Yes, they actually use the words “grim” and “milestone.” But not together. They’re separated by a few paragraphs, presumably because even the AP can’t bear the cliche any longer.
I expect the author’s had this story ready to go for the past two or three weeks, and has just been making tally marks in his notebook each day as the KIA reports roll in. “Three more to go, two, one… RUN IT.”
The first line is perfect in its moral agnosticism, but the following is good too. Try to imagine it being read in Keith Olbermann’s voice:
Not for the first time, war that was started to answer death has resulted in at least as much death for the country that was first attacked, quite apart from the higher numbers of enemy and civilians killed, too.
How many of those 2,973 did Bilal Hussein help kill?