Two milestones

As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, August saw two significant milestones in the wars launched by the United States since that day. In Iraq, August was the first month that no U.S. troops were killed since the initial invasion in 2003. CNN reports:

A total of 4,464 American troops have died in Iraq since the invasion, including 56 since the United States declared an end of combat operations exactly a year ago, according to a CNN analysis of Pentagon statistics.

But none died in August, either due to hostile action or from accidents.

In Afghanistan, on the other hand, August was sadly the deadliest month yet. From the L.A. Times:

Sixty-seven U.S. troops died last month in the Afghanistan war, nearly half of them killed when the Taliban shot down a Chinook helicopter, making August the deadliest month for Americans in the nearly decadelong conflict.

The attack on the helicopter, which took place Aug. 6 in Wardak province, west of the capital, was also the deadliest single event of the war for U.S. forces. The 30 service members who lost their lives in the attack — the majority of them Navy SEALs, including some from the unit responsible for killing Osama bin Laden — were flying in to help Army Rangers under fire.

Previously the most deadly month for American forces in Afghanistan was July 2010, when 65 troops died, according to the independent website, which tracks casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In total, 6,219 U.S. troops have been killed in both wars. 



Berlusconi calls Italy a 'shitty country'

If I were Silvio Berlusconi, at this point I would just assume my phone conversations were being taped:

It was in a phone conversation with Lavitola late on 13 July that Berlusconi was said by the judge to have erupted in anger. "They can say about me that I screw. It's the only thing they can say about me. Is that clear?" he said to the man allegedly blackmailing him. "They can put listening devices where they like. They can tap my telephone calls. I don't give a fuck. I … In a few months, I'm getting out to mind my own fucking business, from somewhere else, and so I'm leaving this shitty country of which I'm sickened."

I'm no expert in Italian politics, but I'm guessing people don't generally appreciate hearing this sort of thing from their leader.