The number of attacks on U.S. and coalition forces from improvised explosive devices has nearly doubled from 2004 to 2005 -- but even so, there were fewer overall deaths and wounded troops from IEDs.
There may be a combination of factors that reduced the deaths despite an increase in attacks from 5,607 in 2004 to 10,593 in 2005. Each successive deployment of soldiers learns from the last how to become more "situationally aware." Equipment is more effectively hardened. Commanders learn how to best move troops around the "battle space" in ways that are meant to limit the effectiveness of IEDs.
As mounting a spectacular attack against U.S. forces grows more difficult, the Iraqis -- not as well trained and in "softer" vehicles -- have become more tempting targets. "World News Tonight" co-anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt were traveling with Iraq troops when their convoy was hit with an IED.
Injuries and Deaths
IEDs have accounted for more than half of all U.S. military injuries in Iraq and are, by far, the single greatest cause of death for U.S. service members. As of Jan. 21, more than 9,000 of 16,548 military injuries were caused by IEDs. As of today, at least 894 of the 2,242 deaths in Iraq have been from IEDs.
In the past week there were 221 IED's reported throughout Iraq, according to security personnel.
Deterring IED attacks is a central focus of the military effort in Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently expanded the Joint IED Defeat Team and has established a special center in the Mojave Desert devoted to learning more about IEDs and how to stop them.