I haven't seen any coverage of this yet, but pending any late news it appears that fewer American troops died in Iraq in ... [October] -- two -- then in any previous month since the war began. There was a lot of skeptical commentary about the end of combat operations a couple months ago, and casualties spiked up a bit in September, but the trend line is clearly down (sixteen American deaths over the last four months, also a new low, compared with 29 the previous four months or 34 for July - October 2009). It's a big deal, and I think underreported, that Barack Obama has stayed on course with withdrawal regardless of what's happening at any particular moment.
Civilian casualties, however, are on the rise again. But Obama is going to get out; and my firm suspicion is that he will be as determined in removing troops from Afghanistan in the last year of his first term.
(Image: Blood-stained glasses are seen at the priest's room in the Sayidat al-Nejat Catholic Cathedral, or Syrian Catholic Church, in central Baghdad on November 3, 2010 after US and Iraqi forces stormed on October 31 the cathedral to free dozens of hostages in an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda gunmen and in which 46 worshippers were killed. By Ahmad al-Rubaye /AFP/Getty Images)