The death reported yesterday of another Fort Lewis Stryker soldier - Cpl. Casey L. Mellen, 21, of Huachuca City, Arizona - and the deaths this month of four other soldiers with Washington state ties has unfortunately pushed the number of locally connected military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan to more than 150. Mellen's death is not yet included in Seattle Weekly'snewly updated War Dead pages, listing the obituaries and photos of 153 area soldiers killed in the two wars. But when he was hit by small arms fire this week, Mellen brought to seven the number of Fort Lewis troops killed in Iraq just since Aug. 27. They include Army Master Sgt. (and grandfather) Robb Needham of Vancouver, a Special Operations veteran who, shot by a sniper at 51, was among the oldest U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the oldest from Washington state. Also among the latest dead, Fort Lewis Pfc. Hannah L. Gunterman McKinney, 20, of Redlands, Calif., who was struck by a military vehicle. She was married to another soldier, also of Fort Lewis, and had a young son. As of this writing, 2,710 U.S. military personnel have died in Iraq and 339 in Afghanistan, a total of 3,049. This endless count comes with the news, reported in Bob Woodward's new book, "State of Denial," that violence in Iraq is worse than the White House is letting on, that US and allied troops are being attacked an average of every 15 minutes, and that Bush and Cheney are so desperate they're seeking the war advice of no less than Henry Kissinger. Next step, the secret bombing of Iran.