Accidents now a bigger threat to U.S. troops in Iraq than insurgents

Between September 2008 and April 2009, 72 troops died in Iraq from accidents, illness, or suicide, compared with 67 who died in action, according to the Pentagon – the first extended period in the six-year conflict where insurgents did not pose the greatest threat.

In response to the growing number of deaths and injuries occurring outside combat – most of which are attributed to accidents – the Defense Department recently approved plans to hire hundreds of additional safety specialists to deploy with Army and Marine Corps units, according to top safety officials.