Forty-eight. And counting.

With two weeks left to go, July 2009 is already the deadliest month for NATO troops since the Afghan war began. The CBC reported the month’s tally at 46 last night. When I woke up this morning it was at 47, and at this writing it’s 48.

Obviously these numbers are relative. In November 2004, 141 U.S. and allied soldiers died in Iraq. In a single week in February 1968, 543 U.S. soldiers were killed in Vietnam. And any number of full-scale industrial wars have often been far bloodier still. The current sustained increase in violence in Afghanistan, meanwhile, was easy to predict with the arrival of thousands of new U.S. troops.

But yesterday ITQ was remarking on a sustained increase in Canadian opposition to the Afghan engagement, and one simple explanation is that there is, almost with every month, more to oppose. Only one month out of the past 22 has been deadlier for Western troops in Iraq than July already is in Afghanistan.

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