August marked the first month of no reported deaths for the first time since 2003. This is great news for the US military as well as the Iraqi security forces that seems to be maturing and taking on greater operational rolls. That, of course, does not take the US off the hook. The Iraqi democracy is still an infant and the country and its populace are still recovering from war, sectarian violence, and the legacy of Saddam Hussein. The new struggles are to make sure the government functions properly, unite the shattered regions, and withstand religious and political influence from Iran.
For the first time since the American invasion of Iraq, an entire month has passed without a single United States service member dying.
The milestone is particularly remarkable because it comes after 14 troops were killed in July, making it the most deadly month for the Americans in three years, and it has occurred amid a frightening campaign of suicide bombings and assassinations from Sunni insurgents that killed hundreds of Iraqis, resurrecting the specter of the worst days of sectarian fighting. (New York Times)
On another note, while military deaths were at zero, the same cannot be said for Iraqi civilians. Two substantial attacks took place in middle and late August. Both attacks claimed around 100 Iraqi civilians and security forces. While these events are certainly not pleasant, the country has substantially improved since the dark days of 2004 through 2007. Maybe even enough to where political gains can be made and the need for a assertive US presence would be minimal.