Since the fall of 2005 the Texas Tech Daily Toreador has been running the number of US war dead in Iraq on its front page every issue. With the start of the fall semester, though, they’re dropping the feature.

The Toreador announced the change in an editorial last week, saying they made the decision “after President Barack Obama pledged to withdraw troops from Iraq by 2011.” With the Iraq war winding down, and the country “engaged in multiple foreign conflicts,” they feel that the Iraq tally “no longer serves readers as it once did.”

At a moment when the election of a new president has left the anti-Iraq war movement as splintered and quieted, the move appears to derive as much from a change in Washington as any change in Iraq. A withdrawal has been promised, yes, but even if it proceeds according to schedule the end of the war is still a long way off.

More than a hundred Americans have been killed in Iraq since Barack Obama took office as president. Two Americans have died there since the Toreador printed its editorial a week ago. That editorial does not adequately explain why the paper’s staff consider those deaths to be less worthy of notice than those that went before.