between late 2006 and early 2007, when there were about 1,700 attacks a week. By summer 2009, that number had dropped to 200 a week. Despite the decreased death count, the report also noted a rise in large-scale bombings.