http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPolitics.asp?Page=\Politics\archive\200603\POL20060310b.html 'Job Is Getting Done' in Iraq, Despite US Press, Veterans Say By Randy Hall CNSNews.com Staff Writer/Editor March 10, 2006 EXCERPT (CNSNews.com) - A group of veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom said Thursday that U.S.-led coalition forces are getting the job done when it comes to defeating insurgents and helping Iraq establish a democratic government -- despite the U.S. news media's negative portrayal of the conflict. "I am not here to debate the choices that were made, only to tell you that today, the job is getting done" in Iraq, Marine Corporal Richard Gibson said during a news conference hosted by the conservative group America's Majority at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Gibson based his optimistic assessment of the situation in Iraq on several factors, including the strength of coalition forces. SNIP Gibson also pointed to what he called two "tipping points" in the ongoing conflict that took place during 2005. "These junctures are decisive indicators of coalition victories over the insurgency," he said. "Most Iraqis understand them, but most Americans do not." The first "tipping point" occurred last March, when the number of Iraqi security forces on the ground surpassed those of coalition troops, he said. Then on Dec. 15, Iraqis elected their first national four-year legislature with a turnout that was impressive even in the central and western areas of the country, where rebels are the strongest. "This obviously strengthened the government, but more subtly, it splintered the insurgency," Gibson asserted, ... SNIP Gibson found another sign of progress in Iraq in an unlikely place: the daily death toll in that nation. Human rights organizations that have counted civilian deaths in Iraq since January 2003 estimate that between 25 and 28 people are killed each day, he said. While that total may sound horrific to Americans, it is a huge improvement over the 70 to 125 deaths that took place daily when Saddam Hussein ruled the country. "A lousy day under the coalition yields a body count far under the Baathists," Gibson stated. ... SNIP Also, American casualties are declining as U.S. troops are withdrawn and Iraqis step up to defend their country, Gibson said. "According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, U.S. military deaths declined from 714 in 2004 to 673 in 2005. The number of U.S. wounded declined from 7,990 to 5,639. That's a 27 percent decrease in U.S. casualties over a one-year period. "And this year, U.S. casualties are running 62 percent lower than 2005," he added.