As U.S. military deaths in Iraq approached 2,000 on Tuesday, the chief spokesman for the American-led multinational force called on reporters covering the conflict not to look at the event as a milestone.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, director of the force's combined press center, described the number as an "artificial mark on the wall."
"I ask that when you report on the events, take a moment to think about the effects on the families and those serving in Iraq," Boylan said in an e-mail. "The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives."
The U.S. military on Tuesday announced the deaths of two Marines killed in fighting with insurgents last week in Baghdad. Their deaths raised to 1,999 the number of members of the U.S. military killed since the war started in March 2003, according to an AP count.