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As 2006 came to an end, the steadily rising toll of U.S. troops killed in Iraq hit another grim milestone — 3,000.
The 3,000th U.S. military death comes in the wake of the execution of deposed President Saddam Hussein, an event that military leaders believe will lead to more attacks against U.S. troops, at least in the short term.
Asked about the latest death toll, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said Bush "grieves for each one" .
The U.S. military took NO official notice of the 3,000 figure, and some commanders played down the number of fatalities.
The most recently announced deaths were typical of many in the last several months: The Pentagon said that Spc. Dustin R. Donica, 22, of Spring, Texas, had been killed Thursday by small-arms fire in Baghdad.
Overall, the rate of military fatalities has remained steady for more than 2 1/2 years, since the insurgency against the U.S. occupation of Iraq began to gain strength in 2004.
Monday, January 01, 2007