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The news media is not being honest about what's going on in Iraq. They are being irresponsible and churlish in their opposition to American policy.

Zalmay Khalilzad - the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and the man hand-picked by the President of the United States to be the top non-military representative in that Country - publicly acknowledged that the bombing and its aftermath brought the country to "the brink of civil war."

To borrow a rhetorical tactic from war supporters for a moment: how can you possibly think that it's not harmful to keep insisting that things are going well in Iraq? The Iraqi people know they're suffering from terrorist attack after terrorist attack. Remember the terrorist bombings in Madrid that horrified the world, and killed 192 people? There are no ways of comparing atrocities, but the Iraqi people suffer that level of fatality at the hands of terror attacks every month.

The London bombings, which dominated the front pages here and abroad and resulted in 52 deaths? That's the level of death that the Iraqi people have suffered almost every week for nearly three years.

The cumulative death toll from the violent attacks precipitated by insurgents and terrorists is nearly ten times our own losses in 9/11, in a country one-tenth our size.

So what message does it send to the Iraqi people that we believe that this level of violence and terrorist attacks is one that should be found tolerable? That the killing of literally hundreds - perhaps more than a thousand - innocent people in the space of a week is not the sign of something going awry, but an acceptable level of progress? That we regard the deaths by violence of scores and scores of innocent people as not being indicative of a problem?

In a week or two, we will move into Year Four of the invasion - and neither the U.S. military nor the new Iraqi government can provide domestic security capable of keeping the death toll down. We can accept that they might be doing the best they can under the circumstances, but at least then have the dignity and courtesy to the Iraqi people to recognize that the losses they suffer daily represent a violent, not stable, civil society.

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