Does this drumbeat of negativity have any effects? I think it does. The first baleful effect is that the press is failing in its duty to provide the news straight. Yes, there are ambushes on our soldiers and bombings of embassies, and these must be covered. And there is a certain amount of lawlessness, and that, too, should be reported. But there are a great many aspects of the rebuilding of Iraq that the press is failing to convey.
More than 45 countries have offered military assistance in rebuilding Iraq, and that number now rises with this week's Security Council resolution pledging more aid. Thirty thousand Iraqis have traveled to Hungary for military and police training. The United States is training thousands of Iraqi police, with 34,000 already on the job. It isn't quick or easy to find suitable police in a country where, for 30 years, eligibility was determined by family or political connections -- to say nothing of a willingness to commit any human rights abuse in the name of the regime.
U.S. and international efforts are also rebuilding sports stadiums, schools, hospitals and power grids. They are doing so in the face of sabotage and murder. A little appreciation from home could go a long way.
Moreover, the Saddamists and Islamists who have gathered in Iraq to defeat us are not acting irrationally. They have historical reasons to believe that if they can inflict enough casualties on the United States, we will run. They cite Somalia, Lebanon and Vietnam.
What we are doing in Iraq is right morally and strategically. And it is succeeding on the ground. But the press has the power to distort reality. By presenting an overly bleak picture of the challenges we face, they can demoralize us.