Americans have reeled at statistics reported out of Iraq showing the number of troop causalities or the costs of the war.

They’ve been saddened by somber news of innocents on the ground who have perished or American contractors who’ve gotten in trouble for one thing or another.

What we haven’t heard so much about, however, is the good news that just came out of Iraq — violent deaths of U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians fell sharply in October, to their lowest level in a year.

The Associated Press reports the levels of bloodshed are falling in Baghdad. However, it is quick to point out experts are skeptical about the reason.

An expert on Middle East and military affairs said the lower numbers don’t justify the conclusion the overall level of fighting has fallen off or the number of deaths is declining because they don’t “paint a full picture of the conflict.”

He also claims there is no reliable reporting of civilian deaths outside Baghdad.

We understand the skepticism given the high level of conflict that has taken place over the last several months in Iraq. But why are these “experts” more skeptical of these numbers than they have been of numbers previously reported of increased deaths and violence? And what makes these lower numbers less “reliable” than the earlier higher numbers of deaths and attacks?

Deaths and violence are a part of any war, particularly a war that involves an enemy with no uniform or that doesn’t even represent a specific country. It is a violent situation in Iraq, no doubt. But a decrease in death and violence should be considered an opportunity and heralded as such.

We hope the statistics of deaths continue to decline and this is a positive, ongoing trend. The more positive trends that continue in Iraq, the better opportunity for more Iraqis to step up and take control of their own destiny.

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