Looks like this milestone will come soon after the Republican convention in Iraq...maybe around the 11 Sept anniversary in fact:
Milestone of 1,000th U.S. Death in Iraq Looms for Bush
By Alan Elsner
Thursday 12 August 2004
Washington - The United States faces a painful moment probably next month when its military deaths in Iraq are expected to surpass 1,000. It will also be a crucial moment for President Bush, who faces a presidential campaign in which Iraq is a central issue.
"Unfortunately that day will likely arrive next month and it will be a fulcrum event that may change many people's views of what we're doing in Iraq," said David Birdsell, a political scientist at Baruch College in New York City.
"It's a gripping number, a large number, a tragic number and it will be a pivot to revisit Bush's reasons for fighting the war and his premature declaration last year that the mission had been accomplished," he said.
According to the most up-to-date Pentagon figure, which usually lags events on the ground by a few days, the United States has lost 931 military personnel in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.
In July, the first month after an Iraqi interim authority took office, U.S. deaths totaled 55, compared to 42 the previous month. So far this month, they are running at a similar or possibly slightly higher rate.
Compared to past wars, this is a relatively low figure. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. lost 1,363 soldiers in the month of March 1968 alone and more than 58,000 for the entire war. But it is still a higher rate than for any military conflict the United States has fought since Vietnam.
"The Iraqi body count hurts the president. Already less than half of respondents in my polling say the war was worth fighting and the 1,000 casualty will be a milestone that will be page one news and put a lot more focus on it," said pollster John Zogby.
Republican political adviser Keith Appell agreed that the 1,000th death would be an "awful milestone" but argued that it would not change anything in the presidential campaign.
"The Republicans will be on defense for a couple of days but I don't expect the Bush campaign to back off anything it is saying. He needs to stand resolute, to promise to stay the course until victory and to argue that we have no choice but to fight this war," he said.
Kerry May Keep Quiet
Conversely, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's best strategy may be to confine himself to expressions of sorrow and comfort for the families of the fallen.
"Kerry may just keep quiet. The media will probably do the job for him," said University of Michigan political scientist Vincent Hutchings.
The moment will likely arrive around the time when the candidates are preparing for their crucial debates, tentatively scheduled for late September and early October.
From the perspective of Bush's campaign, University of Georgia political scientist Brad Lockerbie said, better the number is reached in September than in October.
After the handover of power to the Iraqi interim government, Iraq seemed to fade from the front pages of the U.S. media, although the death toll continued to rise.
Now, with U.S. forces engaged in a bloody battle against radical Shi'ite cleric Moktada al-Sadr in the holy city of Najaf in which more than Iraqi 360 militiamen and five U.S. servicemen have been killed, it is back in the headlines.
Polls indicate that the domestic economy and Iraq are the two top issues in the Nov. 2 election and Bush seems vulnerable on both. But Lockerbie said opinions on Iraq had largely crystallized.
"This will be a big deal for a short period of time but those who have decided Bush made the right decision in going to war won't change their minds," he said.