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U.S. DEATHS DOWN IN IRAQ

American military deaths in Iraq for July were the lowest in eight months, declining to at least 73. American officials on Tuesday credit the decline to new strategies by Gen. David Petraeus, who has taken the fight to the enemy rather than keep forces in defensive bases. But officials caution that it is too early to predict a sustained trend.

Joints Chiefs nominee sees danger

At his confirmation hearing to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen says Tuesday that U.S. military efforts in Iraq will fail unless Iraqi leaders do more to bridge sectarian divides. He also questions whether the Pentagon can maintain escalated troop levels beyond the spring of next year.

Worries voiced at home and abroad

A new study warns that some children are vulnerable to abuse and neglect when their fathers are away at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, concerns are raised about U.S. policy in the Middle East. Egypt is worried about the aftermath of a quick U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Full coverage of Iraq is on 9A.

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