Updated: 5/16/2006; 2:10:03 PM.

Current events
Post-9-11 events and analyses


daily link  Sunday, February 01, 2004


The GI's weapon of choice in Iraq: dollars: " In November, the deadliest month for US soldiers in the occupation of Iraq, angry and sometimes desperate calls began streaming back to the US from commanders, complaining that the government wasn't giving them what they needed to battle an intensifying insurgency. But the front-line soldiers weren't calling out for more ammunition .. what they wanted was a little money, enough to restart the Commander's Emergency Response Program, or CERP, a decentralized aid program started shortly after the US occupation began.

The grants, ranging from as little as $1,000 up to $30,000, were designed to get money flowing back into the economy fast. Potholes were filled, schools refurbished, and irrigation canals - choked off by weeds and silt for decades - restored in 12,000 projects across the country. ..

Between May and the end of October, about $80 million was spent. But then the money ran out in the middle of October, and the casualties began to mount. There were both funding problems, and also concerns within the centralized Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Baghdad that it didn't have enough oversight of the program.

In November, when little CERP money was available, the coalition casualty count soared to 81 dead from 42 in October and 31 September. In December, after the funding tap was turned back on by congress, which allocated up to $180 million for the program in its 2004 supplemental spending bill, about 40 US soldiers were killed.

"You talk about good will - we could go into a village and fix a well that hadn't worked in 15 years and all of the sudden you've got old women with tears in their eyes and people chanting "President Bush,'' looking like the most staged thing you ever saw in your life,'' says Maj. R.J. Lilli bridge, of the 101st Airborne Division near the northern city of Talafar. "The CERP funds have been a major tool for us." ..

In Samara, in central Iraq, Stryker brigade soldiers arrived Dec. 17 braced for a fight. But according to a report in the Seattle Times, they found many residents were friendly. The soldiers often paid cash - $20 to more than $40 - to residents whose homes were searched and found to be clean of weapons."

US and Coalition military fatalities in Iraq
Month US UK Other* Total Avg/Day
1-2004 39 4 0 43 1.54
12-2003 40 0 8 48 1.55
11-2003 81 1 27 109 3.63
10-2003 42 1 2 45 1.45
9-2003 31 1 1 33 1.10
8-2003 35 6 2 43 1.39
7-2003 46 1 0 47 1.52
6-2003 29 6 0 35 1.17
5-2003 37 4 0 41 1.32
4-2003 73 6 0 79 2.63
3-2003 65 27 0 92 7.67
Total 518 57 40 615 1.95

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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 2:10:03 PM.