The Times Finds Its Third "Grim Milestone" in the Latest Deaths in Iraq

Tuesday's front-page marked the 4,000th death in Iraq with "Six of the Fallen, in Words They Sent Home," by Lizette Alvarez and Andrew Lehren. The Times quoted journals, blogs and emails from service members, topics ranging from the horror of war to the mundane matters of everyday life both in Iraq and at home. The paper also ran four pages of photos, of the last 1,002 service members and civilian military workers to have died in Iraq. The Times helpfully reminded readers: "The dead represent the highest toll since the Vietnam War."

The first chart in a series running across the bottom of two pages measured the pace of military deaths since the war began five years ago and was headlined: "Another Grim Milestone for the Military."

Sound familiar? The paper has used that same formulationthree times (out of four) to commemorate the latest 1,000 death mark:

"A grim milestone: 1000 U.S. Dead." - September 9, 2004 headline, from the Times' letters section.

"2,000 Dead: As Iraq Tours Stretch On, a Grim Mark" -October 26, 2005 headline.

"A Grim Milestone in Iraq: 3000 American Deaths."- January 1, 2007 front-page headline.

"Another Grim Milestone for the Military." - March 25, 2008 caption over a graphic.

The word "grim" was attached to each commemoration.